Responses to the recent Fatwa against ISIS issued by a group of British Imams have followed a predictably chiastic pattern. Islam’s sharpest critics and most extreme adherents both view the document with suspicion, whereas more liberal types (including both devout Muslims and uncompromising atheists) have welcomed the move.
You can read the full text of the Fatwa here. It denounces the ‘Islamic State’ as ‘a heretical, extremist organisation’, and insists that ‘it is an obligation on British Muslims to actively oppose its poisonous ideology’.
The Fatwa was drafted by Dr Usama Husan of Quilliam. That fact alone, irrespective of content, ensured a hostile response from the usual suspects. Dilly Hussein sneers:
Britons leaving to join ISIS ignored veteran jihadi scholars Sheikh Abu Qatada & Sheikh Maqdisi. Think they’ll listen to @drusamahasan? Lol!
One Abd ur-Raheem complains:
#Britishfatwa is sorely lacking in justification. Several arguments contradict well known principles of the sharia amounting to disbelief.
Baroness Warsi, by contrast, has expressed her approval.
Baroness Warsi, former Foreign Office minister: “These are substantial figures and I welcome this announcement. The Islamic State is neither a state nor Islamic. I echo the words of these religious leaders.”
Other Muslims have responded equally whole-heartedly. And it’s good to see another leading Imam request to have his name added to the list of signatories.
Plenty of non-Muslims are happy too, although John Sargeant expressed reservations about invoking the concept of heresy.
Oddly Robert Spencer, whose radar for all things Muzlamic is usually so unerring, seems to have missed this news completely. And there was a string of grumpy comments at the Sunday Times.
So this fatwa is seemingly limited to Syria and Iraq.
It says nothing abort violence committed in the name of Islam elsewhere across the Middle East, Africa, the Indian sub continent and in Indonesia and the Philippines..
So it looks more like a tactical statement for UK domestic consumption than a sincere disavowal of violence and intolerance.
So these these imams are reduced to uttering generalities about ‘Islamic tradition’, but they know that they would not stand a chance in a debate with someone like Anjem Choudhary.
This reaction from some-far from majority -if UK Imans comes very late indeed and only when the government is considering harder measures to tackle the extremist Jihadists. The latter have been allowed to flourish within the Muslim communities without any real response from the silent majority of Muslims or their Imans. faced with a crackdown within the Muslim community you cannot really take this fatwa as serious attempt to fight extremism within the UK Muslim society. The question that must be asked is why have they been so silent for such a long time?
I’ll leave the last word to Maajid Nawaz
Ppl said ‘No condemnation by Muslims,you’re a lone voice’.Now we put together #BritishFatwa against ISIS,same ppl say ‘what’s the point?’