A panel of seven members from various Muslim and Christian organisations came together on Tuesday to condemn the atrocities perpetrated by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other outfits responsible for creating and supporting them, at a press conference held at Islam gymkhana at Marine Lines.
They have so far received 82 signatures from activists and leaders of various communities and professional organisations to support this cause and held a parallel conference at Delhi as well. They plan on organising multi-city rallies across India. They criticized ISIS' ethnic cleansing operations and torturing of minorities and forcibly converting them to Islam.
Zeenat Shaukat Ali, director deneral of Wisdom foundation and teacher of Islamic studies at St.Xaviers college said Islam is a peace-loving religion and ISIS has distorted its meaning to suit their agenda. She said, "Jihad means a struggle to achieve something good and Islam condemns violence because religion is an accident of birth and Allah loves all its children equally regardless of what religion they follow. A Caliph is elected and not declared and thus the leader of ISIS Abu-Bakr-al-Baghdadi is not a caliph. A caliph is devoted to service and not violence. We should create dialogues and not factions."
Feroze Mithiborwala from the Muslim Intellectual Forum said he was ashamed and angry that ISIS used religion as a garb to violate human rights. "Majority of Muslims around the world are against ISIS and its shameful that the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia ordered for the demolition of churches in the Arab peninsula. The powers behind ISIS are adding fuel to fire and we need to reaffirm our solidarity with our Christian brothers and other minorities," he said.
Father Frazer Mascarenhas, Principal of St. Xaviers college said that mere condemnation would not suffice. "It is our duty as humans to protect those who are vulnerable. When the dignity and humanity of a person is snatched away, the whole of humanity goes with it. We should come together as humans for a common cause and create a world of justice, love and peace," he said.
Irfan Engineer from the All India Secular forum said that even in the most orthodox Islamic states minorities are protected. "Islam respects and nurtures diversity and pluralism. There is no compulsion in choosing your own religion. The world is becoming more insecure and we need an initiative to nip it in the bud in before it reaches India," he said.
The statement released by them says that the worsening plight of Iraq's Christians is a legacy of America's invasion of Iraq in 2003. They have appealed to the UN to hold ISIS accountable for its crimes and create circumstances wherein displaced citizens can go back to their homes with their dignity and honour restored.