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Muslim student group says ISIS doesn’t represent Islam

Shamiyan Hawramani, a fourth-year in human development and family sciences and member of the Muslim Students’ Association at Ohio State, spent her summer in Kurdistan, volunteering in refugee camps for people fleeing from the militant group that calls itself the Islamic State.

She and other members of the MSA have denounced that group — also known as ISIS — claiming it’s unrepresentative of their beliefs.

“They are in essence bringing back everything that Islam abolished,” Hawramani said.

Hawramani said the group’s oppression of women is also against Islamic beliefs.

“Islam referred to the time before the prophet as the ‘Age of Ignorance’ because of how women were treated,” Hawramani said. “Islam gives women all of these rights, and (ISIS) is trying to take them down one by one.”

ISIS’s goal is to rule over the Islamic world based on its interpretation of the Quran, which some MSA members said is misconstrued. In the process, it’s been reported that they have persecuted and discriminated against people of many minorities and religions through murder, rape, enslavement and displacement.

An Amnesty International report released on Sept. 2 stated that ISIS is carrying out ethnic cleansing. According to the report, it has been “killing or abducting hundreds, possibly thousands” of people in non-Arab and non-Sunni Muslim communities, and “forcing more than 830,000 others to flee the areas it has captured” since June 10.

More urgent concerns about the terrorist organization hit America when it released videos showing the beheadings of two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff.

“(The group) has violated just about every single prophetic tradition and teaching (in Islam),” said Abdulrahman Alwattar, co-president of MSA and a fourth-year in public affairs.

On ISIS’s forced conversions of non-Muslims, Alwattar said, “There’s a verse in the Quran: There’s no compulsion in religion.”

Alwattar also said ISIS’s violence isn’t representative of Islam.

“Human life is an enormous commodity in Islam. It’s not something to be taken lightly,” Alwattar said. “This romanticism of martyrdom that (ISIS) has pushed is not congruent with what Islam is about.”

He paraphrased another verse from the Quran: If you kill one person it is as if you killed all of humanity, and if you save one person it is as if you saved all of humanity.

Some MSA members said they do not see the trend of Islamic radicalism in the past few decades as an effect of the religion itself.

“These organizations are a result of Western interference in affairs that don’t have anything to do with them,” said Abderrahmane Amor, a second-year in political science and Islamic studies and MSA member. “The Arabs and Muslims were known for their hospitality, as well as the protection of the people of the book and any religion,” he said.

Amor said the creation of ISIS and preceding terrorist groups was inevitable because of the political instability of the war-torn regions they appear in.

“Displacing hundreds of thousands, killing thousands in the process, you’re going to create groups like this and they’re going to fight against you,” he said, referring to wars in the Middle East in which Western countries have been involved. “So what’s happening today is a result of inaction toward oppression.”

Alwattar agreed with Amor.

“If we look at where these organizations are popping up, they’re in parts of the world that have been ravaged from the developed world,” he said. “Our foreign policies in the Middle East have been really destructive in trying to export resources.”

President Barack Obama’s recently proposed plan to defeat ISIS using air strikes is not an exception to ineffective Western foreign policy in the eyes of Amor.

“Obama is the fourth-straight president in American history to bomb Iraq,” he said. He said Obama’s strategy would not work.

Jeffrey Lewis, a lecturer in the international studies program at OSU and author of “The Business of Martyrdom: A History of Suicide Bombing,” teaches courses about terrorism. He said Obama’s strategy is treating the symptoms of the disease rather than the disease itself.

“The growth of (ISIS) has really been a consequence of the instability of the region more so than it is a reflection of the strength of the group. Certainly more so than the support of the group,” Lewis said. “Treating the cause would require a massive commitment of resources and manpower that we aren’t willing to make.”

One thing is clear to MSA members: ISIS is not Islam.

“There are over 1.6 billion Muslims in the world,” said Mushtaq Dualeh, co-president of MSA and fourth-year in public health development studies.

“If (the group) was what Islam truly was, the world wouldn’t be the way it is right now. And there are millions of Muslims in America, and if we really were like (ISIS) then you would know,” Dualeh said.

In fact, Islam really attempts to send the opposite message Amor said.

“Islam is peace,” he said. “It literally means submission in peace.”


  1. Really digging the title, although “Some Muslim Ohio State students don’t believe in genocide” might have worked too.

    Actually I’m thinking “Some of Ohio State’s Muslims don’t encourage ethnic cleansing” and “Not all Muslims at Ohio State want to kill you” could also be informative.

    Also, I spotted a hawk on the oval today. It made me really react.

  2. This is a very good article in many ways, starting right from the title which seems to acknowledge that a number of OSU are dangerous psychos (which should raise a question as to why they haven’t been kicked off campus.)

    I love the quotes, both from one individual: “These organizations (e.g. ISIS) are a result of Western interference in affairs that don’t have anything to do with them” and ” … what’s happening today is a result of inaction toward oppression.”

    In other worlds, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

    The bottomline should be apparent: we should do nothing over there, except sit back and watch them kill each other. The winner (always temporary) will always sell their oil on the world market.

  3. In other news, a couple Christians disagree with the tactics of the Westboro Baptist church.

  4. After two years at OSU, I shouldn’t be surprised by such an Islamophobic headline, but here I am, a bit taken aback.

  5. “Some Muslim Ohio State students believe ISIS doesn’t follow Islamic beliefs”… so does that mean there are also some that do believe it follows the Islamic belief? :/

  6. MSA = Muslim Brotherhood = Hamas = ISIS = Hezbollah = AlQaeda = Taliban

    All the same, just different name.

  7. A beheading in Woolwich, a suicide bomb in Beijing, a blown-up marathon in Boston, a shooting in the head of a young Pakistani girl seeking education, a destroyed shopping mall in Nairobi – and so it continues, in the name of Islam, from south London to Timbuktu. It is time to take stock, especially on the left, since these things are part of the world’s daily round.
    Leave aside the parrot-cry of “Islamophobia” for a moment. I will return to it. Leave aside, too, the pretences that it is all beyond comprehension. “Progressives” might ask instead: what do Kabul, Karachi, Kashmir, Kunming and a Kansas airport have in common? Is it that they all begin with “K”? Yes. But all of them have been sites of recent Islamist or, in the case of Kansas, of wannabe-Islamist, attacks; at Wichita Airport planned by a Muslim convert ready to blow himself up, and others, “in support of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula”. “We cannot stop lone wolves,” a British counterterrorism expert told us after Woolwich. Are they “lone”? Of course not.
    A gas facility in southern Algeria, a hospital in Yemen, an Egyptian police convoy in the Sinai – it’s complex all right – a New Year’s party in the southern Philippines, a railway station in the Caucasus, a bus terminal in Nigeria’s capital, and on and on, have all been hit by jihadis, with hostages taken, suicide belts detonated, cars and trucks exploded, and bodies blown to bits. And Flight MH370? Perhaps. In other places – in Red Square and Times Square, in Jakarta and New Delhi, in Amman and who-knows-where in Britain – attacks have been thwarted. But in 2013 some 18 countries got it in the neck (so to speak) from Islam’s holy warriors….

  8. Islam is indeed a crime against humanity, and its first victims are Muslims. I think that is why Muslims are so quick and ready to assume victimhood. On a subconscious level, they feel victimized, but in their search for the cause of their discomfort they incorrectly identify colonialism, crusades, Jews, racism, and so forth as the cause.
    For a Muslim to face up to the reality of Islam and to admit to oneself that Islam is the problem means to lose one’s identity. Hence the cognitive dissonance Muslims experience when Islam is called into question. Hence the scrambling for excuses and explanations that can convince the Muslims themselves that Islam is not the problem. And the explanations tend to be colonialism, crusades, Jews, racism, and so forth.
    When cultural Muslims refer to spurious arguments by Islamic apologists as a counterargument to brush aside direct quotes from the Qur’an and the hadiths, it is not that they are deliberately trying to to deceive the non-Muslims. They are desperately clinging to the hope that Islam is not the problem. When they repeat the talking points of Islamic apologists explaining how Islam is a religion of peace, their primary aim is to convince (delude) themselves and make the cognitive dissonance go away at least momentarily, which then removes the immediate threat to their identity and postpones the inevitable confrontation.
    Unlike most of the Muslim world, Turkey is a country where, thanks to militantly secularist strains, there are more Muslims who are not completely enslaved by their Muslim identity. That gives slightly more breathing space for the individual to break the chains of Islam. Nonetheless, it still means you have to turn your back on large parts of your cultural heritage and family. Families in any culture have members who seek to enforce tradition. In Muslim cultures the conservative members of the family are enforcers of Muslim identity, which brings along with it the whole can of worms that is the Qur’an and the hadiths.

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