Most Muslims Don't Care About the ISIS Caliphate

Global Challenges Counter-extremism

Most Muslims Don't Care About the ISIS Caliphate

Posted on: 3rd July 2014
Ed Husain
Former senior adviser

I am sorry to spoil the party, but the caliphate fantasy being peddled by ISIS in Iraq and Syria is not of importance to most Muslims around the world. When I read western newspapers, I sense an urgency and significance that is out of sync with reality.

ISIS may take pride in its ragtag army, commanding what it calls a caliphate, but no Muslim scholar worth his salt has supported this entity. Even Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, a major Jihadi cleric, has rejected the group's experiment. No Muslim government has recognised it.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (now calling himself "Caliph Ibrahim") this week invited Muslims to migrate to his warzone, a call given prominent coverage by most western news outlets, but the fact that most Muslims ignored his invitation went unnoticed. He called for doctors and engineers to build the caliphate, but not a single Muslim country has seen a mass exodus of individuals keen to live under his version of sharia law.

This is the month of Ramadan when Muslims fast from dawn till dusk. While the western media fervently pursues the story, at iftar– the breaking of the fast – from Morocco to Indonesia, Muslims are discussing other things. Take a glance at newspaper headlines in the Muslim world and you will see a different set of priorities. In Turkey, they are debating their forthcoming presidential elections, in Kenya parliamentary corruption and in Bangladesh the deportation from India of a renowned criminal.

Collectively, most Muslims around the world are paying more attention to the FIFA World Cup than they are to ISIS. Newspaper coverage of the games in several Muslim countries is more prominent than the shambles of the so-called caliphate.

Why is this? Well, there are several reasons, not least because Muslims have a feel for the flavour, tone and tenor of their religion. They do not recognise this entity born from the ugliness of war, rape and pillage, populated by angry men with harsh views of a religion that does not chime with the Islam of the majority. The caliphates of old – those of the Abbasids or the Ottomans – were populated by advanced artists, scientists, inventors, and pious people, not violent Salafi-Jihadis on a rampage against Shia Muslims.

In short, Muslims around the globe know imposters as they appear. An "Islamic state" is not defined by al-Baghdadi and his sycophants, but is such as has repeatedly been elucidated by scholastic giants such as Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayah and others. An Islamic state may be found wherever Muslims are enjoying security and prosperity in which to observe their faith freely. By that definition, Muslims are already living in multiple Islamic states around the world.

This article can also be found at The Telegraph.

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