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Beware of the exaggerators: From ISIS to Islamophobes

As the world stands in mourning, its people united in the rejection of radicalism, voices have begun to rise above the crowds, crying for vengeance and swift retaliation against those they perceived as the guilty parties. More often than not, the weight of guilt has been thrown on Islam, the designated target of well-thinking seculars.

But while indeed justice requires to be served, especially when innocent lives have been sacrificed to the pyre of fascism, let us be cautious as we assess blame, or else we could stand to play directly in those hands we abhor most of all – those of Daesh, this plague which claimed itself of Islam.

While many groups and many men over the centuries have come bearing vengeful swords, admonishing the public for their transgressions against Islamic laws, most did so not in Islam’s name or out of love for its tenets, but to destroy those Islamic principles of compassion, measure and reason which continue to live on and inspire communities.

Bloodletting is not a pillar of Islam. Extremism, radicalism and spiritual devolution are the very negation of Islam’s message and the Truth it stands for.

This black flag army, those militants which sow death everywhere they go, breathe and move outside the realm of Islam; they are not of its people and they are not of its faith – their actions and their beliefs absolutely position them beyond the tenets of Islam and the message the last prophet of God, the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) carried forth a millennium ago.

Islam cannot be found in the heresy which was born in the arid and unforgiving sands of Nejd (Saudi Arabia). Islam should never be associated with the deviation of a pseud-scholar, and let’s face it – Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, who brandished theo-fascism in the Hejaz several centuries ago so that his ambitions could be served.

One needs only to look back in the pages of history to recognize that this “new” terror we see shape up under ISIL’s flag is actually an old fear, one which was born at the end of the 18th century from the alliance of the House of Saud and Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, the reformer.

Takfirism remains the founding principle of Wahhabism, the faith embraced by ISIL so completely that the two cannot be distinct from one another.

This marriage, or one might say alliance of convenience in between Al Saud and Wahhabism gave birth at the turn of the 19th century to a bloodshed of such genocidal proportion that can be compared to the horrors we are witnessing today.

As he sought to establish an independent kingdom, Abd al-Aziz Ibn Muhammad, Ibn Saud’s son and successor, used takfir to justify the wholesale slaughter of resistant populations. In 1801, his army sacked the holy city of Karbala in what is now Iraq, plundered the tomb of Imam Husayn, and slaughtered thousands of Shias, including women and children; in 1803, in fear and panic, the holy city of Mecca surrendered to the Saudi leader.

Daesh’s terror is indeed an old one.

But here is where we need to learn from past mistakes to ensure that evil is not repeated.

Terror returned because terror was allowed to return – by the agents of political powers who imagined themselves entitled to rule over the masses.

Just as Wahhabism rose a giant on the back of the House of Saud’s imperialistic ambitions several centuries ago, to become this cancer which has spread so far and so wide into the Islamic world that too many believe its philosophy to be that Islamic, Daesh was raised from the sands of Iraq and Syria so that Western powers could play their grand game of mass destabilization.

Let us remember the injunctions of Imam Ali, the son in law of the Prophet Muhammad and first Imam of Islam when he stressed, “Two types of people will be destroyed because of me: the extremist and the enemy.” He also stated that “The best stance towards me belongs to those who choose a moderate way.”

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir professed that “there are two categories of my Ummah which do not benefit from Islam: the extremists and those who believe in predestination.”

Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq warned, “Beware of the exaggerators lest they deviate your children.” He stated that “The smallest thing that diverts a believer from his faith is sitting next to an extremist, listening to him, and confirming his words.”

Islam’s Imams foretold the heresy which we see today play out, and therefore their words should stand testimony of this war we wage against ignorance, bigotry and radicalism.

But if millions of Muslims across the world have recognized the danger lurking behind the black flag army, the same cannot be said of Western capitals.

This November, as Europe woke up to the reality of takfirism its people might want to ponder over the bounty their foreign policies brought to their door. And while the West will mourn its dead, let us remember the thousands and the millions whose lives were too cut short by the blade of terror. Where is the outrage as Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis, Yemenis and so many others die by the hands of takfirism? Where are the calls for vengeance, and the display of solidarity?

Have Western capitals fallen so completely under the spell of ethnocentrism that its people can no longer recognize the cruelty their grief underscores as they shun those cries the Middle East have let out for so many years?

France paid the ultimate price for the ultimate betrayal its officials committed by aligning themselves with those “moderate” militias in Syria which have committed heinous crimes against civilian populations. For they could not see beyond their desire to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, they brought home the evil they thought they could control and wield.

Ultimately, France was beaten by the very monster it helped create.

And if fault indeed needs to be asserted, I’m afraid fault lies with those powers which continue to stand by terror’s side so that their armies could rise new empires to serve their leaders.

In an interview with Democracy Now, US General Wesley Clark shun an interesting light on those dealings Western powers have entertained in their conquest of the Middle East.

Recalling a conversation he had with US officials at the Pentagon, Gen. Clark noted: “I said, “Are we still going to war with Iraq?” And he said, “Oh, it’s worse than that.” He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, “I just got this down from upstairs” — meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office — “today.” And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” I said, “Is it classified?” He said, “Yes, sir.” I said, “Well, don’t show it to me.” And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, “You remember that?” He said, “Sir, I didn’t show you that memo! I didn’t show it to you!””

Until we learn to face those political realities we are collectively running from, it is difficult to imagine how we could possibly offer but a weak defense against terror.

This fight against terror requires a grand alliance, a coalition of nations such as the one presented by Iran and Russia – one which is rooted in international law and the respect of national sovereignty.

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Egypt al-Azhar says ready to send ‘Moderate’ Preachers to France

Ahlul Bayt News Agency – The deputy of Egypt’s al-Azhar Sunni Islamic Center said the center is ready to send ‘moderate’ preachers and prayers leaders to France.

Abbas Shouman said they could help to combat extremists, al Hurra Arab news reported.

He also said the ideology of the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group should be analyzed in order to fight the group.

Shouman said combating Daesh requires intellectual and cultural efforts as well as security measures.

“Before the Paris attacks, al-Azhar had told French authorities that there need to be moderate preachers and prayer leaders in the country,” he went on to say.

A series of coordinated terrorist attacks in and around the French capital left at least 150 people dead and some 200 others injured on Friday night.

The ISIL Takfiri terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which have drawn worldwide condemnations.

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ISIS Information Minister killed in U.S. strike in west of Ramadi

Ahlul Bayt News Agency – The Information Minister in the radical group of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) was reportedly killed in an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition on the group’s headquarters in Iraq’s Ramadi, west of Anbar, officials reported on Tuesday.

“Salam Ismail Najm, who was serving as Minister of Information of Daesh (ISIS), was killed along with other armed escorts in an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition forces in the district of Heet, west of Ramadi,” Ibrahim al-Fahdawi, head of the security committee in the district of Khalidiya north-east of Ramadi, said in a press statement.

“The attack resulted in the death and injury of dozens of militants in the main bastion of the group, causing large substantial damage,” the Iraqi official added.

Earlier this month, Abu Anas al-Rawi, ISIS governor of al-Jazeera west of Anbar, was killed at the hands of a group of Arab clans known as “Liwaa al-Assad” in Anbar, said an informed local.

“A force from Liwaa al-Assad carried out an operation in on an ISIS command center in the desert which connects the Anbar to Salahuddin,” the source added.

The operation led to the death of Abu Anas al-Rawi, in addition to a number of Iraqi militants of ISIS, beside the destruction of their armored vehicles, according to the source.

Backed by the U.S.-led coalition, Iraqi army forces has been striving to regain Anbar province in western Iraq from ISIS militants.

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Senior Israeli spy arrested in Gaza

Ahlul Bayt News Agency –  Palestinian Security Forces in Gaza arrested “one of the most dangerous collaborators with Israel,” a person that security sources said has been working with an Israeli security agency since 2004 before being arrested in mid 2015.

The sources pointed out that the man has been working with five Israeli officers linked to Israel’s Shin Bet Security Agency.

The unidentified man was one of the most “active” members providing information about Palestinian resistance to Israel during its 2008, 2012, and 2014 wars on Gaza.

He also took part in several operations that led to the assassination of nearly ten high-ranking resistance officials during Israeli military attacks on the coastal enclave, and aided Israel in locating the resistance arms caches and tunnels.

The man was also responsible for locating dozens of homes, mosques, and police stations targeted during Israel’s devastating military offensive last summer, and gave information to Israel about the general opinion of Palestinian people towards Gaza siege, Shalit Swap Deal, and Israel’s three aggressions on the Strip.

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Syrian army establishes control a village in Homs, destroys hideouts, kills terrorists

Ahlul Bayt News Agency – Syrian units of the army and armed forces backed by popular defense groups established control over new areas, killed more terrorists and destroyed their hideouts and vehicles while Takfiri organizations acknowledged scores of their terrorists.

Homs

Al-Hadath village under the army control

The army units in cooperation with the popular defense groups established full control over al-Hadath village, located 82 km southeast of Homs city in the central Homs province, a military source announced on Tuesday.

The source said that the army units eliminated a number of gatherings of ISIS terrorists and destroyed many of their vehicles in al-Hadath and later combed the village, where they dismantled tens of explosive devices planted near the locals’ houses and in farms.

The army has continued advancing towards Hawarin and Mhein villages and al-Qaryatain city, the source said.

Hama/ Idleb

50 terrorists killed in Idleb and Hama provinces

Idleb/ Hama, – Units of the army and armed forces killed some 50 terrorists and destroyed their dens, hideouts and vehicles during precise operations in the countryside of the two provinces of Hama and Idleb.

Field sources saod on Tuesday that units of the army and armed forces destroyed a position for the so called “Jund al-Aqsa” terrorist organization in the town of Tamana’a some 70 Kms to the northwestern side of Idleb, killing 35 terrorists including assistant leader of “Jund al-Aqsa” terrorist Imad Eddin al-din Bakri in addition to destroying more than four vehicles.

Meanwhile, other army units destroyed, in the town of Morek at the northern countryside of Hama, two vehicles and a van killing all terrorists on board including a terrorist in charge of suicide bombers for the “Jund al-Aqsa” terrorist organization.

Aleppo

Takfiri Organizations acknowledge killing 15 of their terrorists

Aleppo, Takfiri Terrorist Organizations acknowledged the killing of 15 terrorists including the so called “military leader of Nour Eddin Al-Zenki Movement” named Hasan Ka’aka and the military leader of ” Hurriya Islamic brigade” called Ahmad Meheddin Amro in the countryside of Aleppo province.

Terrorist organizations mentioned on their social WebPages Tuesday that another 13 terrorists from the so called ” Hurriya Islamic Brigade” were also killed.

Terrorist organizations acknowledged since the beginning of November the killing of tens of their ranks including 11 so called leaders from “Jabhat al-Nusra”, “al-Jabha al-Shamia”, ” Nour Eddin Al-Zenki Movement”, “Ahrar Al-Sham”, “al-Hijra to God brigade” and ” Commander of Muhajereen battalion”.

Sweida

An army unit carried out special operation on the terrorist organizations’ gatherings and hideouts in the southwestern countryside of Sweida province.

The operation led to destroying arms ammunition, gatherings and positions for the terrorist organizations and killing a number of terrorists in Kherbet Samar village, adjacent to the administrative borders of Daraa province.

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Two civilians killed in new Saudi airstrike against Yemen

At least two civilians have been killed in a Saudi airstrike against Yemen’s southwestern province of Ta’izz.

On Wednesday, Saudi warplanes pounded a residential area in the al-Sarawi district of the province, situated 260 kilometers (166 miles) south of the capital, Sana’a, leaving two members of a family dead, Arabic-language al-Masirah satellite television network reported.

Meanwhile, a commander of Saudi-backed militants loyal to fugitive former Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, has succumbed to injuries he sustained during intense clashes with Yemeni army soldiers backed by fighters from allied Popular Committees in the al-Omari district of Ta’izz Province on Tuesday.

Hashim al-Seyed, who was shot in the head and critically wounded, died in a Saudi hospital on Wednesday. He had reportedly been transferred to the medical facility onboard an Emirati military aircraft.

There are reports that Seyed’s son and nephew were killed during the Tuesday gunfight in the Omari district.

Separately, two high-ranking members of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Salafist Islah Party lost their lives when they engaged in heavy fighting with Yemeni forces in the Beihan district of Yemen’s southern province of Shabwah on Tuesday.

The slain militants were later identified as Sha’fal al-Faraji and Jalal al-Mansouri.

Yemen has been witnessing ceaseless military strikes by Saudi Arabia since March 26. The military aggression has supposedly been meant to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement and bring Hadi back to power.

The Saudi aggression has reportedly claimed the lives of more than 7,100 people and injured nearly 14,000 others. The strikes have also taken a heavy toll on the impoverished country’s facilities and infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools, and factories.

Human rights groups and international organizations have voiced deep concern over the rising number of civilian casualties in Yemen, calling for an end to the conflict.

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Americans receive false information on Islam

The majority of American people have a very limited and “primitive” knowledge about Islam and have mostly received false information about the religion, a political analyst in Virginia says.

“Most Americans know very, very little about Islam and the little they know is based on false information,” said Keith Preston, the chief editor and director of AttacktheSystem.com.

“Americans, to a large degree, when they think of Islam, they simply think of terrorism, they think of groups like the Daesh (ISIL), or they think al-Qaeda or someone like Osama bin Laden,” Preston said on Wednesday.

“Most Americans have very little knowledge of the tradition of Islam, the history behind Islam, the theology of Islam,” he added.

“The concept of the people of the book within Islam, the people of the other monotheistic religions are considered to be under the protection of Islamic law,” Preston noted. “That’s something that Americans have no awareness of either.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has voiced concerns over a spike in Islamophobia in the US, following the recent attacks in Paris.

The Muslim advocacy organization called Tuesday for additional safety measures in the Islamic places of worship in the wake of the attacks, which the Daesh Takfiri group has claimed responsibility for.

Since Friday’s Paris attacks, there have been a series of anti-Muslim incidents reported, including terror threats to Florida mosques, vandalism at a Nebraska mosque, shots fired at a Florida Muslim family’s home, hate graffiti targeting a Connecticut Muslim student, a tweet threatening Michigan Muslims, and innumerable hate messages sent online and by phone.

CAIR demanded that state and federal law enforcement authorities investigate the vandalism as a hate crime.

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President Rouhani Warns against Spread of Islamophobia

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that the recent terrorist attacks by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or Daesh) terrorist group would fan the fuel of hatred toward Islam and the Muslim community.

“Islam is the religion of mercy and peace, and these acts (of terrorism), particularly in Europe and America where a large number of Muslims live, should not be allowed to increase Islamophobia,” Rouhani said.

He made the remarks in a Tuesday night session here in Tehran, a few days after deadly terrorist attacks in the French capital of Paris killed more than 130.

The Iranian president further renewed the call for a more serious and concerted confrontation with terrorists throughout the world, saying that Iran, which itself is a victim of terrorism, will seriously counter terrorist activities.

“Unfortunately, children, women, and innocent civilians have been the main victims of such terrorist moves, and a global resolve and unity is needed to counter such crimes,” he added.

Rouhani further underlined that it should be investigated how these terrorist groups supply their financial resources, equipment, and arms.

Earlier on Tuesday, Rouhani in a phone conversation with his French counterpart Francois Hollande referred to the spread of Islamophobia throughout the world as one of the goals pursued by Daesh, and said that Islam is a religion of peace and is against any act of terrorism.

He also reaffirmed Tehran’s preparedness to join hands with the international community, particularly France, in the global fight against terrorism.

“Terrorists will never manage to achieve their goals when faced with the wills of all nations and governments,” the Iranian president said, reiterating that all countries should join hands and develop joint plans to eradicate terrorism.

Rouhani added that Tehran is ready to have security and intelligence cooperation with Paris in its fight against terrorism, stressing that as a nation familiar with the disastrous consequences of terrorism, the Islamic Republic is prepared to “take any action against terrorists in any part of the world.”

The coordinated attacks in and around the French capital left at least 132 people dead and some 200 others injured.

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Mosques in Canada, Florida fear Islamophobia after Paris attack

Amid growing concerns that Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris could spark a wave of Islamophobic retaliation, a Muslim congregation in Canada said a fire that burnt down its mosque over the weekend appears to be a hate crime, and two Florida mosques reportedly received phone threats over the weekend.

The fire at the Kawartha Muslim Religious Association’s mosque in Peterborough, Ontario, broke out Saturday evening and caused up $80,000 in damage; no one was inside at the time.

Officials confirmed on Sunday that the fire was deliberately set. The mosque is the only one in Peterborough, a city of 135,000, and association President Kenzu Abdella said the Muslim community has traditionally had a good relationship with the rest of the city. But after learning the fire was intentional, he said he was certain the arson was a hate crime.

In Florida, too, officials were investigating phone threats made against mosques on Sunday, the Tampa Bay Times reported. FBI spokesman David Couvertier confirmed the bureau is looking into voice mails that threatened to firebomb and shoot members of a Muslim congregation in St. Petersburg, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said in a news release that a second Florida mosque had received similar threats, although it did not identify the mosque or location. The threats prompted the St. Petersburg mosque to cancel its Sunday school.

“This act in France is the last straw,” a caller reportedly said in a voicemail to the Islamic Society of Pinellas County.

Some communities have stepped up to show support for Muslim congregations and decry Islamophobic reactions to the Paris attacks. In Peterborough, a resident started a crowd funding campaign to help the congregation cover the damage. By Monday morning, it had garnered $58,000 — nearly 75 percent of the estimated damages. Maryam Monsef, Canada’s minister of democratic institutions in the new Liberal government said, the city has a proud history as a welcoming and friendly place to live, but she is waiting for the police and fire officials’ investigations to uncover more about the nature of the crime.

“I am deeply concerned about the fire that took place at the Kawartha Muslim Religious Association’s mosque,” she said. “Together we will continue to demonstrate that these sorts of incidents are in no way reflective of our community as a whole.”

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ISIS a blot on Islam: Indian Muslim leader

Indian Muslim parliamentarian and President of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday said that terror group ISIS is a blot on Islam and everybody needs to condemn its activities.

The Lok Sabha member from Hyderabad said ISIS should not be linked with religion and the world should unite to fight it. Owaisi said Islamic scholars belonging to all schools of thought have given a fatwa against the ISIS.

“We all need to condemn ISIS activities and world should understand that it has nothing to do with Islam,” Owaisi said when reporters sought his reaction to a controversial statement by Uttar Pradesh Minister Azam Khan on Paris terror attacks.

“Azam Khan may be an expert on terrorism but I am not. I only believe that ISIS are a blot on Islam. All scholars have condemned them and I also condemn,” Owaisi said.

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