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John Kerry slams ISIS branding them ‘apostates’

John Kerry said ISIS were 'nothing more than a mixture of killers, of kidnappers, of criminals, of thugs, of adventurers, of smugglers and thieves'

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With an unusual choice of language, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry waded into Islamic theological debate on Tuesday when he branded the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group “apostates.”

The United States affords its citizens religious freedom and does not consider apostasy a crime, but Kerry chose the term to rubbish the militants' claims of piety.

“Daesh is in fact nothing more than a mixture of killers, of kidnappers, of criminals, of thugs, of adventurers, of smugglers and thieves,” he declared using the Arabic acronym for the ISIS group.

“And they are also above all apostates, people who have hijacked a great religion and lie about its real meaning and lie about its purpose and deceive people in order to fight for their purposes.”

Some Muslim legal scholars consider the proper punishment for turning one’s back on the faith to be death and several majority Islamic countries execute convicted apostates.

ISIS claims to have founded a “caliphate” based on its interpretation of Islamic sharia law and itself often brands its Muslim enemies apostates.

Kerry was in Rome on Tuesday for a meeting of the 23 nations at the core of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the ISIS group in Iraq and Syria and supporting local forces.

The end of a news conference by Kerry and Italy’s foreign minister Paolo Gentiloni was briefly disrupted by protesters alleging U.S. policy had caused the militants’ rise.