A leading Islamic figure in Southampton has hit back at claims that British Muslims are not condemning the current violence in Iraq.
Following the ongoing attacks by ISIS against people living in Iraq, questions have been raised about why more isn’t being done by Muslims in this country to condemn the brutality.
An article, written by “leading Muslim voice” Dr Taj Hargey, director of the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford and Imam of the Oxford Islamic Congregation, called on British Muslims to denounce ISIS.
But, angered by the claims, the secretary of Medina Mosque in St Mary’s, Rashid Brora, has hit out, arguing that Muslims are actively against the horrifying violence.
In his article, Dr Hargey said: “What is terribly worrying is that, in the face of the ISIS atrocities and extremist British Muslims’ involvement in jihadism, mainstream Muslims here have remained largely silent at what is happening in Iraq today.
“Where is the mass outcry against the systematic killing of the Iraqi Yazidis, the deadly harassment of Christians and the mindless destruction of their churches?”
Mr Brora responded: “ISIS does this supposedly in the name of Islam. Islam is not about violence. Most of the press don’t report that Muslims are against it because it isn’t interesting news.
“Even if you look at the Muslim Council of Britain website, it gives you a very real idea of how bad the situation is. If you were to say that ISIS or Al-Qaeda were terrorists we would agree. They are not acting in the way of Islam.”
In the last week about 100,000 Christians have fled towns in northern Iraq.
There is also growing concern about tens of thousands of Yazidi civilians – a pre-Muslim religious minority – who are surrounded by ISIS.
Mr Brora added that he knew of no one from Southampton who was considering joining ISIS, saying: “We would urge them not to. We wouldn’t want people to take that route, it is an inappropriate route.”
A statement on the Muslim Council of Britain’s website said that it is “increasingly disturbed by the serious and deteriorating humanitarian situation in northern Iraq”.
It added: “The actions of ISIS and in particular their barbarity against minority groups, have been rightly condemned by all parts of the religious and political spectrum.
“The Muslim Council of Britain joins in their condemnation, and urges the British government to provide humanitarian aid to those suffering, as well as support efforts to prevent funding and arms reaching ISIS.
“We hope the Iraqi people from all backgrounds can unite to defeat this group.”