A digital magazine challenging the twisted ideologies of groups such as Isis and al-Qaeda has been launched by Muslim leaders to “drown out violent voices”.
Imams from the UK and Europe gathered at a London summit yesterday to launch the new Haqiqah, which translates as “reality” or “truth”. The first issue focuses on Isis and their cruel reasonings behind killing, raping and pillaging.
It claims to offer a counter-narrative to the rhetoric of murderous groups with sections providing context to specific Koranic verses, which are often distorted in extremist material and also that of fierce critics who seek to discredit Islam.
The first issue opens up with words expressing concern for terrorist organisations who are using quotes from the Islamic holy book to justify their horrific and bloody actions while calling for young Muslims around the world to join them in doing so.
The magazine also explains that people who go to live in the self-proclaimed Islamic State are not dissimilar to those who Prophet Mohamed called “Khawarij,” meaning extremists or dissenters.
At least 60 British girls and women have travelled to Syria to join Isis, police say. Last month, three teenage girls from London travelled to Turkey to cross the border into the war-torn country.
Around 700 British people have travelled to Syria to fight and live alongside Isis. Counter-terrorism experts have said “this is a growing problem and it’s one of real concern.”
Haqiqah states on the first page: “The Muslim youth are being misled. Their innocence is being preyed upon. They are being forced to accept lies backed up by propaganda.
“The truth of extremism could not be further away from the truth of Islam.”
It has been estimated that there are as many 70,000 pro-Isis Twitter accounts with the group also using other social media networks such as open-source site Diaspora.
Isis supporters had even opened up their own version of Facebook called Khelafabook, which has since been shut down. Social media has been a powerful medium for groups to spread propaganda and as a tool to recruit new people.
Shaukat Warraich, chief editor of Imamsonline.com, an organisation providing a voice for Islamic religious leaders, said: “We’re turning the tide – though we still have a way to go, we know that by taking efforts to support and mobilise the huge online Muslim population we will eventually drown out the violent voices.”
The summit was attended by respected imams including Sheikh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, president of the Forum for Promoting Peace, and American Muslim convert Hamza Yusuf, also co-founder of California-based Zaytuna College.
The two men are both members of councils that promote moderate Islam and have published works explaining Islamic law within the context of living in non-Muslim majority countries.
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