South African Muslim leaders stand against Islamic State

Written by Yazeed Kamaldien

A national Muslim authority yesterday launched a countrywide campaign at mosques to warn locals to remain wary of Islamic State (IS) recruitment.

The United Ulema Council of South Africa (UUCSA) and its affiliated imams countrywide dismissed IS in a unified speech as carrying out “terrorist activity”.

UUCSA president Shaykh Ighsaan Taliep addressed congregants at yesterday’s weekly Friday prayers at the Albert Road mosque in Woodstock.

He warned locals to be wary of the “recruitment practices by IS”.

“Muslim leaders throughout the world have condemned the establishment of the so-called caliphate of IS in parts of Iraq and Syria. It has come under severe condemnation by the scholars of Islam,” said Taliep.

“Allah (God) does not love those who spread mischief. The destroying of the lives of people… these are the common characteristics that have been brought to our attention and the modus operandi of IS. They violate the principles of Islam.”

Taliep said IS used its digital magazine Dabiq to recruit particularly young fighters to join their cause.

“In its magazine it proclaims that every Muslim should get out of his house, find a Crusader, in other words a Christian or Jew, and kill him,” said Taliep.

“It is important that killings be attributed to patrons of the IS who have obeyed its leadership.”

He added: “IS roadside killings and Youtube shenanigans and massacres proves it does not preserve life. The violation of human dignity and lives proves that IS does not promote Islam. IS kills Muslims.”

“They brand people disbelievers on the basis of a very basic ideological outlook. Once that person has been branded a kaafir (Arabic word for disbeliever) his blood becomes halaal (Arabic word for permissible).”

IS has for months posted videos online of executions of foreigners as well as locals in Iraq and Syria where it aims to establish its caliphate.

Taliep said Muslims should “live in peace and harmony”.

“The norm is not that people must have wars. The norm that Allah requires is that people live peacefully among one another,” he said.

“We can understand Muslim communities are being victimised and occupied. We need solutions for those problems and those solutions must conform with the Shariah (Islamic law).”

UUCSA this week issued a statement along with other Muslim groups countrywide warning locals from signing up with IS.

The statement said “various Muslim organisations and scholars from across South Africa met recently to discuss the problem posed by the attraction of the Islamic State group among some South African Muslims”.

“The representatives expressed concern about information gleaned from within the Muslim community about growing sympathy for IS among some South African Muslims,” it said.

“The meeting discussed a number of steps that Muslim community leadership are taking and will take in order to address this attraction and engage with the spurious discourse of IS which it claims is based on Islam.”

A spokesman for the group of organisations and scholars said there “was serious concern within the community, and that there are families whose lives have been made miserable, whose elders have become haggard and distressed because of the intention of family members to join IS”.

“Some South African Muslims that have gone to Iraq and Syria went to fight with IS, while others emigrated to live in territory controlled by the group,” said the spokesman.

The statement said the various organisations would “work with other institutions within South African society, such as government, the media and community organisations, to stem any attraction… for this group, or any similar group such as Boko Haram or Al-Shabab”.

“We must be uncompromising in our rejection of their ideologies and their actions,” it said.

A number of South Africans have reported traveled to the Middle East to join IS. State security officials reportedly stopped two teenage girls from joining IS earlier this year. A 15-year-old girl from Kenwyn was detained and returned to her parents before she could leave South Africa.

A second teenage girl from Grassy Park was reportedly stopped at Cape Town International Airport.

The Sunday Tribune newspaper reported earlier this year that a number of South Africans are already living in IS-controlled territories.

In March, Weekend Argus learned from the South African embassy in Turkey that a South African man had been detained in Turkey for allegedly trying to cross into Syria to join IS.


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About Yazeed Kamaldien

Self-employed journalist and photographer from South Africa.

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