01 Jun e 2017
THE Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (IS)
also called Daesh is a terrorist group in Iraq and Syria with deep ingress into
other regions that include Middle East, North Africa, Europe, South and East
Asia. In recent times, Daesh has emerged as a potential threat to the Islamic
world since it targets Muslims. Daesh is basically a broken faction of
Al-Qaeda. It aims to establish its Khilafat/Caliphate all across the world.
Daesh is more than just a terrorist organization with its own territory,
economy, complete system, thousands of people under its cover, own system of
welfare and strong communication channels.
Daesh represents the phenomenon of
transnational terrorism with its terrorist attacks planned in one country and
executed in another country. As an organization, Daesh is systematic and modern
in logistics and operational tactics. It has been recruiting and radicalizing
Muslim youth from all over the world by using social media as a tool. The group
has used internet especially ‘Twitter’ to brainwash the minds of teenagers and
adults with its terrorist ideology.
Till mid-2016, Daesh had published Dabiq
and other online magazines for propaganda and recruitment but since September
2016 these magazines are replaced by regularly released Rumiyah, an online
magazine which is published in several languages including English, French,
German, Russian, Indonesian and Uyghur. Rumiyah has been successful in gaining
popularity in the Muslim youth especially from the West which is unhappy and
discontent with the US led West’s anti-Islamic policies. Through Rumiyah, Daesh
justifies its operations, killing of fellow Muslims and acquires support and
funding. In fact, the ideology and strategy of Daesh is completely unIslamic
and inhuman in nature and practice.
Islam is a religion of peace, love,
moderation and justice. Islam teaches coexistence and tolerance among various
ethnic, social and sectarian entities. Glancing at the history, one finds that
despite presence of Islamic civilizations in different regions such as Africa,
Middle East, Central Asia, etc the Islamic societies that emerged in
cosmopolitan cities such as Cairo, Baghdad, Istanbul, Damascus, Jerusalem, etc
have produced perfect examples of endogenous and inclusive cultures embedded in
diverse and complex environments under different political establishments.
Contrarily, Daesh practices its own brand
of Islam and politico-economic system. By exploiting the anti-Western
sentiments, fragile state structures, weak security apparatus, Shia-Sunni
divide and wide political vacuum in the failed and unstable states, Daesh has
taken control of vast areas in Iraq and Syria. Daesh propagates brutality and
violence as tools to spread its ideology. It rejects state system and promotes
anarchy and chaos. Daesh declares all Muslim rulers as infidel and acting on
behest of non-Muslims, so they deserve to be killed. The Daesh version of Islam
and its ideology has harmed the cause of Muslim Ummah and has presented cruel
image of Islam and its followers.
Subsequently, Daesh has become an
existential threat to Islam. Daesh poses serious threat at two interdependent
levels. Firstly, it has spoiled and distorted the true image of Islam and its
followers. The peaceful and moderate character of Islam has been branded as
protecting and promoting terrorism, violence, intolerance and oppression.
Secondly, the Salafi Jihadist teachings are being propagated to justify the
jihadi narrative and terrorism against the fellow Muslims on the sectarian
grounds. The periodic attacks on Holy places, mosques, shrines and massive
killing of non-Muslims, Shias and other religious groups on baseless excuses
and justifications have never existed in Muslim societies in the Islamic
history. Therefore, the real danger posed to Islam and the Muslim world by the
false and unIslamic propaganda of Daesh need to be addressed immediately.
Unfortunately, the international coalition
against Daesh and use of military means to fight Daesh have proved ineffective
in weakening the group. The Muslims along with the international community must
tackle this anti-Islamic terrorist group through collective action and joint
efforts by addressing the root causes of extremism and radicalization. The
religious scholars, academics, intellectuals and statesmen must shun the Daesh
narrative and preach the real Islam. The international community must
collaborate with the Muslim world to devise a comprehensive and political
strategy to address the global threat of Daesh.
is Assistant Research Officer at Islamabad Policy Research Institute, a
think-tank based in Islamabad.