Count Imam Omar Hazim and members of the Islamic Center of Topeka as being among those who are repulsed by the barbaric actions of an extremist group that is terrorizing portions of the Middle East, while announcing its intentions to export its brutal behavior to other nations — including the United States.
Hazim was among imams — prayer leaders of mosques — to sign his name recently to a letter condemning the organization, which has come to be known by several names, including the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria; the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant; and the Islamic State.
Much of the inhumane actions that have been reported in recent weeks have been perpetrated in Iraq and Syria.
Among the most heinous of the crimes to date was the beheading of American journalist James Foley, of which a video was widely circulated on the Internet.
In the recent letter Hazim signed, imams who are associated with the Community of Imam Warith Deen Mohammed “stand in solidarity with those who are appalled and condemn the brutal, indiscriminate murder, rape and violence against innocent men, women and children anywhere in the world.”
The letter further states that the imams “condemn the religious extremism of groups including ISIS and al-Qaeda perpetrated in the name of Al-Islam and Prophet Muhammad.”
The imams say they are appalled by the call to Muslims to join ISIS for its “inhuman and un-Islamic terror campaign that destroys private property and the houses of worship of Christians, Jews, Muslims and others.”
The imams maintain that Islam promotes “human excellence, religious freedom, social justice and tolerance of human and religious diversity. Every Muslim is obligated to protect the dignity and freedom of all human beings. This includes the protection of houses of worship such as monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques.”
Hazim said the recent “horrific examples of crimes against humanity” by groups like the Islamic State are “totally contrary to these universal principles which are embraced in the religion of Al-Islam.”
In a phone interview this week, Hazim said the actions of the “extremist group” are at odds with the teachings of the Quran, Islam’s holy book.
“They may think they have some reasons they think they should fight,” Hazim said, “but certainly they should not fight against noncombatants. It’s completely against the tenants of the Islamic faith. Therefore, we have to separate ourselves from them and speak out against them.”
Hazim said he agreed with President Barack Obama when he said the Islamic State “doesn’t represent any kind of religious group, because no God would more or less say he would justify any human being to kill an innocent human being, period. That’s not part of any religion.”
Hazim took issue with those who maintain Muslims like himself haven’t spoken out strongly enough against the Islamic State.
“Most of the Islamic organizations in the United States have made many, many statements online and everywhere they can to condemn this action,” he said, “so people can’t accuse moderate Muslims of being silent on this issue. We want the world to know we don’t stand with a group like this.”
Ultimately, Hazim said, everyone will have to give an account of his or her actions to the Almighty come judgment day.
“The final judgment of all human beings will be in the court of Almighty God, and we’ll get our due,” Hazim said. “Those who feel like they’ve been victimized in this world, then God is going to reward them with the best in the next world.
“And those who have committed atrocities in this world, they will get their due.”