Lebanese Salafists don’t support ISIS

Article Summary
Lebanese Salafists see what is happening in Iraq as a Sunni revolution against Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s unjust and exclusionary policies.

Salafist clerics do not disagree that the bloody events in Iraq are because of political and sectarian practices adopted by the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and because an Iraqi constituency feels unjustly treated and excluded. They fundamentally disagree, however, about the role played by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

Some clerics reject the actions of ISIS, which they say has nothing to do with Islam. Others believe that the focus on ISIS aims to distort the “revolution.” Still others think that ISIS is one of the components rebelling against Maliki’s rule and that what is happening is a “blessed Sunni uprising to restore rights and dignity.”

Salafist clerics agree on denouncing terrorism and extremism by anyone. Some denounce the terrorism committed by ISIS and the massacres it is perpetrating, while others feel that “terrorism emanating from the Maliki government and its agents is today facing a revolution that is not limited to only the Sunnis, but also [includes] the Shiites.”

The Salafists don’t fear that the winds of Iraq will move to Lebanon, which has a composition that prevents “revolutions” of this kind. Some of them, however, believe that what’s occurring is the renewal of the “Arab Spring” and that the fire of the “revolution” will reach whoever stands with injustice in the Arab region and that Lebanon may become a proxy setting.

Malek Jadida

In the opinion of the president of the Muslim Scholars Association in Lebanon, Sheikh Malek Jadida, “There has been injustice faced by a category of Iraqis, and this is not permissible, because the state must be for all Iraqi people. Everybody must be treated fairly. This is a just demand. … The solution doesn’t lie in what ISIS is doing. Its practices have nothing to do with Islam. ... We cannot agree on the existence of such groups, which don’t represent the correct Islamic approach. [Such groups] are alien to our Arab and Islamic atmosphere and don’t [represent us in any way]. We also don’t know who established these groups or who supports them in order to sabotage and discredit Islam and harm the state of Iraq.”

Jadida stressed that “there are wise voices in the Shiite community that stress the need for justice for all Iraqis because there’s no doubt that excesses somewhere lead to excesses elsewhere. Fatwas that promote sectarianism should not be issued, whether in Iraq or in any Arab country. ... We as Muslim scholars must work to spare Lebanon this strife. There is nothing good in strife, and we should not be fodder for the colonialist who wants to colonize us anew. We don’t want Iraq’s people to be [killed]. Iraq’s children have deep roots in that country, and none of them can be eliminated. ... The solution is for the people of Iraq to sit and hold a dialogue to establish a state that is for all.”

Salem al-Rafii

The former president of the Muslim Scholars Association, Salem al-Rafii, said, “What happened in Iraq was expected after the sectarian [incitement] and unjust practices of the government of Iran’s clients against the Sunnis there. So Iraq is witnessing a revolution of the Sunnis, and of course there is a role for the ISIS organization. But it is not the major force in what is happening compared with the role of the tribes, the rebels and the other participants. The media, however, is focusing on this organization to eliminate everybody’s role and to portray Iraq’s Sunnis as extremists and terrorists. And this is part of the great conspiracy against the Sunnis in the Arab region as a whole.”

Dai al-Islam al-Shahhal

The founder of the Salafist movement in Lebanon, Sheikh Dai al-Islam al-Shahhal, said, “Iran’s policy through the sectarians, Maliki and his ilk, in Iraq has led things to deteriorate in this way. ... What happened is an extension of the Arab Spring in the face of injustice, tyranny, and hateful sectarianism that Iran leads in the region, supported by international forces. It is a revolution of the people and a blessed Sunni uprising aimed at recovering rights and dignity. ... Focusing on the name ISIS intends to tarnish the image of the revolution, dwarf it, and portray it as a revolution of extremists in order for there to be a Sunni extremist in the face of a Shiite extremist. And this is a major plot against the Sunnis to justify committing massacres against them in Iraq, regionally and internationally, and to intimidate those who may support them. ... We are against terrorism and extremism from anyone, and [we are] against the terrorism and extremism of the Maliki government.”

Bilal Barudi

Tripoli sheikh Bilal Barudi said, “We never supported any terrorist or extremist act. We will not allow ourselves to be with terrorists or criminals. But at the same time, we cannot be with the oppressor,” pointing out that “what is happening in Iraq is a revolution by oppressed people against the oppressor, just as happened in Syria. And the government of Maliki is working to distort this revolution by making accusations of terrorism and extremism and by focusing on ISIS. ... As we know, ISIS has about 1,600 fighters. If with that small number ISIS was able to occupy Mosul and large parts of Iraq in the face of tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers, then everybody should just surrender ISIS the reins of power because they are the strongest. But what is going on is that thousands of army officers and tribal elements rose up against the policy of exclusion and injustice pursued by Maliki. And I think that what is happening is bringing things back to the proper track in the Arab Spring. The beginning of the injustice was in Iraq. Therefore, the beginning of the relief starts today in Iraq, and anyone who stands with the oppressor in the surrounding countries will pay the price sooner or later.”

Safwan al-Zoabi

Sheikh Safwan al-Zoabi, the head of the Association of Muslim Brothers, said, “What is happening in Iraq was caused by Maliki’s sectarian practices and him concentrating everything in himself. [What is happening in Iraq] is aimed at opposing him and his policies not only by the Sunnis, but by the Shiites more than by the Sunnis. The recent events began with the participation of four forces: the clans, the Baathist and the Iraqi nationalist forces, which resisted the US occupation, the military council in Anbar, and ISIS, which is the strongest and the most feared in Iraq.”

He added, “The Western media is exaggerating ISIS’s strength, which indicates that there is a conspiracy against the Sunni forces, and unfortunately the Sunnis are always the tools of the plot, whether or not they realize it. And the result will lead to inevitable Iranian interference in Iraq if Maliki’s forces fail to control the situation. And that will happen with a US cover under the name of fighting terrorism.”

Nabil Rahim

Sheikh Nabil Rahim said, “I’m not afraid that the Iraqi scene will move to Lebanon, because the latter’s sectarian and political composition preclude it. I think that what’s happening in Iraq is a result of the injustice perpetrated by Maliki against a large Iraqi constituency. He monopolized power and dominated political life, and that led to this explosion. We fear that if things continue as is, then Iraq might end up being divided.”

Malek al-Shaar: ISIS has no foothold in Tripoli

The mufti of Tripoli and the north sheikh, Malek al-Shaar, was surprised by the focus on Tripoli as if it were the source for al-Qaeda, ISIS, or others, “and the portrayal of the city as if it graduates armies, in light of what happened lately,” stressing that “ISIS has [no foothold] in Tripoli, which hosts no one from al-Qaeda or ISIS.”

In front of a number of sheikhs and journalists yesterday [June 22], he stressed, “Tripoli has never embraced a terrorist trend that is linked to al-Qaeda or ISIS. [Tripoli] has always and still is adhering to the state, the army, the internal security forces, and other state institutions, as any Lebanese area.”

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Bu bölümlerde bulundu: syria, shiite-sunni conflict, salafists, nouri al-maliki, lebanon, islamic state of iraq and al-sham, iraq, iran, arab spring

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