LETTER: The considered opinion of Sunni Islam

31st Oct 2014

Sir, It should be more widely known that 126 Muslim leaders and scholars, on September 9, sent an open letter to Dr Ibrahim Awwad Al-Badri, known as Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the declared Caliph of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).
The authors came from every country in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as Nigeria and West Africa, and also from Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, and from most of Europe, together with Canada and US.
They pointed out that it is forbidden in Islam to kill the innocent, or emissaries, which includes journalists and aid workers; also to harm or mistreat Christians or any People of the Scripture (this includes Yezidis). It is further forbidden to force people to convert, to deny their rights to women and children, and to declare a caliphate without the consensus of all Muslims. Torture is also banned. Jihad in Islam is defensive war and is not permissible without just cause, just purposes and right rules of conduct. Punishments may not be inflicted without correct procedures, ensuring both justice and mercy.
In a strong and closely argued way, they show that most of the above norms have been violated on a large scale by ISIS/ISIL. The letter runs to 15 pages, and on page 8 the authors accuse ISIS/ISIL of “heinous war crimes”.
Yours,
Lord Hylton
House of Lords
London

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