Chief Chechen mufti condemns Islamic State as enemies of religion

Salakh Mezhiyev, Mufti of the Chechen Republic (Reuters / Said Tsarnaev)
The head of Chechen’s Muslims has told reporters that the republic’s council for fatwas has decided the Islamic State group is anti-Islamic by nature and its actions threaten the unity of Islam as a religion.

According to Chechen Grozny TV, the mufti, Salah-Haji Medjiyev, told the press the fatwa passed by the council earlier this month read that on the basis of Islamic law all members of organizations similar to the so-called Islamic State (IS, previously known as ISIS and ISIL) deserve either capital punishment or lifelong incarceration. However, the same canon emphasizes that the punishment can only take place on condition of giving full proof of the suspects’ complicity in violence, robbery and killings, recognized by a court.

The majority of victims of the Islamic State group are Muslims, which means that the terrorists are violating all principles and laws of Islam. They interpreted Islam as a religion of barbarism, cruelty, injustice, torture and violence and this is a serious crime,” Mufti Salah-Haji Medjiyev said. He also called upon reporters and officials to stop using the term Islamists to describe the IS fighters. “The actions of guerillas who harm civilians have nothing to do with the Caliphate.”

The Chechen Muslim body and its leader stated that all actions of Islamic State – from the creation of the group to the calls for resettlement and public executions caused internal strife in Islam and put the very existence of the religion in danger.

The fatwa is in line with numerous statements by the head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, who repeatedly condemned IS as terrorists who had nothing to do with the true Muslim faith. “They are slaughtering and beheading innocent people, including Muslims. We must deliver this information to our youth. We cannot allow them to deceive young immature minds and use them as cannon fodder,” Kadyrov told top Chechen law enforcers in May. “We must bear in mind that the Islamic State is a threat not only to the Middle East, but also to Russia and we must counter this evil with all possible means.”

READ MORE: Islamic State threat to Russia is real – FSB

In April, another major Russian Muslim group - the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of Russia - issued a fatwa against Islamic State reviling them as ‘enemies of Islam’ and calling for the punishment of all its members as criminals.

In December last year, the Russian government listed Islamic State and the affiliated group Al-Nusra Front as terrorists. This act banned Russian citizens from participating in these organizations or rendering any support under threat of criminal prosecution. In addition, the Russian Foreign Ministry called upon all nations to recognize the two groups as terrorists, in line with resolutions passed by the UN Security Council.