The Islamic Cultural Centre Ireland (ICCI) has issued a statement condemning the atrocities of the Islamic State in the Middle East, and in particular the murder of hostage, James Foley. One Dublin newspaper reported that this statement “strongly condemned” the Islamic State for acting contrary to the teachings of Islam.
In the context of what is happening in the Middle East in the name of Islam, and in the context of the disturbing silence of the millions of Muslims who live in the West and enjoy freedom of speech, this is a muted and very inadequate response. Where are the mass demonstrations of Muslims on the streets of Europe’s cities crying out to their co-religionists in Syria and Iraq, “not in my name do you do this”?
Why are we not seeing these demonstrations and hearing these words? Is it because they are afraid to speak out? Or is it that the Muslim populations of the free West are at best ambivalent about what is going on there – and at worst, secretly condoning it. A strong statement from ICCI would have at least invited its people to assemble in a public protest to unambiguously demonstrate their outright condemnation of this aberration of their religion – if they really believe it is such.
The ICCI statement says that “in full conformity with Islamic teachings” it “vehemently abhors and deplores terrorism of all kinds regardless of the perpetrators’ race and faith.” It points out that “murder, the most horrendous act of terrorism, is strictly forbidden in Islam” and that “Allah states that the murder of one person is as evil as killing all people. In the Qur’an it is stated: “whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption (done) in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely.”
It says that “on this basis, the ICCI unequivocally condemns the atrocities perpetrated in Iraq in the name of Islam” and “stresses that these crimes can by no means be classified as a just struggle. Isis [Islamic State ] is causing damage to the image of Islam and Muslims all over the world. We share the shock and the horror of what was shown on the internet and television.”
It concluded that “as it condemns all types of terrorism; state, individual and extremist groups, the ICCI appeals to the entire world to live in peace, respect human rights and shun violence and create a just society where atrocities like these cannot flourish.”
All this statement really does is beg a bag-full of questions. “Whoever kills a soul unless for a soul” is the first problem. Every last jihadist in ISIS considers himself or herself fighting for souls. Otherwise what is all this forced conversion and kidnapping of women and children about? “Corruption”? Their war is a war against corruption, the corruption of the great Satan.
The ICCI statement is double-edged. It concludes that “it condemns all types of terrorism; state, individual and extremist groups” and neatly gets its shorthand condemnation of the Israeli State into the picture.
“Isis [Islamic State ] is causing damage to the image of Islam and Muslims all over the world,” the statement adds. It certainly is and clearly this is of concern to ICCI. Is it their main concern? They should, however, try to do something serious about correcting the image and get their followers to demonstrate en masse to their non-Islamic neighbours that they abhor these atrocities with every fibre of their bodies.
This is what the West needs to see. Statements like this from self-appointed Islamist bodies are as worthless as they are unrepresentative. They convince no one because adherence to Islam has no coherence whatsoever. If it is said of the Bible that even the Devil can quote it to his advantage – and that is true, – this caveat must be doubly underlined for the Qur’an for which there simply is no authoritative interpretation whatsoever. The Christian Church, on the mandate of its Founder, protects its faithful from the Devil’s use of Sacred Scripture by its authoritative interpretation of its words. Islam, sadly, has no such authority and as a result the Islamic State’s reading of the Qur’an carries as much weight as that of the ICCI, its Kensington equivalent or any other of the religion’s institutions across the world. ISIS knows this and to secure its Faithful’s allegiance resorts to the simple and brutal use of terror.