Even as Israeli bombings and ground attacks on Gaza continue, there are no less disturbing reports of ISIS attacks on Christians, the last of whom are reportedly fleeing Mosul. One of the oldest churches has been attacked and reduced to ashes. The rise of ISIS is not only a danger signal for non Muslim or even non Sunni minorities, it represents one of the most serious threats in recent times to the entire heritage of Islam and the diversity within it as well. We reproduce below a piece by Irfan Al-Alwai argues that Sunni Muslims must reject the ISIS’ new ‘Caliphate’. Irfan Al-Alawi is the executive director of the Islamic Heritage Research Foundation and international director of Centre for Islamic Pluralism in the United States. Here are some extracts from the article:
On July 5, the pan-Arab television channel Al-Arabiya, Saudi-owned but based in Dubai, reproduced images of vandalism by the “Islamic State,” using bulldozers against Sunni and Sufi shrines, and dynamite to blow up Shia meeting houses, or husseiniyat, in the Iraqi province of Nineveh, which the marauders seized in June. The pictures were released by the “Islamic State.” Four Sufi shrines and six Shia husseiniyat had been leveled.
In addition, Chaldean Christian and Syrian Orthodox cathedrals in Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province, were found emptied by the fanatics, who removed their crosses then hung black “Islamic State” flags on them.
The “Islamic State,” through its supposed caliph, declared, “rush O Muslims to your state. Yes, it is your state. Rush, because Syria is not for the Syrians, and Iraq is not for the Iraqis. The earth is Allah’s… Muslims everywhere, whoever is capable of performing hijrah [emigration] to the Islamic State, then let him do so, because hijrah to the land of Islam is obligatory… We make a special call to the scholars, fuqahā’ [experts in Islamic jurisprudence], and callers [to religion], especially the judges, as well as people with military, administrative, and service expertise, and medical doctors and engineers of all different specializations and fields… their emigration is wājib ‘aynī [an individual obligation], so that they can answer the dire need of the Muslims for them.”
This demand reveals the cynical nature of the “Islamic State” and its bid for jurisdiction over all Sunnis. Although it has seized parts of Syria and Iraq, it cannot defeat the bloodthirsty regime of Bashar Al-Assad in Damascus, and it certainly cannot protect Muslims in Burma. Regardless of its bluster, it cannot “conquer Rome,” as it threatens. Therefore, the “caliph” pleads for a supposed religious duty by Sunnis throughout the world to travel to the “Islamic State” and reinforce it. Read the full article here.