Does Islam endorse ISIS actions?
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is an Islamic extremist rebel group that nowadays we see quite often in the news headlines due to their barbaric actions. Recently an article, “ISIS has now abducted 220 Christian Assyrians, activists say” was published by CBC NEWS on February 26, 2015. (http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/isis-has-now-abducted-220-christian-assyrians-activists-say-1.2973069) The article talks about the recent terrorist activities by ISIS in northeast Syria, where they have abducted almost 220 Christians Assyrians, which included women, children and elderly. This mass abduction has resulted in creating fear amongst the religious minorities in Syria and Iraq. This act of ISIS is strongly condemned by UN Security Council and the White House. But before discussing anything, it is important to ask few questions like, where did ISIS come from? Are their actions and teaching sanctioned by Islamic Sharia? What do Islamic jurist have to say about ISIS?
ISIS is a terrorist group that controls territories in Iraq and Syria and also has operations in eastern Libya, the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, and other areas of the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. ISIS history can be traced back to the Sunni terrorist organization al Qaeda, specifically the Iraq faction (AQI), led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. After the U.S. invasion al Zarqawi was killed in 2006, resulting in Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (an experienced Iraqi fighter) taking the leadership of the group. By 2013 al-Baghdadi changed the name of the group from AQI (al-Qaeda in Iraq) to ISIS. In February 2014 senior leadership of al-Qaeda severed all connections from ISIS, after which al-Baghdadi declared him the ‘caliph’ of Islamic state. On February 22, 2015, the Muslim World League, an Islamic non-governmental organization primarily funded by Saudi Arabia, held a three day conference in Mecca on “Islam and Counterterrorism.” (http://goo.gl/uFU1I8) The keynote speaker of the conference was Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the grand Imam of Sunni Islam’s most prestigious university, al-Azhar in Egypt. In the conference al-Tayeb argued, “The violence and terrorism … of these groups are strange to Islam. They have nothing to do with our creed, Sharia, ethic, history, and civilization.” This strong statement made by al-Tayeb, shows that, Islam does not support nor encourages these inhumane acts of ISIS. Quran, the basic source of Islamic law also denounces the killing of innocent. In chapter 5, verse 32 Allah says:
“…if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.” (Quran, 5:32)
Ninan Smarts social and institutional dimension of religion that refers to a belief system shared in a group to show their affiliation to the group (http://bit.ly/1CPUVMx), can be used for a better understanding of ISIS being a separate entity from Islam. As ISIS and Islam does not have the same belief system, due to which it can be argued that Islam does not endorse ISIS actions and is not a part of the religion Islam.