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Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta: ISIS extremists not ‘Islamic State’

The campaign is aimed at fighting the extremist ideology of Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria

Shounaz Meky

Published: Updated:

A day after Egypt’s top religious authority launched a campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the country’s Grand Mufti told Al Arabiya News Tuesday that ISIS extremists are “far from the correct understanding of Islam.”

In an interview with Al Arabiya’s Cairo Bureau Chief Randa Abul Azm, Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam said the extremists have an “incorrect” understanding of Jihad.

Allam, who is also the head of Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta, spoke about a recently launched online campaign by Egypt’s leading Islamic authority that urges media outlets to refrain from labeling extremists in association with Islam.

The campaign by Dar al-Ifta calls Western media outlets to stop referring to ISIS extremists as “Islamic State” militants, but as “Al-Qaeda Separatists.”

An adviser to Allam told Al Arabiya News the campaign was aimed at fighting the extremist ideology of Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria and to “reflect that Muslims are against their practices.”

“The initiative by Dar al-Ifta came to express the institution’s rejection of many stereotypes that attach the name of Islam to bloody and violent acts committed by such groups,” Ibrahim Negm told Al Arabiya News on Monday.

“We are afraid that such incorrect stereotypes will be rooted in the minds of Muslim and non-Muslim viewers alike.”

The electronic campaign suggests that foreign media outlets drop using the terms "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" in favor of "Al-Qaeda Separatists in Iraq and Syria," or the acronym "QSIS" instead of “ISIS,” Negm said.

The move comes at a time when ISIS militants have gained wide attention over their mass shootings, violent attacks and extremist ideology in the region that have shocked people around the world.

Negm called on social media users to follow a new Facebook page created by Dar al-Ifta under the name: “Call it Qaida Separatists not Islamic State ,” to further promote the initiative.