SHAFAQNA – Ten Muslim organisations and various scholars have expressed concern over the growing sympathy for terrorist organisation Islamic State (IS) among Muslims in South Africa.
The organisations and scholars from across the country met recently and claim there are reports of more South Africans that have left for Syria since the news broke last month of a 16-year-old Cape Town girl who was stopped en-route to Syria.
The teen was taken off a flight from Cape Town to OR Tambo International Airport after authorities suspected she was to join the organisation in Syria.
A meeting by the Muslim bodies decided that imams in mosques across the country will on Friday deliver a united sermon, or khutbah, about IS, which will encourage Muslims to be cautious of the group’s recruitment efforts in the country.
The sermon says that South African Muslims “have too much to be grateful for and for which to celebrate the praises of God”.
In a statement released by the group of organisations and scholars, it said there was serious concern within the community, and there are families “whose lives have been made miserable, whose elders have become haggard and distressed” because of the intention of family members to join IS.
“Some South African Muslims that have gone to Iraq and Syria went to fight with IS, while others emigrated to live in territory controlled by the group,” it read.
The statement said the group would work together with other institutions in the country to defer attention from IS.
“We will work with other institutions within South African society – such as the government, the media and community organisations – to stem any attraction of South Africans for this group, or any similar group such as Boko Haram or al-Shabab. We must be uncompromising in our rejection of their ideologies and their actions.”
The organisations include the Muslim Judicial Council, Sunni Ulama Council and the United Ulama Council of South Africa.
The sermon to be delivered states that it is unlawful for anyone to join IS because it engages in criminal activities.
The khutbah will inform the Muslim community of some members joining IS and that joining the terror group has been condemned by local and international scholars, and Muslim organisations.
“The vast majority of Muslim scholars around the world have clearly condemned IS and have categorically stated that it does not represent Islam or the Shariah.”
The khutbah is expected to argue that IS “sheds people’s blood unlawfully, labels Muslims as disbelievers, violates people’s honour, and usurps their properties… and creates corruption on earth”. Islam, it says, “calls for mercy, love, and rejection of terrorism and extremism, which represent envy, rancour and hatred”.