The Middle East conflict – war in Syria and Iraq – has already spilled over. No one is safe from the terrorist attacks, neither East, nor West. Islamic State claims it is still strong, and its ideas are attracting new recruits to replace those killed on the field. Islamic State says the horrors it perpetrates are done in the name Allah – spurring resentment against Muslims all across the globe. Today, we speak to an Islamic scholar, a Grand Mufti of Syria, Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, to see how the jihadists have twisted the idea of Islam. And does their agenda have anything to do with Islam at all?
Sophie Shevardnadze:Thank you very much for being with us today. This is a great honor. We are delighted to have you, because there are so many things we want to discuss. You said that there is no such thing as a religious war, there are only political interests. But ISIL fighters want to conquer the whole world, they use Islam as their banner and call this fight a religious war. Are they guided by political interests?
Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun: First of all, I want to express my gratitude to the Russian Federation, because it sided with the truth. It did not separate Syrians by their Shia or Sunni background. It decided to support the Syrian people as a whole.
Syria is a secular, democratic society where different religious groups coexist – Christians, the Druze, Sunni and Shia Muslims. Those who call their wars religious, do so in order to provoke radicalism among Muslims. This of course goes against the true Islamic culture, because a person with values will never commit the atrocities ISIL is known for. They use religion as a pretext for conflict and bloodshed. I think there are two kinds of Islamic State fighters – those who know nothing about true Islam and those who have some religious background, but they use religion to promote their own agenda and kill others.
SS: How are ISIL leaders able to make so many young people follow them? They make them participate in violent acts, in combat – how do they do it?
ABH: What ISIL is doing is not new. This organization has existed before – under different names. They convince their followers that they are guided by religious convictions, spread their ideology, spending a lot of money on that work. We must remember it.
SS: Right! But they don’t buy these young people – they come from Europe, Russia, the U.S. young people from good families for some reason go to Syria and begin to fight for ISIL. How do Islamic State leaders achieve that? It does not matter how they name themselves. How do they do this? What goes on in people’s heads?
ABH: We met with some guys who came from the UK, France. Many of them were Syrians. They come here to build some sort of Islamic caliphate. They think that they will promote Islam and spread it to the whole world.
FULL ARTICLE FROM RT