Muslims condemn ISIS, the media and Western foreign policy

There haven’t been too many public statements by Muslim organisations and prominent individuals over the apparent beheading of US journalist James Foley by a British jihadi, but those who have spoken out have underlined their opposition to ISIS, their repudiation of Western foreign policy and their rejection of the notion of “collective Muslim guilt.”

The Muslim Council of Britain – the UK’s largest Muslim umbrella organisation – condemned the actions of ISIS.

In a statement the MCB said: “Today we express once again our rebuke of this reprehensible organisation. We are horrified at the abhorrent murder of James Foley, a reporter who initially went to the region to expose the human rights abuses of the Syrian regime. ISIS has murdered this man for no reason at all.

“Each day ISIS seeks to carry out an act more barbarous than the day before, craving the oxygen of publicity to give credibility to their heinous acts. We condemn unreservedly their psychopathic violence, whether it is on minorities, on civilians, or on fellow Muslims.

“The MCB expressed the British Muslim community’s common censure of the group as early as June, and called for joint action to ensure the poison of extremism and sectarianism is not injected into our communities.

“ISIS does not speak for Islam, and has been repudiated by all Muslims. Their message only appeals to those who are easily duped by their twisted message purporting to be Islam. They seek to glamorise their violence, and unfortunately, the media has a part to play in adding to that glamour.

“We urge the media in refraining from giving them any further undue exposure beyond conventional reporting. And we urge Muslim communities to re-double their efforts in coming together, condemning the barbarity of ISIS and persuading those gullible enough to take in their message that they are on a path to futility.”

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Foreign policy

Meanwhile CAGE, which campaigns for the victims of the War on Terror, chose to focus on Western foreign policy

“It comes as no surprise that The Islamic State have today effectively declared war on the United States,” CAGE said.

“The haste with which the West has stormed into Iraq makes one wonder if they have learned anything from the last decade or so. This is a threat the West created and in many ways is now sustaining by its belligerence.

“The beheading of James Foley was not only a crude means of propaganda, but also an insight into the political grievances held by members of IS. The orange jumpsuit, the condemnation of America for their latest Iraq intervention, the appearance of a Briton: these are all reminders that Western occupation and human rights abuses are at heart of what is taking place in that country now.

American journalist, James Foley was apparently beheaded by an ISIS fighter with a British accent.
American journalist, James Foley was apparently beheaded by an ISIS fighter with a British accent.

“The execution has made the question of intervention in Iraq even more poignant than it already was. It has been said time and time again – even a couple of week ago, by Barack Obama – that many of the “injustices” perpetrated by US troops in the War on Terror have taken place because of the US’ knee-jerk reaction after 9-11. A reaction that led to interventions in Muslims lands that created blow back on the streets of New York and London.

“But as a media storm picks up and public opinion is inevitably swayed by it, will there be a reasoned response to this killing? US airplanes are already striking sites in Iraq, while this country has already pledged its support to helping too.

“Early indications suggest that again America may fall into the bait left for them by groups such as Al-Qaeda and IS, and begin another campaign of vengeance and retribution that will inevitably create even more enemies. This country may also start to tighten domestic policies against Muslims too, and thereby alienate more people.

“Unless the West are able to take a step-back and resist rampaging through the country, their actions will only breed more violent enemies – and ones more formidable than IS.”


Muslim organizations have also attacked British media values in the wake of what they see as a clamor to tie their faith to the Islamic State’s apparent murder of James Foley.

Mohammed Shafiq, the chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, told the Anadolu Agency that a narrative existed among “right-wing media and some politicians” that Muslims are not doing enough to combat extremism.

“But we have been speaking out since 9/11,” underlined Shafiq. “We condemn the murder of James Foley, but not because the British press tells us to, but because our faith tells us to.”

Shafiq told AA that instead of making such generalizations that all Muslims share the same ideology, media and some politicians should instead be focusing on the root cause of radicalization and extremism.

“Our [British] inaction over Syria, our illegal war in Iraq and our silence over Gaza, and [British] support of the Israelis feeds the misconceptions and shows double standards,” he told AA.

And Massoud Shadjareh from the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission said to AA that as human beings we “don’t expect Christians, nationalists or socialists to apologise for [Adolf] Hitler.”

“If ISIL self-represents as Islamic or Muslim or any other Islamic term, it neither gives them Islamic credibility, or connection with Muslims around the world; including those who seek political solutions through Islamic political and social organisation.”

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