Islamic scholar and activist calls on Muslim community to deter young people from joining terror group
A community activist from Glasgow who is president of the Muslim Youth League UK (MYL) says he is to wage an ideological war against the so-called Islamic State (IS).
Shaykh Rehan Ahmed Raza said his organisation has declared a “Jihad against IS” in a bid to prevent people from joining it.
It comes as increasing numbers of people have been reportedly “radicalised” by the terror group’s anti-western philosophy, including Aqsa Mahmood, who left her Glasgow home last November for Syria to marry an IS fighter.
Ahmed Raza, who is also an Islamic scholar, told an audience in Rutherglen Mosque: "Our efforts are aimed at deterring further Isis recruitment in Britain and defending the Muslim community, who feel their religion has been hijacked.
All extremists are cancers to society, because they destroy a health society
"All extremists are cancers to society, because they destroy a health society.
“We have to scream at the top of our lungs that these people are not representative of Muslims.
"It’s very important for parents not to think that their child in their own bedroom is protected. They can be safer out in the streets at ten o’clock at night, than in their own bedroom at 10 o’clock at night."
IS has no link with Islam or the Muslim community, which numbers around 75,000 in Scotland, says The Muslim Youth League.
“Generalised Islamophobic labelling of Muslims" as extremists or terrorists "by the media, politicians and the general public" has also been criticised by the group.
"Social media has proven to be a key tool for Isis to promote their message and recruit young Muslims,” it said in a statement.
"As a countermeasure, MYL have revealed their strategy to use Twitter and other popular social networking sites to spread the true and peaceful image of Islam.
"The barbarism and lack of respect for the sanctity of human life shown by Isis is a challenge to every civilised value, not least to the tenets of Islam."
Humza Yousaf, minister for international development, welcomed the initiative.
He said: "I applaud this initiative from the Muslim Youth League UK. Those who perpetuate terrorism in the name of Islam do nothing but act against the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad.
"The MYL UK's proposals should be widely supported as the most powerful tool against extremist ideology is for progressive Muslims to challenge it."