Purveyor of Truth
One of the oft heard memes, especially from the rightwing in America, is that American Muslims are silent on the violence perpetrated by the Muslim terrorist organization ISIS. In fact Muslim leaders in the USA are speaking out against ISIS specifically and the terrorism it is responsible for. These leaders are doing so even though they are placing their lives in danger. Their actions take courage and they should be receiving recognition and appreciation from all Americans for their principled actions.
As the military and political battle against the Islamic State escalates, Muslim imams and scholars in the West are fighting on another front — through theology.
Imam Suhaib Webb, a Muslim leader in Washington, has held live monthly video chats to refute the religious claims of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. In a dig at the extremists, he broadcast from ice cream parlors and called his talks “ISIS and ice cream.”
Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, an American Muslim scholar based in Berkeley, Calif., has pleaded with Muslims not to be deceived by the “stupid young boys” of the Islamic State. Millions have watched excerpts from his sermon titled “The Crisis of ISIS,” in which he wept as he asked God not to blame other Muslims “for what these fools amongst us do.”
It is a religious rumble that barely makes headlines in the secular West since it is carried out at mosques and Islamic conferences and over social media.
The Islamic State, however, has taken notice.
The group recently threatened the lives of 11 Muslim imams and scholars in the West, calling them “apostates” who should be killed. The recent issue of the Islamic State’s online propaganda magazine, Dabiq, called them “obligatory targets,” and it said that supporters should use any weapons on hand to “make an example of them.”
The danger is real enough that the F.B.I. has contacted some of those named in the Islamic State’s magazine “to assist them in taking proper steps to ensure their safety,” said Andrew Ames, a spokesman for the F.B.I.’s field office in Washington.
The death threats are a sign that Muslim religious leaders have antagonized the Islamic State, according to analysts who are studying the militant group. Their growing influence also contradicts those who claim that Muslim leaders have been silent in the fight against violent extremism.
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“This is what hurts ISIS the most. It is Muslims speaking out,” said Mubin Shaikh, a Canadian who once joined an extremist Islamist group and now advises governments on countering radicalization. “Fear-mongering is what ISIS is trying to do, whether to silence these people or to silence others as a deterrent.”
Several of the targeted Muslim leaders said in interviews that, while they were taking the threat seriously, they had no intention of backing off (Emphasis mine.) They have hired security guards and fortified their workplaces, and some keep guns at home.
Perhaps Trump (and others) will take note. Islam is not our enemy. Irrationality, xenophobia, and fear are.
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