Iraqi clerics rejected the sermon of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as mistake-ridden and proof of his ignorance of Islam and Islamic jurisprudence.
According to an Iraqi who was forced to attend al-Baghdadi's July 4th speech in Mosul, much of the videotaped sermon was edited because it was riddled with mistakes and empty talk . The speech by al-Baghdadi, who has rarely been seen in public, came five days after ISIS announced it was establishing a caliphate in captured territory straddling Syria and Iraq and naming al-Baghdadi as caliph.
"Everyone has found mistakes in the sermon of the so-called al-Baghdadi such that not even a student of sharia would make," said Sheikh Mahmoud al-Khalidi, a member of the Iraqi Iftaa Authority and a preacher at Abu Hanifa Mosque in Baghdad. "This can be expected from someone who has throughout his life given priority to blood over forgiveness and tolerance."
Sheikh Khaled al-Obaidi, a Sunni cleric in Baghdad, pointed out that al-Baghdadi's followers entered the mosque carrying guns, which is forbidden.
"His followers carried weapons and stood at the heads of worshippers, something which suggests the worshippers were forced to listen to his poorly worded sermon," he said.
Al-Baghdadi also was ridiculed for wearing a flashy wristwatch during the speech that could be worth more than $6,000, Britain's Telegraph reported.
"(He concluded) saying he does not promise us luxury," said Mohammed Abu Saad, who attended the sermon. "What is his role then? Does his caliphate mean killings, floggings, punishments and want for us while his followers eat the best foods and use luxury cars, and we live in great need and scarcity? I do not think that Islam promotes that."
"Living under ISIS rule was impossible , especially in terms of the education for my two sons in schools controlled by these extremist groups," said Syrian merchant Mahmoud al-Idliby, who fled to Cairo with his family four months ago.
"A school, in ISIS's view, is a recruitment centre , no more and no less, where class hours are used to brainwash the students, especially the younger ones, and train them to take orders and carry them out without any objection, and to memorise the Qur'an robotically without comprehension, in addition to dozens of fatwas that incite murder and bloodshed."
ISIS has abolished science, biology, Islamic education, national education, history and geography, and replaced them with books explaining Salafi-jihadist ideology, Qur'an memorisation and extremist interpretations of Islam's holy book, said Mahmoud al-Amin, a retired teacher in al-Raqa.
"Educational institutions have become centres for brainwashing young children to turn them into mobile time bombs that could detonate anytime, anywhere."
Regional Centre for Strategic Studies researcher Wael al-Sharimi said it would get worse as more children became exposed to constant violence.
"Extremist jihadist thought becomes the correct thought for them after they are subjected to the brainwashing process, and thus a new jihadist generation is created."
Forced into sex
Iraqis living in Lebanon expressed outrage that ISIS is forcing northern Iraq women and girls into "sexual jihad". These innocents are coerced into marrying ISIS fighters for brief periods in order to justify fighters' taking advantage of them before quickly divorcing them afterward.
"ISIS is foreign to us and has to be destroyed before it preys on the honour of women and girls," said Assil Flaih, a student at the American University of Science and Technology in Beirut. "We will not return our Iraq to laws that insult women and undermine their dignity, and we will not give up the modern civil life we have reached."
Islam honours women and acknowledges their right to education, work and having an opinion, said Dahlia al-Jaddouh, an Iraqi housewife and mother of two girls.
"ISIS is sanctioning what is forbidden and forbidding what is sanctioned," she said. "There is no place in our Iraqi society for the 'Islamic caliphate' that ISIS is preaching, and there is no place for the rulings it is imposing on Iraqi women who are clinging to their constitutionally enshrined civil rights."
Rashid Najm and Nohad Topalian in Beirut contributed to this report.
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