ISIS? ISLAMIC? REALLY?

Like many others, the attacks in Paris have left me heart-broken, heart-broken on two levels. Firstly, there is the devastating loss of innocent life, both non-Muslim and Muslim (such as sisters Holima and Hodda Saadi) .Secondly, these mass murdering maniacs did what they did in the name of Islam, a religion that I peacefully follow.

These recent attacks took place close to the Charlie Hebdo offices, where a similar attack took place earlier this year. I also felt the personal need to blog about this tragic incident (herehere, here, and here).

And here we are again several months later talking in the same breath about Paris, Islam, and murder. I write this blog with the aim of showing how un-Islamic I think ISIS are, despite what people like author Reza Aslan may say from an academic perspective, or indeed what Graeme Wood may write in the Atlantic.

For the Muslim theologians out there, I am fully aware of how dangerous it is to declare an individual or a group as being outside of the fold of Islam but, you know what, with these ISIS guys I am more than willing to take my linguistic chances.

And to those Muslim apologists who may wish to blame the media, or the decadence of the west, or western foreign policy, or worldwide economic inequalities of poverty and deprivation, or grievances over imperialist slights, or the freemasons, or the more recent Iraq wars, etc, etc, let me make one thing clear: none of these things justify us Muslims raping, looting, pillaging, and mass murdering like drug-induced, crazy, psychotic, zealots. Nothing. Ever. If you disagree, then I would advise you to look at the life of the Prophet Muhammad and the early followers of Islam, to see how they coped in the face of adversity much greater than anything we Muslims face today.

Anways, here are points that I think everybody should be aware of…


They are Wahhabi extremists…

ISIS should never be referred to as “Sunni extremists”. To do so is factually incorrect and intellectually dishonest, as this phrase is a contradiction in terms. A Sunni by definition is orthodox and moderate. An extremist is the polar opposite. Likewise, they should not be called Salafis. Wahhbabis use this title in order to suggest that they follow the Salaf, the predecessors from the first 300 years after the time of the Prophet Muhammad, but their words and deeds contradict them. These people should be called what they actually are: Wahhabi extremists. They are NOT Muslims. Rather, they are enemies of Muslims and humanity at large.

terrors father


They are too extreme even for Al-Qaeda…

ISIS used to be Al-Qaeda in Iraq, but even Al-Qaeda found them to be too extreme, so they parted company from them. ISIS are on the furthest end of the conservative orthodoxy, in terms of beliefs, literal interpretation of seventh-century law and punishment, and what’s required of true believers for jihad.


They are more divisive than uniting…

ww3

ISIS are not interested in uniting all Muslims. This is why the conflict between Sunnis and Shias, especially in Iraq and Syria, sustains ISIS. One of the main divisive aims of ISIS is to establish a worldwide caliphate, the founding of which is ostensibly a declaration of war against the 60% of Iraqis who are Shia, and to Shia Muslims all over the globe.

It should be known that you cannot just declare an area of land to be part of an Islamic state. For example, I cannot waltz into Buckingham Palace and declare it to be part of my vision of an Islamic state. Ignoring the fact that I can’t actually waltz, there are many complications involved when declaring or setting up a legitimate Islamic state, none of which ISIS have addressed and probably never will. Instead ISIS are trying to rape, murder, and pillage their way to the establishment of a global caliphate. Good luck with that, let me know how you get on.

Furthermore, they want to start World War III, with their select group of Muslims on one side, and literally every other human being on the other:


There real motives are far from religious…

When people say groups like ISIS are Islamic I say hold on. What they have basically done is gone into the Islamic tradition in order to find whatever arguments they can, for whatever base desires they have, and to call this Islamic is intellectually dishonest, it’s an insult to our faith, it’s an insult or tradition, and it is ultimately inaccurate and not reflective of what these groups want. They will find any justification to do what they want because for them Islam is not about becoming a better person, but about licensing war and plunder and enslavement and death and oppression, and in that sense it is as far away from the Prophet Muhammad as one can possibly be. – from the YouTube clip ‘No, ISIS, You’re Not Islamic’ by Avenue M


They are so not representative of Muslims or Islam…

Yes, religion has a role to play when it comes to ISIS, but it is the role of self-justification……

The only claim ISIS have to being Islamic is that they claim to being Islamic. – from the YouTube clip ‘No, ISIS, You’re Not Islamic’ by Avenue M

I take objection to the fact that we even refer to this group as ‘Islamic State’. At what point are they acting [as Muslims]? If I call myself a zebra, do you then refer to me as a zebra? – comment made by an audience member on BBC’s Question Time, 19th November 2015

about as much as


They don’t understand religion, Islam, or how to interpret the Qur’an properly…

ISIS do not really understand the Qur’an. This is clear in their barbaric actions carried out against Muslims and non-Muslims, be they men, women, or children. ISIS quoting verses from the Qur’an to justify their actions is clear evidence that even the demons can quote scripture……

A verse in the Qur’an functions, in the Muslim tradition, in the same way a quote does in a research paper. It is part of an argument but it is not conclusive to the argument until you have seen and engaged with and dealt with the entirety of the tradition, which means the Qur’an, yes, but it also means the life of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, how he embodied and practiced and taught the religion. That’s a very important point to make because people don’t get that, and when they don’t get that they begin to take bits and pieces out of the Islamic tradition and say “Well I found it right there, and it’s Islam.” And so they’ll say things like, and I saw this on Twitter earlier today, “Well there’s abolitionism in the Quran and in the Islamic tradition, and there’s enslavement, so both of these things are part of Islam.” Absolute nonsense! If you don’t understand Islam do us all a favour and learn something before you begin to pronounce on Islam. – from the YouTube clip ‘No, ISIS, You’re Not Islamic’ by Avenue M

The Quran [and] hadith according to whom? As interpreted by whom? As understood by whom?…Any organisation uses the dominant social medium of its society. Today, the dominant social currency in the Arab world is Islam. More than 90 per cent of Arab Muslims say religion is an important part of their daily life, according to Gallup research. Everyone, not just ISIS, speaks in Islamic language, from pro-democracy advocates to civil society groups fighting illiteracy…[therefore] a violent reading of the Quran is not leading to political violence. Political violence is leading to a violent reading of the Quran. – Dalia Mogahed, author

ISIS members…are using religion to advance a political vision, rather than using politics to advance a religious vision. – Mehdi Hasan


This is how they treat children…

I won’t go into how loving and caring the Prophet Muhammad was to his own children, his grand-children, and to orphans (i.e. very), but let’s just see how loving ISIS are towards kids……

other victims


They are not that practising of Islam…

…in 2008, a classified briefing note on radicalisation, prepared by MI5’s behavioural science unit, was obtained by the Guardian. It revealed: “Far from being religious zealots, a large number of those involved in terrorism do not practise their faith regularly. Many lack religious literacy and could…be regarded as religious novices.” The MI5 analysts noted the disproportionate number of converts and the high propensity for “drug-taking, drinking alcohol and visiting prostitutes”. – from the New Statesman

See also: Paris Terrorist Smoked ‘Alarming Amount Of Cannabis’, Drank Alcohol, And Never Went To A Mosque, Ex-Wife Claims


Muslim scholars around the world have condemned ISIS…

Many Muslim scholars and imams have made impassioned speeches declaring their academic and theological opposition to ISIS, scholars such as Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Shaykh Muhammad Yaqoubi, Imam Nouman Ali Khan, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Dr Bilal Philips, Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad (“Just as Christianity in Bosnia 20 years ago was not properly represented by the churchgoing militias of Radovan Karadzic and just as Judaism is not represented by West Bank settlers who burn mosques, so, too, Islam is not represented by ISIS.”), Alyas Karmani, and many others……

Whether Sunni or Shia, Salafi or Sufi, conservative or liberal, Muslims – and Muslim leaders – have almost unanimously condemned and denounced ISIS not merely as un-Islamic but actively anti-Islamic. Consider the various statements of Muslim groups such as the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation, representing 57 countries (ISIS has “nothing to do with Islam”); the Islamic Society of North America (ISIS’S actions are “in no way representative of what Islam actually teaches”); al-Azhar University in Cairo, the most prestigious seat of learning in the Sunni Muslim world (ISIS is acting “under the guise of this holy religion…in an attempt to export their false Islam”); and even Saudi Arabia’s Salafist Grand Mufti, Abdul Aziz al ash-Sheikh (ISIS is “the number-one enemy of Islam”). In September 2014, more than 120 Islamic scholars co-signed an 18-page open letter to Baghdadi [the self-declared leader of ISIS], written in Arabic, containing what the Slate website’s Filipa Ioannou described as a “technical point-by-point criticism of ISIS’S actions and ideology based on the Quran and classical religious texts”. – Mehdi Hasan

If you think Muslims aren’t condemning ISIS, it’s not because Muslims aren’t condemning ISIS. It’s because you’re not listening to Muslims. – Hend Amry


Even non-Muslims like David Cameron know ISIS are not really Muslims…

In the annual Lord Mayor’s Banquet speech at London’s Guildhall, which took place on the 16th of November 2015, a few days after the terrorist attacks in Paris, the British Prime Minister David Cameron said the following……

[We are] dealing with radicalised European Muslims, linked to ISIL in Syria and inspired by a poisonous narrative of extremism…The root cause of this threat is the poisonous ideology of extremism itself. This ideology, this diseased view of the world, has become an epidemic – infecting minds from the mosques of Mogadishu to the bedrooms of Birmingham. And we have to stop it at the start – stop this seed of hatred even being planted in people’s minds, let alone allowing it to grow. That means confronting the ideology with our own liberal values, exposing this extremism for what it is – a belief system that glorifies violence and subjugates its people – not least Muslim people…Of course, this extremist ideology is not true Islam. That cannot be said clearly enough. But it is not good enough to say simply that Islam is a religion of peace and then to deny any connection between the religion of Islam and the extremists. Why? Because these extremists are self-identifying as Muslims. From Tunisia to the streets of Paris, these murderers all spout the same twisted narrative that claims to be based on a particular faith. To deny that is to disempower the critical reforming voices that want to challenge the scriptural basis on which extremists claim to be acting – the voices that are crucial in providing an alternative worldview that could stop a teenager’s slide along the spectrum of extremism. We can’t stand neutral in this battle of ideas…


Here’s a few more comments about ISIS from various people…

ISIS is the most remorselessly slaughter-hungry creed to stalk the continent [of Europe] since the 1930s [i.e. since the Nazis]. – Rafael Behr

By what logic would this gang of killers, which has been universally condemned and brutalises Muslims more than anyone else, get to represent the global [Muslim] community? – Dalia Mogahed, author

No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way. – President Barack Obama

…even from the viewpoint of a casual observer, ISIS is an abomination to Islam…just because you shout God’s name while committing murder doesn’t make your actions righteous…They have sparked the rage of Iraqi Muslims by carelessly blowing up copies of the Qur’an, and they have killed their fellow Muslims, be they Sunni or Shia. Even extremist Muslims who engage in warfare have strict rules of engagement and prohibitions against harming women and children, but ISIS has opted to ignore even this by slaughtering innocent youth and using rape and sexual slavery as a weapon. –  Igor Volsky & Jack Jenkins

I think the arsewipes that call themselves ISIS are, well, arsewipes, and not representatives of the rest of the Muslim world…Islamic State need recruits and they have two steps to get them. 1) Create an uprising against Muslims in the West by carrying out attacks in the name of Allah. 2) Then when young Muslims feel rejected by Western society, make ISIS look like a cool alternative…It seemed to me that a good way of combatting this would be 1) be nice to non-ISIS related Muslims (ie the vast majority of Muslims) and 2) make ISIS look like idiots. – Adam Hills, comedian

Even George Galloway has called ISIS a “death cult.”


They’ve made John Oliver angry…


And they made this guy angry as well…


Here’s a cartoon explaining the difference between ISIS and Muslims…

isis and muslims


And the final word goes to the always brilliant and brutally honest Mr. Fish

world dumbination

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