Muslim women's rights campaigner writes heartfelt letter to girls thinking of joining Isis

'Dear sister, do not destroy your life and your families lives by buying into a lie'

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The Independent Online

A Muslim women's rights campaigner has written a heartfelt letter to girls considering fleeing the country to join Isis after three schoolgirls left London to join the extremist group.

Sara Khan is urging young girls to disregard the propaganda disseminated by Isis and its supporters, who target women using social media and online forums. Her powerful letter is published by Inspire, a group aimed at raising awareness of human rights and protections offered to Muslim women under the Equalities Act 2010. Ms Khan is the group's director.

Ms Khan says she has no intention of writing other than to warn these girls they are being lied to “in the wickedest of ways”.

schoolgirls-PA.jpg“You are being lied to first and foremost about your religious duty as a Muslim but also about the reality of life under Isis,” she writes.

"There is no religious obligation to make hijra or to pledge allegiance to this self-declared leader who claims to be Caliph. Muslims for centuries have lived in lands that were not under Muslim rule.

"Even during the Prophet’s lifetime, he did not ask those early Muslims who initially made hijra to Abyssinia to make hijra to Medina, when Medina was ruled by the Prophet (pbuh)."

She described the many centuries where Christian and Muslims co-exited peacefully, periods that come in stark contrast to the persecution Isis has inflicted upon religious minorities living in areas under its self-declared caliphate.

Ms Khan went on: “Isis omits to tell you that for centuries Christians and other minority groups lived in the Middle East in harmony with their Muslim neighbours. Because it is rather inconvenient to their poisonous narrative of Islam.

“As Muslim jurist Khaled Abou el Fadl writes, the Koran teaches that the act of destroying or spreading ruin on this earth is one of the gravest sins possible. Fasad fi al-ard, which means to corrupt the earth by destroying the beauty of creation, is considered an ultimate act of blasphemy against God.”

Sabina Selimovic, 15, (left) and Samra Kesinovic, 17, left their homes in Austria to become 'jihadi brides' with Isis

She also addresses the treatment of women married to or captured by Isis members, who have been raped, beaten, abused and prevented from working. “Isis state that girls should be married from the age of 9 and that women should remain ‘hidden and veiled from society’ – but this stands in stark contrast to Muslim history. Islam produced some of the most amazing women who were anything but hidden away from society.

Women living under Isis gather in Raqqa to collect food

“Muslim women contributed to all walks of life including Fatima al Fihri who in 859CE founded the first academic degree granting university in Morocco. Asma Bint Shihab al-Sulayhiyya (d480/1087) who ruled Yemen with her husband as did her daughter in law, Arwa. Both these female heads of state were so respected that the Friday sermon in mosques were proclaimed in their names. Hidden, these women were not."

At least 60 women are believed to have fled the country to join Isis so far, many of them teenagers who were radicalised online.

A manifesto translated by the counter-extremism think tank the Quilliam Foundation showed how Isis places emphasis on women living "sedentary lifestyles" focused mainly around the domestic home.

“Dear sister, do not destroy your life and your families lives by buying into a lie,” her letter concludes. "You will find many of your fellow Muslim sisters have also rejected the call of Isis as they have seen through the poisonous ideology it peddles.”

The full letter can be read here.