International faith community to ISIS: Stop religious persecution

South and Southeast Asian Muslims unite against ISIS's persecution of Iraq's minority religious communities.

Khabar South and Southeast Asia

August 01, 2014
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First, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) turned its weapons on fellow jihadists fighting to overthrow Syria's Bashar al-Assad. Then, it proclaimed a "caliphate" in parts of Iraq and Syria that was widely criticised across the Muslim world.

  • Clerics and other religious leaders demonstrate against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) outside the UN office in Arbil, Iraq on July 24th. [Safin Hamed/AFP]

    Clerics and other religious leaders demonstrate against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) outside the UN office in Arbil, Iraq on July 24th. [Safin Hamed/AFP]

Now, ISIS is forcing non-Muslim Iraqis to convert to its distorted version of Islam or leave their homes, under the threat of execution.

Since early July, UN and international media reports have chronicled religious minorities across northern and western Iraq, including Christians in Mosul, seeking to flee as ISIS fighters demand they convert to ISIS's brand of Islam or leave.

Those choosing to remain were threatened with execution "by the sword" in an ISIS statement, AFP reported.

When ISIS overran Mosul in June, it demolished shrines and mosques and took ownership of non-Muslim places of worship.

"It is completely un-Islamic"

"No prophet has said, 'I have come for Hindus, I have come for Muslims, I have come for Christians,'" Kazi Nurul Islam, founder and former chairman of the World Religions Department at the University of Dhaka, told Khabar. "They said that they came for humanity, for everyone. This is also the teaching of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

"But ISIS is forcing and threatening Christians in Iraq to convert to Islam or face death. It is completely un-Islamic and unkind. It can be treated as a terrorist activity."

Sri Lanka's All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) Media Secretary Shaikh Fazil Farook told Khabar that Islam does not support forced conversions.

"No person could be forced to embrace Islam, according to the Islamic teaching as Allah says in the Holy Qur'an in Chapter 2, Verse No. 256," Farook said. "There is no forcing in our religion. If one is to embrace Islam, it should be out of his own will."

He stressed ISIS's actions were an outright abuse of Islam. "During Prophet Muhammad’s time, Christians and Jews practiced their own religion alongside Muslims and no one was forced to convert to Islam."

"A crime against humanity"

Maulana Hizfur Rehman, head Imam at Delhi's India Islamic Cultural Centre (IICC) Mosque, said such behaviour draws severe repercussions in the Qur'an.

"Forcible conversion, asking people to leave their homes and frightening them is a crime which is punishable by death according to the Holy Qur'an," Rehman told Khabar. "Those who do it in the name of Islam are enemies of Islam and their final abode is hell. Muslims should unite to condemn these acts through all means across the globe."

Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) chairman Din Syamsuddin told Khabar Islamic does not teach killing.

"ISIS does not have the authority to kill people under the name of a 'caliphate'," Din told Khabar. "Any systematic attacks that can cause suffering for civilian populations because of their ethnic background or religious beliefs are not only against Islamic teachings, but also a crime against humanity.

"Whoever does this must be held accountable. MUI has stated earlier that we are not supporting ISIS's caliphate."

Communion of Churches in Indonesia (PGI) chairman Andrew A. Yewangoe hopes the international community will find a situation.

"In the meantime, we are sending our prayers for our brothers and sisters, who are currently facing these difficulties, for those who are persecuted, forced to leave their houses and who end up dealing with hunger and uncertainty," he said.

The UN Security Council on July 22nd announced widespread or systemic attacks directed against people because of ethnic background, religious beliefs or faith "constitutes a crime against humanity for which those responsible must be held accountable".

Jakarta resident Mardianto Mamdani said ISIS's actions show the group is not part of Islam.

"They are criminals who use religion to get what they want," he said. "They are greedy, abusive and intolerant. There is nothing like that in Islam. Not at all."

Shahriar Sharif in Dhaka, Munza Mushtaq in Colombo, Altaf Ahmad in New Delhi, Aditya Surya and Alisha Nurhayati in Jakarta contributed to this report.

Reader Comments
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    • Abraham Namu Asiam Sawor
      November 13, 2014 @ 10:11:19PM
    • I am indeed concerned about the Islamic religion. They sow discord even among themselves, is this what we call religious harmony? There must be something wrong with their religious faith.
    • Abraham Namu Asiam Sawor
      November 13, 2014 @ 10:11:49PM
    • There must be a reason behind the violence among Muslims, why this organization was formed, what their issues are to bring about armed engagement such as this. There must be a reason!
    • hendrik
      August 31, 2014 @ 08:08:34AM
    • The way I see it, in these trying times we should rely on our faith, which of course is in the Lord Jesus because even if we die, in Him is the resurrection and life. Fight with prayer through mercy It is not justified to meet evil with evil, for God said retribution is My right. Amen.
    • mikha tahara
      August 30, 2014 @ 02:08:08AM
    • This is in violation of religious mandate. As Muslims, we must eradicate ISIS because ISIS has severely deviated from Islamic teachings. Do not accept ISIS in Indonesia and we must also eliminate ISIS.
    • Deden Syarif
      August 28, 2014 @ 11:08:36AM
    • In Islam there are indeed teachings about jihad, however, the particulars and procedures must be in line with Prophet SAW's examples. Muslims are pained by the various international crimes that are felt by our brothers and sisters in faith all over the world, the ethnic cleansing and having their rights taken away. However, Muslims should not need to be provoked by the political tactics of the infidels, we must be patient before Islam becomes a religion that is ya'lu wala yu'la 'alaih, there is no need to act in the manner of ISIS because Muslims have indirectly been made to be easy targets by the enemies of religion so that they would retaliate in a way that violates international regulations and will ultimately have adverse effects on the reputation of Islam itself and the existence of Muslims all over the world.
    • Penunggu setia Imam Mahdi ahli sunnah
      August 28, 2014 @ 01:08:22AM
    • You have been influenced by the media's false statements guided by the Freemasons.
    • Muhammad Jono Ali Pasha
      August 16, 2014 @ 09:08:31PM
    • Islam is full of peace.
    • Sutarno
      August 9, 2014 @ 05:08:20AM
    • "For the infidels: taking their blood, possessions and dignity is justified". That is the teaching of Islam, not terrorists. If ISIL were to apply that right now it would not be foreign to Muslims. Why would it be strange to Muslims? Because many people do not understand the Islamic teachings themselves. Very few or even no one studies and knows about the jihad Fiqh. Who is to blame? It is strange to be Muslim but not knowing about the Islamic religion itself. This is why when their Muslim brothers are being slaughtered all over the world in this manner they stay silent and do not comment, as if the ones being slaughtered are not their brothers. This is Islam's time to find glory and they are not happy and even afraid. Remember, only infidels fear Islam. If there are groups/congregations/organizations that are not feared by infidels, then you can be sure that those groups/congregations/organizations do not voice Islam.
    • mina
      August 27, 2014 @ 04:08:14AM
    • Yes, there are indeed Muslims who have minimal knowledge about Islam but ISIS' method of da'wa through violence is not justified by Islamic teachings.
    • mr.nunusaku
      August 27, 2014 @ 07:08:42PM
    • I, along with my troops, have never been afraid of Islam, we have proven war against Muslims in the 1999 Maluku riots. We threw 5 containers filled with jihad troops in the Maluku sea. If you do not believe this, just ask Al Fatah mosque in Ambon. Our forces barged into the mosque and confiscated the RMS flag that was kept inside the mosque. These are the facts of our fight against Javanese Islamic terrorists.
    • gusdur juga
      August 29, 2014 @ 11:08:37AM
    • What would you think if infidels slaughtered Muslims the way we hear and see in printed and electronic media?
    • Yeperson Narek
      August 9, 2014 @ 03:08:26AM
    • I do not think that ISIS are good Muslims and ISIS is only using the name of the Islamic religion for their interests. Or, perhaps they are a terrorist network.
    • eee
      August 9, 2014 @ 03:08:37AM
    • ISIS is a global terrorist. Keep beating them back, America, eliminate ISIS. Don't let there be anymore terrorists in this world
    • siska cantika
      August 3, 2014 @ 04:08:48AM
    • I agree, Mr. Nurdin.
    • sarbani
      August 2, 2014 @ 06:08:20PM
    • Islam is a blessing for all mankind, it would be an evil to impose religion when the Quran says "for you, your religion. For me, my religion."
    • nurdin akbar
      August 1, 2014 @ 01:08:41AM
    • yes this is wrong ... no violence for muslim against muslim is needed. nowhere religion say muslim should kill muslim in fact should nto kill any one

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