The Shia-Sunni Alliance of New Jersey issued a joint statement on Tuesday openly condemning the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known as “Da’esh”. Signed by 28 New Jersey-based Muslims organisations, the statement denounced the politics and practice of the terrorist group, which it accused of taking “inspiration from a violent takfiri ideology.”
“Da’esh and their brutal campaign has little to do with Islam as a religion or being Muslim, but is actually political at its core. The terrorist group is using their warped interpretation of Islam to justify their criminal acts and is preying on the ignorance of a few Muslims regarding Islam when it recruits members to its cause,” the statement reads in part.
Currently estimated to comprise of nearly 31,500 armed fighters, ISIS was originally a breakaway group from Al-Qaeda in Iraq, but has now been denounced by the Al-Qaeda leadership for its brutal tactics of beheadings and sectarian massacres. Headed by Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the self-declared “caliph” whose wife and young son were recently arrested by Lebanese military intelligence, ISIS made huge strategic gains during the Syrian conflict and earlier this year took over large swathes of land in Iraq’s Anbar province. The group now controls anywhere between 12,000 and 35,000 square miles of territory in Iraq and Syria, including the cities of Mosul, Tikrit and Falluja in Iraq, and Raqqa in Syria.
The statement goes on to say: “The overwhelming majority of Muslims find it morally reprehensible and un-Islamic to torture and murder people, destroy any house of worship, and terrorise entire nations… The messaging promulgated by violent extremist groups such as Da’esh perpetuate misinformation about our faith.”
“We find it obligatory in this instance to clarify and apprise folks of the clear message of Islam, which espouses tolerance, religious freedom, and peace, above all.”
The signatories also called on the US government to respect “the principles of sovereignty and self-determination,” and encouraged American Muslim community leaders “to continue to speak out against Da’esh”, so as to curtail any possibilities of sympathy with extremism.
The Shia-Sunni Alliance of New Jersey is a new Muslim network devoted to building bridges between the Shia and Sunni communities of New Jersey and to inspire greater cohesion and collaboration on common causes and joint initiatives.