French Muslim leaders denounce ISIS brutality

French Imams also condemn ISIS’s efforts to recruit young Europeans for jihad in Syria and Iraq

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France’s leading Muslim leaders have joined together to condemn the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) horrific acts of mass killing, torture and displacement of people.

The leaders, in a “Paris Appeal” issued Tuesday, at the Grand Mosque in the French capital, said: “Barbarians are perpetrating the worst crimes against humanity and now threaten people, [as well as] stability and peace among the people of the entire region.”

“The signatories unequivocally denounce the terrorist acts that constitute crimes against humanity, and solemnly declare that Islam does not advocate such groups, their supporters and their recruits. These actions from another age, calling for Jihad and reckless campaigns indoctrinating the youth are not true to the teachings or of Islam,” the statement added.

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They also commit to opposing recruit Islamic militants’ efforts to recruit young Europeans.

“We warn young French Muslims from going to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside ISIS,” Ammar al-Asfar, imam of Al-Iman Mosque in the northern French city of Lille, told Al Arabiya News.

“Those who left France for Iraq and Syria are not jihadists,” he said, defining jihad as the act of making the effort to achieve.

“They are victims that have been brainwashed,” he added explaining that most of the time these militants were youth who had failed to integrate into French society.

“I call on French Muslims to focus on integrating into the society, obtaining their degrees and living well in France instead,” Asfar said.

French youth make up the largest number of European militants heading to fight in Syria and Iraq, according to the Associated Press.

“What ISIS is doing is against the values of Islam,” Asfar said, explaining that killing people, forcing people to convert to Islam and oppressing women was never part of the Islamic religion.

“An Islamic State cannot be formed within a few days,” he added, clarifying that ISIS would eventually most likely disappear.
The imam also added that ISIS was only one of many Islamist groups that reflect a disorder in the Islamic Ummah.

“The Islamic State is not the first group of its kind. There was al-Qaeda, Taliban and then now it is them,” he said.

“It is the proof that there is a disorder in the Islamic Ummah,” he added.

Meanwhile, other imams across France have also showed a similar rejection to the militant group fighting in Iraq and Syria.

Dalil Boubakeur, rector of Paris Central Mosque and president French Council for the Muslim Faith (CFCM), rejected the atrocities committed by ISIS and showed support to “Christians of the Middle East.”

“French Muslims condemn such acts of barbarism … and ask all nations to unite to eradicate these abuses that seriously [distort] Islam,” Boubakeur said.

"We are all, no matter what our religion, Christians of the Middle East," Boubakeur was quoted as saying by French radio station RFI. "It is essential to support Christians against barbarity."

Christians in Iraq are fleeing by the thousands as they face a choice between converting and death.

During next week’s Friday prayer, French imams belonging to the CFCM are due to read the part of the Quran which prohibits the killing of a human being and will explain clearly how the holy book should be interpreted in modern societies.

Militants from ISIS have been widely condemned by Muslims all over the world.

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