Mourning Alan Henning

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We write to add our voices to the outrage at Alan Henning’s brutal murder. Our sympathy and prayers are with his family and friends, many of them Muslim. It is brutally ironic, as others have said, that Alan was murdered as a direct result of his love and compassion for his Muslim neighbours far away in Syria. The film footage of him at work shows him working side by side with his Muslim friends and colleagues in Manchester. None of this means anything to ISIS who wreak their violence and hate indiscriminately, showing no concern for Muslims or the various ancient minorities in Iraq, including those involved in humanitarian activities.

There should be no doubt by now that that the so-called ‘Islamic State’ is anything but and also that associating ISIS with anything that is rightly called Islamic has no place in the media or our reactions to this militant group. We also highlight that many Muslim organisations have, of course, condemned ISIS’ activities, including Alan Henning’s murder and that British Muslims have prayed for him and his family.

We highlight our previous statement in response to suggestions that religion calls for violence, it does not, it seeks peace and cessation of violence

We also highlight previous comments on ISIS on our website:

Statement on ISIS

'We specifically condemn the following actions – killing of innocent Iraqis, whatever their religion or religious tradition; destruction of Christian and Muslim holy sites; expulsion of the local population and all ultimatums to non-Muslims which offer a choice of conversion or death.'

How Un-Islamic is the ISIS? by Dr Iqtidar Cheema

Why ISIS cannot found a genuine Caliphate

'There were different methods to bring forward a Caliph in the early period of Islam, but one of the hallmarks was that the person proposed was put to the general Muslim community for their affirmation.  The aberration of ISIS must therefore be evident: they are a group even further on the extreme fringes of Islam than the al-Qaida Tendency, without the support of the wider Sunni community and with a self-styled “caliph” as their putative head.  By all reports from Iraq, both Iraqi Sunni and Shi’a Muslims are suffering under their tyranny.  The break-up of the multi-faith nature of Iraq and Syria, with the expulsion of Jews and Christians in recent decades, is a tragedy with lasting and far-reaching consequences.  The withdrawal of European colonial rule in Muslim-majority lands in the twentieth century has seen the creation of dozens of nation states, none of which recognise the self-proclaimed ISIS “caliphate.”  The thought of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as a ‘world-wide caliph’ for Muslims is fanciful in the extreme.  Ill-informed observers must be clear in their understanding that ISIS represent an extreme tendency on the fringes of Islam that see themselves as the only genuine Muslims and everyone else, whether they proclaim themselves to be Muslims or not, as being more or less ‘unbelievers’ in need of correction and stern discipline.  Any suggestion that ISIS are working from a 1400-year-old Islamic ‘playbook’ must be seen as utterly without substantiation.'

Julian Bond
Director, Christian Muslim Forum
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