[Published 26 December 2014]
The impassioned plea by the father of a Jordanian F16 fighter pilot captured by Islamic State has shot down attempts by American President Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to distance Islam from the Islamic State (ISIL).
Speaking to the media - the father of Islamic State’s star captive - 1st Lt. Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh, - said:
“I direct a message to our generous brothers of the Islamic State in Syria: to host my son, the pilot Mu’ath, with generous hospitality. I ask God that their hearts are gathered together with love, and that he is returned to his family, wife and mother.
We are all Muslims.”
This desperate cry for mercy stands in stark contrast to what President Obama stressed at a media conference in August:
“Let’s be clear about ISIL. They have rampaged across cities and villages killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They abduct women and children and subject them to torture and rape and slavery. They have murdered Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can, for no other reason than they practice a different religion.
They declared their ambition to commit genocide against an ancient people. So ISIL speaks for no religion. Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents.”
Cameron has been equally as strident:
“We should be clear: this is not the “War on Terror”, nor is it a war of religions. It is a struggle for decency, tolerance and moderation in our modern world. It is a battle against a poisonous ideology that is condemned by all faiths and by all faith leaders, whether Christian, Jewish or Muslim.”
Abbott was eager to support Obama and Cameron’s statements — telling a media conference during the Martin Place siege in Sydney last week:
“But the point I keep making is that the ISIL death cult has nothing to do with any religion, any real religion.”
These Presidential and Prime Ministerial statements had followed a most explicit condemnation of Islamic State by Iyad Ameen Madani - the Secretary General for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation — the collective voice of the Muslim world - representing 57 countries over four continents comprising 1.4 billion Muslims - the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations.
As Vatican Radio reported on 25 July:
"In a statement, he [Madani] officially denounced the “forced deportation under the threat of execution” of Christians, calling it a “crime that cannot be tolerated.” The Secretary General also distanced Islam from the actions of the militant group known as ISIS, saying they “have nothing to do with Islam and its principles that call for justice, kindness, fairness, freedom of faith and coexistence.”
Yet the simple plea of one distraught Jordanian parent pleading for his son to be set free - stressing that “we are all muslims” — will certainly sheet home the distinct unease being felt by non-muslims living in Sydney — still reeling from the Lindt Chocolat Café siege and subsequent shoot out in Martin Place killing two innocent civilians and the self-styled Islamic cleric who perpetrated the siege.
Such unease subsequently found the head of the Australian Defence League and two other people being charged over a brawl near a mosque in Sydney’s Islamic heartland—Lakemba.
The news that Sulayman Khalid, 20, was one of two men arrested on Christmas Eve as part of an ongoing counter-terrorism investigation into the alleged planning of a terrorist attack on Australian soil — has only increased such unease.
As the Daily Telegraph reported:
“Khalid, also known as Abu Bakr, appeared earlier this year on SBS’s Insight wearing a jacket emblazoned with the Islamic State flag and stormed off the set when questioned about his support for IS fighters.”
France has this week also seen three supposedly “lone wolf” incidents allegedly involving “deranged” Muslim perpetrators in:
1. Nantes - when a van was driven into a crowd killing one and wounding 9 other shoppersMeaningless OIC condemnatory statements designed to distance Islam from Islamic State are no longer sufficient.
2. Dijon - where a man shouting “allahu akbar” (“God is greatest” in Arabic) injured 13 in a similar attack to that in Nantes
3. Tours - where an attacker - also yelling “allahu akbar” - was shot dead after stabbing three police officers
Surely the time has come for the OIC to galvanise its member States into pledging unified Islamic military action to degrade and destroy Islamic State.
Such steps could include:
1. OIC resolving that all 57 member States join the American-led coalition of 62 States presently fighting Islamic State. Presently only 13 of those Islamic States have joined the coalition. Major Islamic States — such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Algeria, Pakistan and Nigeria remain uncommitted.
2. Making a unified Islamic approach to the United Nations Security Council by sponsoring a resolution calling for the use of armed force by the United Nations against Islamic State under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.
3. Four Islamic States — Malaysia, Nigeria, Chad and Jordan — are members of the UN Security Council and provide an effective bloc to pressure the Security Council — particularly those States exercising a veto - into taking such action.
Growing Islamoparanoia needs to be contained - if rampant Islamophobia is not allowed to run riot.