* Image source: Reuters
Daesh, the Arabic name for the group known as ISIL, not only refers to this takfirist movement but signifies an ideology of distorted ideas and actions. The actions of ISIL have religious, political, societal and economic consequences that extend far beyond the atrocities that it commits.
The repugnant manner in which ISIL applies Sharia not only shatters the sanctity Muslim populations feel for sacred law, but distorts the true understanding of the law itself. Hardline secularists take advantage to malign Sharia, while more sections of society begin to agree with their assertions.
ISIL’s actions also amplify divisions across sectarian, ethnic and ideological lines. We are threatened with devastation should the cries for division and revenge continue to be heard.
Just as unbridled capitalism undermines the middle class in favour of the extremes of abject poverty and obscene wealth, ISIL corrodes the intellectual middle class to the benefit of both religious and secular fundamentalism.
The extremists have also had a profound effect on black market economics. They squander Arab natural resources and leak oil to the black market at very low prices. Furthermore, its actions drive the black market for stolen goods.
It has also promoted the illegal arms trade in the region. All of this has a negative impact on local economies.
ISIL has managed to shift large numbers of western public intellectuals, commentators, analysts and opinion makers towards the melting pot of anti-Islamic discourse. Beforehand, there was a receptivity towards Muslim issues of justice, persecution and the legitimate grievances that exist in the region.
Similarly, in the face of demonisation and fearmongering, Muslims citizens in the West have had to move from a position of claiming their rights as citizens to a position of defending their right to exist alongside their fellow citizens. Islamophobia is on the increase.
ISIL has also harmed the public image of Islam in the world. The natural spread of Islam has been negatively affected. Many Muslims have left their religion altogether while a greater number have left religious practice.
It has irretrievably damaged the Palestinian cause and guaranteed protection for Israel’s oppressive policies against the Palestinian people. ISIL has ensured that the Israeli state emerges from these events as the chief beneficiary.
Although these are all outcomes of ISIL’s actions, the prospect for more is possible as long as it and other takfirist movements remain.
The case will become graver yet after ISIL ceases to exist. The fallout from the group’s inevitable demise will see thousands of former members and hundreds of thousands of sympathisers in despair from their delusion that ISIL had reestablished the caliphate system. The deaths, injuries and destruction that will ensue as a result of fighting ISIL will add even more consequences to our list. We must reflect upon this.
Knowing this, is there still room for anyone to remain silent over addressing the danger of takfirist ideology? If we maintain silence today is it akin to complicity in the crimes of takfiri movements? Do religious leaders have any doubt that the offence of remaining silent renders them as being among those who conceal knowledge and testimony, and those who are on a path to losing the reality of faith?
Can we continue to allow impressionable young men and women to hurry off and join these groups or defend and justify their crimes?
We are at a very critical juncture in the history of Islam. There is no precedent for the spectacle that is created around the atrocious crimes, killings and murders of takfirist movements. The perpetration of their crimes in the name of religion and the potential to publicise them far and wide through media and online social networking sites is unprecedented.
An acute necessity exists for the creation of a collective front composed of religious leaders, state institutions, mass intelligentsia, media and business people to face this imminent danger immediately.
* Article published on The National