Time to face the ISIS inside of us

ISIS

By PD Dr. Elham Manea

“We are ISIS”.

A startling statement? Yet this was the title of an article written by former Kuwaiti Minister of Information, Saad bin Tafla al Ajami, published by the Qatari newspaper al Sharq in 7 August 2014. He was not celebrating the Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), nor the atrocities it is committing against civilians and minorities in Iraq and Syria.

He was reminding us that ISIS, while condemned by the majority of Muslims, is a product of an Islamic religious discourse that dominated our public sphere in the last decades – a mainstream discourse!

ISIS “did not come from another planet’, He said. ‘It is not a product of the infidel West or a bygone orient”, he insisted.

No, “the truth that we can not deny is: ISIS learned from our schools, prayed in our mosques, listened to our media… and our religious platforms, read from our books and references, and followed Fatwas (religious edicts) we produced”.

He is right.

It would be easy to insist that ISIS does not represent the correct teachings of Islam. It would be very easy to do that. And yes, I do believe that Islam is what we, humans, make of it. Any religion could be a message of love or a sword for hatred by the people believing in it.

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