Islamic State in Iraq and Syria grossly misrepresents peaceful Islam

Islamic State in Iraq and Syria grossly misrepresents peaceful Islam

The so-called Islamic State misrepresents grossly the tenets of Islam as revealed in the Holy Qu’ran. Islamic preaches love, peace, compassion, empathy, charity and forgiveness. Islam does not believe in forcing non-Muslims to become Muslims. Adherence to non-discrimination of people of different religions is consistent with Islam.

In the Western World, the Islamic State has distorted the fundamentals of Islam. Islam probably is one of the most controversial, misunderstood and misinterpreted in many Western countries. Many in Western countries stare down on Muslims or persons with an Islamic (Arabic/Persian) name

The Western countries are not aware Islam is not a monolithic religion and it embraces dozens of different forms of interpretation of the Quranic verses. Extremists are present in all religions and they are known as bigots. Islamic extremism and violence have distorted and warped the image of Islam. The extremist have “hijacked” Islam to meet their narrow ends.

Islamic faith covers countries from Morocco to Indonesia and each follows Islam within its nationalistic and political values. Non–Arab Muslims constitute 80% per cent of Muslim population in the World. Despite commonalities of religions of Islam, differing national contexts and identities give rise to a broad spectrum of political systems, reflecting the muti-faceted relationship of Islam. Muslim-majority States must adapt themselves to the changing times and the pluralistic society within Muslim- majority states demands compromise, accommodation, tolerance and accountability.

Islam in Bengal (Bangladesh) came from Sufis. Sufis were pious, and religiously disciplined personalities who promoted Islamic faith, mystic culture of divine love and fraternity. According to Sufis, a Muslim may attain the knowledge and direct experience of Allah (God) by the inward perception of mind and zikr (recitation of the greatness of Allah).

Islam in Bangladesh has the underpinnings of local culture and customs, rooted in the land. Culture is based on religion, history and geography. One can transplant civilisation but not ethnic culture which emanate from land. For example a Bengali is an ethnic identity of a person and it cannot be changed wherever he/she lives..

Origin of IS:

Islamic State (IS) is a radical Islamist group that has seized large swathes of territory in eastern Syria and across northern and western Iraq.

IS can trace its roots back to the late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian who set up Tawhid wa al-Jihad in 2002. A year after the US-led invasion of Iraq, Zarqawi pledged allegiance to Osama Bin Laden and formed al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), which became a major force in the insurgency.

Its brutal tactics – including mass killings and abductions of members of religious and ethnic minorities, as well as the beheadings of soldiers and journalists – have sparked fear and outrage across the world and prompted US military intervention.

The group aims to establish a “caliphate”, a state ruled by a single political and religious leader according to Islamic law, or Sharia.

Although currently limited to Iraq and Syria, IS has promised to “break the borders” of Jordan and Lebanon and to “free Palestine”. It attracts support from Muslim extremists across the world and demands that all swear allegiance to its leader – Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai, better known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

After Zarqawi’s death in 2006, AQI created an umbrella organisation, Islamic State in Iraq (ISI). ISI was steadily weakened by the US troop surge and the creation of Sahwa (Awakening) councils by Sunni Arab tribesmen who rejected its brutality.

After becoming leader in 2010, Baghdadi rebuilt ISI’s capabilities. By 2013, it was once again carrying out dozens of attacks a month in Iraq. It had also joined the rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, setting up the al-Nusra Front.

In April 2013, Baghdadi announced the merger of his forces in Iraq and Syria and the creation of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Leva Levant (Isis). The leaders of al-Nusra and al-Qaeda rejected the move, but fighters loyal to Baghdadi split from al-Nusra and helped Isis remain in Syria.

At the end of December 2013, Isis shifted its focus back to Iraq and exploited a political stand-off between the Shia-led government and the minority Sunni Arab community. Aided by tribesmen, the group took control of the central city of Falluja.

In June 2014, Isis overran the northern city of Mosul, and then advanced southwards towards Baghdad. At the end of the month, after consolidating its hold over dozens of cities and towns, Isis declared the creation of a caliphate and changed its name to Islamic State.

Funds of IS:

The ISIS is a well-funded group. They get funds from : (a) sale of oil from fields under their control, (b) sale of wheat and antiquities, (c) collecting ransom for releasing hostages and extortions from non-Muslims within their territory and (d) funds from individuals who support the militants and Islamic charities in the Middle East and Europe

To understand how the Islamic State economy functions is to delve into a murky world of middlemen and shady business dealings, in which “loyal ideologues” on differing sides spot business opportunities and pounce upon them. IS exports about 9,000 barrels of oil per day at prices ranging from about $25-$45 (£15-£27).

It controls sale of wheat and antiquities, spurring a vast gray market with buyers as unlikely as the Syrian regime and Shiite and Kurdish businessmen from Lebanon and Iraq, said Western officials and Syrians and Iraqis with knowledge of the now-common business transactions.

Ransom payments are a major source of income for the group but are far less consistent than income from domestic activities, Western officials said.

ISIS: a wrong name:

On 24thAugust ,Egypt’s leading Islamic authority, Dar Al-Ifta, launched a campaign over the weekend urging Western media outlets to refrain from calling extremists that now control large swathes of Syria and Iraq as “Islamic State” militants, but as “Al-Qaeda Separatists.” (AQS)

An adviser to Egypt’s grand mufti said the campaign was aimed at fighting the extremist ideology of Islamist militants belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and to “reflect that Muslims are against their practices.”

“The initiative by Dar al-Ifta came to express the institution’s rejection of many stereotypes that attach the name of Islam to bloody and violent acts committed by such groups,” Ibrahim Negm told Al Arabiya News on Monday.

“We are afraid that such incorrect stereotypes will be rooted in the minds of Muslim and non-Muslim viewers alike.”

Muslims do not follow the sayings of the Prophet:

Our Prophet said that for knowledge you go to China, emphasizing two things: (a) knowledge must be acquired and (b) you acquire it from distant countries, if necessary..

Muslim majority countries pay little attention to educational and scientific development. For example, Greece, a backwater country of Europe, publishes more books than those in the entire Arab world. How could it be when Saudi Arabia reportedly turns out more graduates in Islamic studies than those of in medicine or engineering?

What does it signify? It demonstrates that education and pursuit of scientific knowledge is at the bottom in the Islamic world. How many Muslims get Nobel Prizes on medicine, physics or chemistry?

What the Islamic world needs is the self assessment as to why this pitiable situation has developed. It seems that whenever serious critical self-examination is done by some Muslim authors, they are not welcome their own Muslim countries.

Former PM of Malaysia Dr. Mahathir Mohammad at the OIC Summit in KL in 2003 said: “Some believe that poverty is Islamic, sufferings and being oppressed are Islamic. Some preach that the world is not for us. Ours are the joys of heaven in the afterlife. All we have to do is to perform certain rituals, wear certain garments and put up certain appearance.”

President Pervez Musharraf in a seminar in 2002 expressed critical comments on Islamic community when he stated that the Islamic world was “ the poorest, the most illiterate, the most backward, the most unenlightened, the most deprived and the weakest of all the human race.”

Whether these statements of Islamic leaders are correct or not, it provides food for thought for Muslims..

As Socrates said “ The unexamined life is not worth living”. Alexander Pope in “Essays on Man” wrote “ The study of mankind is man”. All these sayings touch one thing; i.e. self-examination.

Regrettably envy and self-denial tend to stand in the way of self-examination. We tend to blame others for the situation. We should take a look in the mirror rather than blame others. Some observers say there is an Islamic code of silence among most of the Islamic scholars.


Islamic community (ummah) cannot ignore the extremism in Islam and the Islamic doctrines have to be interpreted in the light of time-place. Some suggest that Muslim-majority states which believe in the view of tolerant Islam must reject extremism in Islam through the Jeddash-based OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) as against the version of orthodox Islam that is hell-bent on establishing a kind of regime in the name of Islam that goes against the root of Islam.

Such OIC declaration will create a positive image of Islam in the Western countries.

What may be often overlooked is that the Islamic world is in uncertain position at the 21st century. There are at least two groups— one minority group supporting orthodox interpretation of Islam and the larger group supporting moderate and tolerant version of Islam.

The writings of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Syed Ameer Ali, Dr. Mohammad Iqbal and Abul Hashim of South Asia reflect enlightened interpretation of Islam. The strength of the debate between the two is likely to determine the future of Islam.

The moderate Islamic States have enough resources and must rise from the slumber and show that Islam is a boon to humanity.

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