More Than 100 Muslim Clerics Sign Letter Condemning ISIS
Policy + Politics

More Than 100 Muslim Clerics Sign Letter Condemning ISIS

Top Muslim leaders in the United States on Wednesday released a detailed refutation of claims by the terrorist group ISIS that its actions in Iraq and Syria are in keeping with Islamic law. The letter, signed by 111 prominent clerics from around the world, lists dozens of ways in which the clerics assert that ISIS has consistently violated Islamic law.

It urges ISIS leader and their followers to “Reconsider all your actions; desist from them; repent from them; cease harming others and return to the religion of mercy.”

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Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said in a presentation at the National Press Club in Washington that the purpose of the letter is to “debunk and expose the falsity” of the claim that ISIS is operating within the dictates of the Islamic religion.

The letter is written in classical Arabic, but an English translation was provided to reporters. Addressed to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and to “The fighters and followers of the self-declared ‘Islamic State,’” it addresses 24 different statements or actions by ISIS and its members that the signatories say are specific violations of Islamic law. The violations cited stem from the obvious – murder, torture, desecration of corpses, and forced conversions – to more obscure violations, such as the illegal declaration of a caliphate and the issuance of fatwas (binding religious rulings) without the proper authority. 

“These are 24 points, and point-by-point, their ideology has been rejected,” said Muzammil H. Siddiqi, chairman of the Fiqh Council of North America, the most senior Islamic jurisprudential body in the U.S.

“This so-called Islamic State is not a state and does not represent anything that is Islamic,” said Oussama Jammal, secretary general of the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations. “None of their actions pass any litmus test to show that they have a sound understanding of Islamic ideas.”

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The list of signatories includes Islamic clerics from around the world, including Sheikh Shawqi Allam, the Grand Mufti of Egypt; Sheikh Mustafa Cagrici, the former Mufti of Istanbul; Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, Mufti of Palestine; and dozens of other highly-regarded Islamic clerics.

Awad, of CAIR, said that he believed the American Muslim community “has spoken many times” about its opposition to ISIS, but that “it is time for mainstream Muslims around the world to condemn” the group.

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