Academics: A struggle for an Islamic State? It’s all about political ideology

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014

Former Perlis mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin - File pix

KUALA LUMPUR: Claims of jihad by the Islamic State (IS) group in the Middle East should be stopped as the objective of the “war” was not about religion but more towards building up their ideology. 

Dean of the College of Law, Government and International Studies of Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM), Associate Professor Dr Ahmad Marthada Mohamed said the IS was inclined to gaining independence for its country from leaders who had no direction. 

"The differing ideologies led to feelings of being oppressed and created a desire to form a nation which reflects the policies and ideologies of the group," he told Bernama here on Monday. 

Ahmad Marthada said it was important that a person has an understanding of the group's ideology before even contemplating of being a member. 

He added that the name of the group itself, using the word “Islam” would be a magnet to draw the attention of more Muslims to join them.  

"Muslims are easily attracted to the word "Islam" whereas to the non-Muslims, the militant group claims that its struggle is to fight oppression and attain basic rights. 

"The concept is not fixed but changes often. Which is why it has to be fully studied before it can be considered jihad," he said. 

On Oct 15, Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the police had identified 39 Malaysians, including a woman, who was involved with militant groups such as the Islamic State. 

There are three militant groups in Syria believed to have Malaysian members - the Islamic State, Jabhat Al Nusra and Ajnad Al Sham. 

These groups tend to use Quranic verses and the word “jihad” to lure members. 

Ahmad Marthada said that religious authorities should disseminate information on the objectives, ideology and beliefs of these groups to avoid Muslims in this country becoming confused. 

He added that even if the IS succeeded in having its own government, it would face difficulty getting recognition from the international community, as well as the support of the people of its country.

"The extreme actions of the group, such as cruel killings which are against the teachings of Islam, has resulted in the group losing support of Muslim nations including Malaysia, as well as the Arab countries," he said.

According to Universiti Putra Malaysia's (UPM) head of the department of Government and Civilisation Studies in the Faculty of Human Ecology, Dr Ahmad Tarmizi Talib, those who joined the IS have been influenced by groups who are used by other parties for political purposes.

Religious speaker Associate Professor Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin said it was not right for individuals to join a group to jihad under uncertain conditions.

The ex-mufti of Perlis said it was better if that struggle was left to the residents of that country, as they would understand the geo-political situation better, based on their own experiences.

"Those people (citizens of other countries) go there just for jihad? Or are Muslims fighting among themselves to help create a group that has its own agenda?" he asked.

"The IS 'struggle' is still unclear including its objectives," Mohd Asri added.

He suggested that the government conduct a humanitarian mission so that Malaysians could channel their empathy as jihad is not confined to using weapons.

“If you really want to jihad, do it without weapons but by taking medicine or food to the right places," he said.

Mohd Asri added that those who want to jihad should emulate Muslim warrior Salahuddin Al-Ayubi who treated the Christian forces wounded in battle. - Bernama

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Islamic State , IS , Syria , jihad


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