Eye for an eye: Killing all jihadists in the name of Islam

Eye for an eye: Killing all jihadists in the name of Islam

The brutal murders of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have prompted Islamic-style reactions - including execution of its members and calls for more violence against the jihadists.

Jordan executed Sajida al-Rishawi and Ziad al-Karbouly, two Iraqis with links to al-Qaeda, early yesterday in response to a video released by the ISIL jihadist murderers, which showed captured Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh being burned alive in a cage.
This is a typical application of the “qisas” method, which has its place in Islam. The 178th verse of the Surat al-Baqarah, the longest chapter of Islam’s holy book the Quran reads as follows: “O ye who believe! Retaliation is prescribed for you in the matter of the murdered; the freeman for the freeman, and the slave for the slave, and the female for the female.”

That is what Jordan did to revenge the brutal murder of its pilot, acting like the frustrated family member of a victim, rather than a state.

But this was still not enough for Safi al-Kassasbeh, the pilot’s father.

“I demand that none of them be kept alive. I demand that the revenge be greater than the execution of prisoners. I demand that the ISIL organization be annihilated,” he told Al-Jazeera.

The latest ISIL murder also prompted other calls for further violent action against its militants.

Cairo’s Al-Azhar, one of Sunni Islam’s most prestigious centers of learning, expressed outrage yesterday, saying ISIL militants deserve to be killed or crucified.

Its head, Ahmed al-Tayib, suggested that such punishments were ordered by Islam, though burning is definitely out of question.

“Islam forbids the killing of the innocent human soul ... It forbids mutilating the human soul by burning or in any other way, even during wars against an enemy that attacks you. This requires the punishment mentioned in the Quran for these corrupt oppressors who fight against God and his prophet: Killing, crucifixion or chopping of the limbs,” al-Tayib was quoted as saying by AFP.

So the solution that the Islamic authorities and states came up with against violent murders committed by ISIL in the name of Islam is more violence.

If the Muslim world continues to use the “this is not real Islam” rhetoric for the actions of ISIL and other jihadist groups, they will have to come up with a better response than more violence to fight violence.

The “real Islam” defense, by the way, is not a strong one. With so many different sects, orders, groups who consider themselves as the followers of the real deal, the “real Islam” is a mystery that is unlikely to be solved.

A recent survey in Turkey yielded very interesting results on this issue. According to the survey, conducted by research company Metropoll, 58 percent of respondents said today’s Muslims “do not represent the real Islam,” while only 33 percent said they did. A religion that cannot be represented by its own followers: This is the point to which Islam has come, thanks to the violence and atrocities committed in its name.

Mehmet Görmez, the head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet), highlighted yesterday the need for Muslims to put their house in order before going after Islamophobia.

“An Islamic world that does not put out the fire in its own home cannot fight against Islamophobia,” Görmez said, in a rare occasion of self-criticism instead of blaming the West.

“An Islamic world that has not turned its own soil to a land of belief, a land of peace, a land of freedom, cannot fight hostility against Islam in other worlds. The Islamic world should put out the fire of sedition at home before everything else, in order to be able to set right the accusations against Islam,” he added.

Muslims and the countries of the Middle East must leave their traditions behind and renounce violence and killings, regardless of its source. They must find a tool other than violence to fight those who they disagree with.

Until then, their complaint that “Islam cannot be associated with violence” will continue to go unheard.