I questioned my moral compass a few days ago when an ISIS supporter on Facebook said I was “in the camp of Obama”, writes Dilly Hussain.
Some family members and friends, including journalists, have told me that I constantly “justify” ISIS’ existence and crimes by blaming the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the atrocities committed by the Iraqi and Assad regime against Sunnis – and I unequivocally stand by that.
I have made it crystal clear in numerous interviews and articles that I: a) do not acknowledge the lands under ISIS’ control as the Caliphate b) like majority of Muslims, I spoke out against the execution of James Foley, Steven Sotloff, David Haines, Alan Henning and most recently Peter Kassig. But I’ve maintained a consistent policy of “condemning” *cringe* the crimes committed by the Assad regime, Shia death squads in Iraq and the West, which surpass that of ISIS.
As crazy and intolerant ISIS are, I still regard them as Muslims. What do people expect me to do? I can’t make a blanket statement of takfir (ex-communication) on every single fighter within ISIS, because I know many Britons joined them to genuinely help the oppressed Syrians against a brutal despotic regime.
There’s a concept in Islam called “husn addhan” which means to have a good opinion of fellow Muslims. Husn addhan can also translate to giving a Muslim the benefit of doubt, making excuses for their mistakes and overlooking one’s flaws. But my husn addhan for ISIS cyber warriors has been tested lately and I can’t bite my tongue forever.
On Monday, I posted a status on Facebook stating that I could have a rational and civilised discussion with Muslims from most political and theological backgrounds. In many cases we’d agree to disagree, even on major issues pertaining to Islam, with the exception of Madkhalis (blind supporters of the Saudi regime) and ISIS cheerleaders. This status was uncharacteristic of me as I’ve never jumped on the fashionable bandwagon of attacking ISIS.
Within minutes I was hounded by a number of ISIS supporters. One even had the audacity to accuse me of being “on the same bandwagon of Obama” and then quoted Sheikh Anwar Al Awlaki (rh) to support his point. He equated my criticism of ISIS with supporting American/Western transgression against Muslims by default – that made me laugh.
But there are serious concerns with this outlook and mentality under the guise of being “Islamic”.
To ISIS supporters and even ISIS themselves, opposing their “Caliphate” is somehow opposing Islam and renders you a disbeliever, a rebellious Muslim, a munafiq (hypocrite), a deviant, all which could make the spilling of your blood permissible.
Let’s put aside the execution of the 18 Syrian soldiers in ISIS’ latest video, which many can argue is a part and parcel of warfare and retaliatory score-settling. Don’t be surprised at my bluntness.
Just because ISIS make Hollywood-style beheading videos, doesn’t mean we ignore the barbaric crimes of Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite Shabiha militia, and his cluster and barrel bombs which continues to leave thousands of innocent civilians without heads and limbs!
Let’s also forget for a moment, the deaths of the US and British aid workers and journalists whose lives ISIS also deem to be acceptable under their distorted interpretation of Shariah.
Let’s even dismiss the other Syrian rebel factions that ISIS have fought and killed; many of whom are Sunni Islamists that also desire an Islamic State if Assad was to fall, Insha’Allah.
You’d think that Sunnis, who haven’t posed a physical threat to ISIS would be pardoned and engaged with, to win their hearts and minds, right? No, even they are not exempt.
Since ISIS’ announcement of the restoration of the Caliphate on June 29th, I have been monitoring the attitude of their supporters on social media (many of whom are probably Mi5 or Special Branch under fake accounts), and to be honest, it isn’t that different to what we see of ISIS in their videos.
Everyone and anyone who disagrees with their State, their self-professed Caliph and their interpretation of Shariah are perceived as “coconuts”, “murtad” or “agents”. I’ve even read ISIS’ supporters not only making takfir on other Sunni groups, but justifying their deaths “under the Shariah”.
Here are some of the following justifications:
Muslim Brotherhood and pro-democracy political parties: Advocates of a man made system which makes man sovereign as opposed to Allah (swt). It’s a system of shirk, therefore these groups advocate shirk, therefore they have committed shirk, therefore they are disbelievers and taking their lives unless they give bayah (allegiance) is halal.
Hizb ut Tahrir: Talk the talk but can’t walk the walk. Been shouting and screaming “KHILAFAH!” for 60 years and the most they’ve accomplished is an international conference in Indonesia with 130,000 attendees. In reality, HT are the biggest ideological threat to ISIS, however, they are deviant Marxist rationalist Mutazalites whose blood is also halal unless they give bayah.
Sufis (Brelvis/Deobandis/Naqshbandi/all Sufi orders): Grave and saint worshiping deviants who imitate Christians in religion and Hindus in culture. They have crazy “Allah-Hu” sessions and taking the lives of Ahl ul-Bidah (people of innovation) unless they accept al-Baghdadi can be justified.
Salafis: The Salafi movement is very diverse and broad, and those who refer to it as one unified movement lack the basic knowledge on its different offshoots.
Whilst many Salafis may share or agree with fundamental theological matters; a significant portion don’t; but ISIS fights them all! ISIS has killed fighters from Ahrar al Sham and Al Qaeda’s Jabhat Al Nusra, both “Salafi jihadi” groups.
As for the ardent supporters of the puppet Salafi scholars who legitimise the rule of the Saudi/Sisi/Gulf regimes, they are perceived as “murjiahs” for being “soft” towards oppressive dictators who do not rule by Islam, and unless they give bayah to al-Baghdadi, the taking of their blood is also halal.
Western aid workers and journalists: CIA and Mi5 agents who conveniently accept Islam under captivity.
Shias: Let’s not even go there…
Alawites/Druze/Yazidis/Zoroastrians/Pagans/polytheists: Jizya, slavery, conversion or death.
Christians and Jews: Protected under the Shariah. Either pay Jizya or exile.
The above “justifications” aren’t verbatim what I’ve read on social media, but are common arguments that I’ve noticed parroted by ISIS supporters online.
Banter aside, there is a serious danger with this rigid approach towards other Muslims.
I rarely use the term “takfiri” to describe ISIS because since the Syrian war began, it has become a propaganda term too commonly used by pro-Iranian/Shia supporters, and in some cases by pro-regime Salafi scholars towards “revolutionary” Sunni Islamists.
An overwhelming majority within the Ummah have rejected not only ISIS’ claim to the Caliphate but their abhorrent crimes and treatment of other Muslims.
Sunni Islamists and jihadists alike have raised legitimate concerns over ISIS’ general behaviour being compliant with the Shariah but this has been met with violence as witnessed in Syria.
If ISIS took a step back from its fast paced power trip, and were serious about convincing the Ummah of its credibility as the “Khilafah upon the Prophetic method”, at the very least they should be patient and tolerant of those who disagree with them until they are convinced.
I reiterate – this should be done after ISIS proves to the Ummah that they are a Khilafah and capable of implementing Islam comprehensively, not by killing anyone who questions or doubts their unsubstantiated claims.
NOTE: For muscular liberal Islamophobes and #NotInMyName Muslims, this article isn’t a piece to add to the “United Against ISIS” media memorabilia.