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Islamic authority says extremists are 'no Islamic State'

The leaders of Egypt’s leading Islamic authority want the media not to use Islamic State when identifying extremists.

Muslims arrive to attend the Friday prayer at Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo, Egypt.
Muslims arrive to attend the Friday prayer at Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo, Egypt.
Image: Apexchange

THE TOP ISLAMIC authority in Egypt, revered by many Muslims worldwide, launched an Internet-based campaign today, challenging an extremist group in Syria and Iraq by saying it should not be called an “Islamic State.”

The campaign by the Dar el-Ifta, the top authority that advises Muslims on spiritual and life issues, adds to the war of words by Muslim leaders across the world targeting the Islamic State group, which controls wide swathes of Iraq and Syria.

Its violent attacks, including mass shootings, destroying Shiite shrines, targeting minorities and beheadings including American journalist James Foley, have shocked Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

The Grand Mufti of Egypt, Shawki Allam, previously said the extremists violate all Islamic principles and laws and described the group as a danger to Islam as a whole.

Now, the Dar el-Ifta he oversees will suggest foreign media drop using “Islamic State” in favor of the “al-Qaida Separatists in Iraq and Syria,” or the acronym “QSIS,” said Ibrahim Negm, an adviser to the mufti.

This is part of a campaign that “aims to correct the image of Islam that has been tarnished in the West because of these criminal acts, and to exonerate humanity from such crimes that defy natural instincts and spreads hate between people,”

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Negm said according to Egypt’s state news agency MENA. “We also want to reaffirm that all Muslims are against these practices which violate the tolerant principles of Islam.”

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi also weighed in. On Sunday, speaking to editors of Egyptian newspapers, he said the extremist group is part of a plot aiming to “undermine Islam as a belief.”

Read: Islamic State releases video claiming to show beheading of US journalist James Foley

Read: Urgent action needed to avoid “massacre” in Iraq

Read: Islamic State will “have to be defeated” says America’s top general

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