SHAFAQNA EXCLUSIVE –Terror has a face and it moves under the ominous black flag of ISIS. Under each of its denomination, whatever the language and whichever the angle, terror today, has found a powerful vessel in the ideology carried by Wahhabism – the fountainhead of radicalism and religious extremism.
An evil onto the world, ISIS miasms have darkened the skies of Arabia, threatening to engulf regions and continents in their deadly and godless embrace. Before ISIS, no communities can claim shelter, no faith stands immune and no man, woman or child can hope to survive.
At such a time when terror is being debated in the public squares, its ideology dissected and its methodology studied; as experts and world leaders have scrambled to make sense of the nonsensical and thus find means to combat a movement rooted in hatred and blood, men of faith have stepped out of the shadow to reclaim God and reclaim Religion.
It all started with one man and a universal message of peace.
In October 2013, Dr John Andrew Morrow published a book, â€œThe Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad and the Christians of the World.â€ Meant as both a testament and a witness to Islamâ€™s commitment to interfaith solidarity, Dr Morrowâ€™s book found a deep echo among Muslims and Christians.
A bridge in between communities and a reminder of sacred oaths spoken long ago, The Covenants Initiative was born under the impetus of men such as Dr Morrow and Charles Upton, a light shone forth against the darkness of radicalism, a shield against the evil of war.
As words quickly spread and as more gathered around the Covenants Initiative, a plan began to form – one which would see men of all faiths come come together against takfirism.
Today, under the impetus of the Covenants Initiative and thanks to the courage of countless Muslims and Christians, a movement is being born – one which will fight evil with what is better, one which will answer violence with solidarity and unshakable resolve.
Today Muslims and Christians have said to be ready to break ISIS where it stands and denounce its deeds for what they are: religious genocide.
On July 29, Bishop Francis Kalabat of the Eastern Rite uniate churches suggested the â€œGenocide Initiativeâ€ be launched with the help of the Covenants Initiative – Muslims and Christians united against those who have declared war on God himself by defiling His Message.
Bishop Kalabat writes in a letter addressed to Dr Morrow and Charles Cupton, â€œI believe that the Muslim community has a great role to play in this initiative but I am not a great believer in demonstrations. Â The Pope himself has made many pleads to stop the atrocities committed by ISIS/ISIL/IS and I know that the USCCB continues to play a vital role.
I do have an initiative that can bring greater focus on a common act that we can all work towards, and that is getting to proclaim the acts of ISIS/ISIL/IS to be genocide, not just in the media, not just in the wordings of some of our politicians, but by the US Congress and by the United Nations. Â But entities have proclaimed their acts as â€œcrimes against humanityâ€ but never proclaimed them for what they truly are; genocide. Â This must be a coordinated effort that can be done on a local level with our elected leaders and the religious leaders playing a role. Â Greater awareness can then be brought to these persecuted Christians and maybe a greater response from the world leaders.
Letâ€™s begin the Genocide Initiative and ask Godâ€™s blessings in doing so.â€
Where ISIS sought to destroy religious communities, wielding ethnicities and faiths as one would do weapons, Shia Muslims, Yazidis, Sufis, Alawis, traditional Sunnis, Christians and all those who pledged themselves to God will rise, resist and unite.
When ISIS offers no hope, the Initiative will offer safety, when ISIS professes dogmatism, the Initiative will offer compassion – but no more will ISIS claim itself of Islam, no longer will the world believe its armies speak for the people of Islam.
For all will know how under ISISâ€™ blades Muslims, like countless Christians, have been murdered and brutalized, their sons and daughters enslaved and humiliated, their books defiled and their shrines broken, their faith mocked and their prophets insulted.
And so it is time for the world to hear the cries of the oppressed and name the fear which shackle them – ISIS.
ISIS knows no religion and speaks no faith.
By Catherine Shakdam for Shafaqna