The emergence of ISIS in Iraq and Syria is a disaster for our Islamic faith. As well as attacks on people from other faiths, ISIS have murdered hundreds of Muslims whose only crime is to hold slightly different ideas on Islam to those of ISIS.

ISIS’s ideology is so warped and so extreme that it marks them out as the divergent ones from the faith that millions of Muslims around the world cherish. It is ISIS’s primitive and barbaric interpretation of Islam that we should question.

There is no compulsion in religion. Someone cannot be forced to become a devout Muslim at the point of a sword. What purpose would such a false expression of faith serve?

Our Islamic faith does not call for the summary execution of non-Muslims or other Muslim sects. Islam respects other “people of the book” and those who share a belief in God.

The group is bringing Islam into disrepute as a religion of violence and hatred. Islam preaches forgiveness and mercy. Broadcasting brutal videos boasting about committing atrocities is disgusting and un-Islamic.

Those attracted to ISIS’s message should understand that in doing their bidding they are acting in the interests of those forces which are trying to spread instability and discord in the Muslim world.

ISIS should be opposed. It’s ideological strength comes from presenting itself as the Caliphate and the true Islamic State. So the way to defeat ISIS is by all Muslims, in Iraq, Syria and across the region distancing themselves and speaking out against them.

ISIS is the enemy of all true Muslims and the Islamic faith. Muslims are told to defend what is good and renounce what is evil. The acts we have seen perpetrated by ISIS and Bashar Al-Assad are the very definition of evil.

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