Muslim leaders have issued a fatwa condemning British jihadis, it was revealed today. The fatwa quoting Quranic verses, which has been issued by some of the country’s top imams, is the strongest condemnation yet by the Muslim community of Britons joining Islamic extremists. The fatwa has been endorsed by senior Islamic scholars including Sheikh Qamaruzzaman Azmi of the World Islamic Mission, and Sheikh Muhammad Shahid Raza of The Muslim Law Shariah Council UK.
A fatwa, an edict issued by a learned Muslim scholar, may concern any aspect of Islamic life. Technically it cannot be revoked and dies only with the person it is directed against.
Following is the excerpts from the fatwa.
1. There is no doubt that President Assad’s regime in Syria is oppressive, unjust and brutal, and has committed numerous atrocities against its own people.
2. The same is true of the so-called “Islamic State” (IS) or self-styled “Caliphate,” formerly known as “The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria”: it is an oppressive and tyrannical group.
3. By murdering prisoners of war, journalists and civilians, including mosque imams who refused to endorse their campaign, and by enslaving the women and children of their opponents, ISIS has violated international agreements such as the Geneva Conventions and conventions on slavery that everyone, including Muslims, have signed up to. God says in the Qur’an, “Believers, fulfil your covenants!” (5:1)
4. The IS persecution and massacres of Shia Muslims, Christians and Yazidis is abhorrent and opposed to Islamic teachings and the Islamic tolerance displayed by great empires such as the Mughals and Ottomans.
5. Based on all of the above: IS is a heretical, extremist organisation and it is religiously prohibited (haram) to support or join it; furthermore, it is an obligation on British Muslims to actively oppose its poisonous ideology, especially when this is promoted within Britain.
6. British and other EU citizens are bound by their duties to their home countries according to Islamic theology and jurisprudence: it is therefore prohibited (haram) to travel to fight with any side in Syria, including non-state actors, since this is forbidden by laws in EU countries.
7. It is a moral obligation upon British Muslims to help the Syrian and Iraqi people without betraying their own societies: “If they ask for your help in religion, you must help, except against a people with whom you have a treaty.” (Qur’an 8:72)
Six senior scholars have endorsed the fatwa, describing Britons allied to IS cells as ‘heretics’. It has also been backed by former Labour home secretary Jack Straw and former Foreign Office minister Baroness Warsi.