ISIS-SA Link: Spurious Accusations

2014-11-27 03:47

A recent sensational article in the weekend newspapers has created unnecessary suspicion on the Muslim community in South Africa.

In the article the Iraqi ambassador to South Africa, Dr Hisham al-Alawi, pointed out that a middle aged man from Cape Town had died due to an attack on an ISIS convoy and two others died whilst fighting alongside ISIS troops.

The article further alleges that about 140 South Africans are currently fighting as part of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS).

I believe the article has serious flaws as it mainly quotes from one subjective source - the Iraq ambassador. Likewise, the lack of evidence in the article to substantiate the serious claims reinforces the belief that the spurious accusations are nothing but pure propaganda, rumour mongering and shoddy journalism.

Although al-Alawi claims he has shared in writing with officials in the Directorate of Middle East at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) about the three SA citizens that have been killed in Syria, the names have not been mentioned.

Moreover, the department of state security is not aware of South African’s joining ISIS and even the Syrian Embassy said it was not aware of the matter. (Sunday Tribune, 23 November).

Brian Dube, spokesman of State Security, says “he was not aware of any people who had left South Africa to join Islamic State. He added intelligence officials would look into it”. (Sunday Tribune, 23 November).

Such erroneous allegations and casting of suspicion on the Muslim community can contribute towards Xenophobia and Islamaphobia which are detrimental to the harmonious co-existence of all multi-religious entities that make up our Rainbow Nation.

To quote Naeem Jeenah, director of the Afro-Middle East Centre; “such allegations may prove to be damaging, particularly in the minds of ordinary South Africans who have little knowledge on the ISIS issue and it would likely fuel belief that large portions of the South African Muslim population were in support of the group’s actions.”

It is an insult to Muslims to call the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) an “Islamic State”. Their behaviour and values are not in keeping with the true teachings of Islam.

The ISIS Caliphate is not based on sharia or Islamic standards and ignores the necessary realistic requirements of Islam.

Additionally, over 120 Islamic scholars from around the world, many of them leading Muslim voices in their own countries, have issued an open letter denouncing Islamic State militants and refuting their religious arguments. (Reuters, 25 September).

Until concrete and credible evidence is not produced about South African’s supporting or fighting for the notorious ISIS such articles or stories should NOT be published.

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