MOSCOW – A leading Russian Muslim group has issued a fatwa against the so-called Islamic State (ISIL) and called it “enemy of Islam”, amid increasing threats to the faith that is mistakenly associated with the militant group.
“The followers of ISIS are mistakenly interpreting Islam as the religion of brutality and cruelty, of violence, torture and killings of all discontent,” the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of Russia said in a fatwa published on its website, RT reported on Tuesday, March 31.
The fatwa comes in response to the soaring anti-Muslim sentiment across the world following atrocities and terror attacks committed by the extremist ISIL in the name of Islam.
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Issued on Tuesday, the religious decree dubbed ISIL followers “enemies of Islam” and called for punishing them like criminal.
“The members of the Ulama [Islamic scholars] council, on the basis of the Qur’an and Sunna and other legal sources, have shown and proved that all actions of the organization that calls itself “Islamic State” are contradicting Islam – starting from the creation of the group and calls for resettlement and finishing with their cruelty and public executions,” the document reads.
“From the point of view of the Muslim canon the members of such criminal groups deserve either capital punishment or full lifelong isolation from the society.”
Islam is Russia’s second-largest religion representing roughly 15 percent of its 145 million predominantly Orthodox population.
The Russian Federation is home to some 23 million Muslims in the north of the Caucasus and southern republics of Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan.
The Russian Muslim group has also denounced the establishment of a new “caliphate” by ISIL last June, considering it a “fake” one that aims to dupe Muslim youth.
The declaration was made in an audio recording distributed online in which ISIL declared its chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi “the caliph” and “leader for Muslims everywhere”.
“A single-sided declaration of caliphate would cause numerous competing caliphates to appear and this would cause strife and disagreement between Muslims,” the group said.
Militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have been widely condemned by Muslims worldwide who staged several protests to express anger against the terrorist group.
Echoing Al-Azhar Grand Imam condemnation of the group, Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al Sheikh has urged Muslims to take up arms against the militant group’s members, condemning them as aggressors who abuse people’s lives, possessions and honor.
Months ago, Egypt’s Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam also condemned the militants for atrocities they have been perpetrating in the countries and their violation of principles and teachings preached by Islam.
The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) has dismissed ISIL announcement of forming a “caliphate” in areas they control in Iraq and Syria, saying it lacked any Islamic or realistic aspects.
Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Indonesia’s largest Islamic group has condemned ISIL, urging the government to take firmer action against the possible spread of the movement in Indonesia.
The Islamic Student Union (HMI) has also condemned Indonesian Muslims condoning and adhering to ISIL’s ideology.