Comment: ISIS – anything but an ‘Islamic State’

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria continues to make headlines by violating Islamic and human rights.The number of horrors ISIS has committed are immense. Sadly, it also unmasks our collective failure as humanity to respond appropriately to such extremism. ISIS is setting the agenda and headlining our ignorance in the process.

Let’s take the example of how ISIS has been forcing people into sexual slavery, a practice it says is rooted in historic precedence. Such a claim is absurd and false; yet it has sparked a debate on slavery in Islam, as if such a practice deserves any consideration at all.

The truth from an Islamic perspective is hugely different. Slavery is a slap in the face to the natural state of the freedom in which God created human beings. This is tied to the first pillar of Islam (declaration of faith) that all humans are equal and the Quran, the holy book for Muslims advocated for a departure from this age-old practice. Groups such as ISIS and Boko Haram use obsolete dogma to rationalise murder and rape. They exploit misunderstood doctrines to further their own needs. They handpick tribal customs and then apply a self concocted version of an Islamic veneer to rationalise them.

Some Muslim scholars have spoken out against ISIS’s false claims saying that modern forms of slavery are an abomination while others have remained silent fearing for their safety or backlash.

A soldier carrying the ISIS flag Photo: AFP
A militant carrying the ISIS flag. Photo: AFP

Contrary to what people believe, Islamic law is not a rigid and inflexible law based on unchanging rules written centuries ago. Instead it is a flexible and dynamic law that is fully compatible with modern day Human Rights frameworks.

ISIS has broken the fundamental principles of Islam. Islam forbids the reintroduction of slavery, Islam forbids the killing of the innocents.  No religion in this world supports the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIS victims have been Muslim. It has taken advantage of sectarian violence and Syria’s civil war to gain territory on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border. It is recognised by no government, nor the people it oppresses. ISIS has killed many innocents who were neither combatants nor armed, just because they disagree with its opinion. ISIS is a terrorist organisation, pure and simple. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all those who stand in its way.

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