Sunni Muslims Must Reject ISIS ‘Caliphate’: Irfan Al-Alawi

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.

Shia mosque being dynamited by ISIS
Shia mosque being dynamited by ISIS

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.

5 thoughts on “Sunni Muslims Must Reject ISIS ‘Caliphate’: Irfan Al-Alawi”

  1. Only a naive person will compare the genocide now happening in Gaza with the madness of ISIS unleased in parts of Iraq and declare the latter a bigger threat to world peace than the former.
    In Gaza, an occupying power, funded and favoured by the US, is bombing children, women and old people to death on the bogus pretext of stopping rocket attacks which are no more than crude bombs that barely damage Jewish property built on occupied land and rarely kill a few people. The rocket attacks from Gaza is the last desperate attempt of a population being chocked to death to assert its right to live in dignity.
    In Iraq, a Sunni minority, that for long ruled this magnificient country, is fighting a well-armed but demoralized army, to regain its rightful place at the table, after being marginalized by an elected government of the majority Shia. ISIS is no more than a rag-tag band of extremists who have been armed in the first place by the West to fight the Assad regime in Syria, and have now turned their attention to Iraq. The Sunnis dont have to prove their innocence or loyalty to anybody by denouncing ISIS and its barbaric methods adopted in the name of Islam to fulfill their mission. The ISIS will never be allowed to succeed by the same people it claims to represent.

    Israel, on the other hand, has succeeded in winning the backing of Europe and America, and now, even India, in uprooting and destroying a country and its entire population to establish its own Jewish state. It carries out daylight murder of Palestinians on almost a daily basis, denies them their basic human rights and treats them like pariah after taking away their land and their country.

    Which of the two is a greater threat to world peace? Zionism or Islam? You take a call.


  2. The ISIS has been called a fake organization and an organization spreading Fitna among the Muslims by none other than the head of Al-azhar (Sunni Islam’s highest seat of learning). Ironically even the imam of Masjid Al-aqsa (in the west bank) has called them liars and has condemned them. Unfortunately these developments have been lost in the din of Israel/Palestine conflict and the massacre of Palestinians there of on Facebook and other such social media. The need of the hour to spread the word about this to more and more sunni Muslims many of whom by the way have come to see them as takfiris.


  3. The islamic State and this article (like many others on the ISIS) is a good example of the kind of revolution taking place in Islam today. As a relatively new religion, Islam has to go through these reform movements, with time.
    The author and several Islamic leaders (not all) have exhorted their fellow Muslims to reject the ISIS. The ISIS has done the same claiming to represent the true word of Islam’s God. Who is the rightful representative? There is no answer and there doesn’t need to be one. One religion can have many interpretations and no one belief/group can claim to be the real one.
    I think the Islamic world should accept that ISIS’S ideology is not completely unrelated to the Koran as it is being claimed. They base their actions on an interpretation of the Koran that is widely followed by several groups of people and is quite close to the one promulgated in Saudi Arabia.
    Several religions have crazy verses in them and it is not limited to islam alone. But they have gone through long periods of reform that has not been without bloodshed. What we are witnessing in the world today is a similar movement in Islam.


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