By Qari Muhammad Asim
Senior Imam – Makkah Masjid, Leeds
Three school girls, two of whom were named as British nationals Shamima Begum and Kadiza Sultana, are suspected to travel to Syria to join ISIL. The girls, 15 and 16 year old, were pupils at the Bethnal Green Academy.
These girls are said to be friends with a fourth teenage girl from the same school whom police believe is already in Syria.
It is extremely worrying and troubling that young impressionable girls are still falling prey to gang of violent criminals. Those fanatic…s and extremists are recruiting young disenfranchised and impressionable individuals, who are looking for an adventure, over the internet and disguising their barbaric and criminal acts by using the name of Islam.
Those people who travel to participate in the conflict in Syria/Iraq do not only endanger their lives but also negatively impact on the lives of many Muslims back in the UK.
British Imams have been very clear that the so-called Jihadi groups- whether ISIL, IS or others- neither speak for Islam nor their poisonous ideology is shared by Muslims across the globe.
British Imams have consistently maintained that the conflict in Syria and Iraq is not a “Jihad” (holy war). It does not meet any of the core principles of “Jihad” under Islamic law. It is tribal, geo-political conflict. ISIS or other such groups are perpetrating the worst crimes against humanity – it is a war against all humanity.
It is very surprising how easily the three girls were allowed to leave the UK, unaccompanied by an adult, when there are concerns of young impressionable individuals being allured by the sophisticated social media campaign that un-Islamic so-called Jihadists are running.
Since there have been warnings for sometime of the route from the UK to Istanbul and then by road to Syria, there needs to be more a intelligent strategy, without infringing people’s civil liberties, and stringent checks in place to prevent any young person from the UK travelling to join the Syrian-Iraqi conflicts.
We pray for the safety and security of those 3 girls and their families.