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29 Aug 2014 00:00
Isis controls large areas in Syria and Iraq.
One of the most pernicious expressions of belief in a cause is the refusal to denounce the crimes of co-believers, on the grounds that this might give succour to perceived enemies. It is this that apparently drives the refusal of many morally upstanding South African Jews to condemn the detentions without trial, collective punishments and other human rights violations perpetrated by the state of Israel.
It also appears to underpin the seeming reluctance of many Muslims to openly repudiate the monstrous actions of self-professed Islamic movements such as Boko Haram and Isis – or QSIS, as an Egyptian group has asked that it be called (see
State of confusion).
For this reason, the Mail & Guardian applauds the online petition by South African Muslims rejecting “the murders, kidnapping and violence against innocent people, destruction of schools and sacred spaces and forced conversions” by such groups in the name of Islam.
We also welcome the Jamiatul Ulama of South Africa’s distancing itself from their “atrocities, massacres and extrajudicial punishments”.
Isis forces those in the areas it controls to live according to its interpretation of Sunni Islam and sharia law. It is accused of violence against Shia Muslims, Christians, Yazidis and anyone else who won’t submit. It has released dozens of videos parading its ill-treatment of civilians, dispelling any possibility that it is the blameless victim of Western propaganda.
What has become of the historical tolerance shown by Islamic rulers for religious and ethnic minorities? It is particularly obnoxious that the caliphates proclaimed by Isis and Boko Haram claim to speak for all Muslims, and to command their allegiance. To show that this is false, it is vital that moderate, democratic Muslims stand up and be counted.
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