Violence and Islam

Both the Qur’an and the teaching of Mohammed the prophet promote peace and mercifulness. Islam explicitly condemns terrorism, violence and the killing of innocent people. Passages in the Qur’an explain that fighting is only ever justified in situations of self-defence. For example, it reads, “fight in the way of Allah those that fight you but do not transgress limits for god does not love transgressors”. This explains that all fighting as an aggressor or provoker is not ethical. “If they seek peace, then you seek peace”, do not fight people unless you are threatened.

Islamic Extremist Groups
A very small percentage of the world’s Muslims have twisted the words of Islam to justify a very extreme and violent worldview. These groups do not profess the true teachings of Islam but rather use the name of Allah and Jihad to gain followers. Groups such as al-Qaeda and Boko Haram have become known to the western world through their atrocious actions. The latest Islamic extremist group to gain international attention is the Islamic State.

The Islamic State (also known as IS, ISIS or ISIL) came into the international scene in 2014 when it seized and gained control of large areas in Syria and Iraq. The group declares its foundation as a ‘Caliphate’ (a state entirely governed by Islamic or Sharia law) and aims to restore God’s rule on Earth and defend the Muslim community. It has demanded that all Muslims submit to the Islamic State leader known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a former US detainee, and has become notorious for its ruthless violence including mass killings, public beheadings and abductions. Many Islamic State members are jihadists that believe in an extreme interpretation of Sunni Islam. The Islamic State’s roots trace back to a Jordanian known as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi who held extreme tactics in conflict and was a member of al-Qaeda. A few years after Zarqawi’s death, Baghdadi began rebuilding the Islamic State. By 2013 it was carrying out hundreds of attacks in Iraq. In 2015, it was estimated that there are between 20,000 and 32,000 active Islamic State fighters relying on wealthy private donors.
Where do we get our statistics?