As a study conducted at the University of Vienna in 2017 confirmed, media coverage that does not explicitly distinguish between Muslims and Islamist terrorists fuels hostile attitudes toward the general Muslim population. With growing awareness of the impact of this kind of reporting, some media outlets like CNN have tried to distinguish between “moderate Islam” and “radical Islam”, “Islam” and “Islamic extremism”.
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Today there are various Salafi movements across the world which have been inspired by Ibn Taymiyyah’s writing. In addition to purists and activist Salafis, Salafi jihadis have been referring to Ibn Taymiyyah for inspiration. For example, IS in many ways championed ideas and practices which were advocated by Ibn Taymiyyah. Many centuries after his death, his ideas, which were once considered unacceptable by many scholars of his time, have been translated into political action.
Indeed, there is no clear line between the Sunnis and the Shiites, as there have been disagreement and disputes within each of these communities. All Shia Muslims believe in the Imamat – or spiritual leadership – of Ali, who was Prophet Muhammad’s son-in-law, but differences remain between different Shia sects. As we will see in this article, there have been leadership and succession disputes among the Shiites which have resulted in the emergence of different branches of Shia Islam.
This article looks briefly at the four major schools in Sunni Islam. Although these schools offer different legal interpretations about issues that are not addressed in the Koran and Hadith (traditions concerning the life and utterances of the Prophet Muhammad), in terms of the fundamental principles of Islam, they share common ground.
Today there are around 117 UK Hajj organisers licensed by Saudi Arabia. Each is responsible for their own annual quota of 150-450 Hajj pilgrim visas. British Muslims now have plenty of choice in terms of package options. But UK pilgrims wanting to perform Hajj in 2018 probably spent as much as £5-6,000 on their package.
About 70 percent of the group identifies as Shi’a and the rest as Sunni. However, the Shabak religious practice is a fusion of elements from various Islamic sects and local beliefs. Hence, their rituals differ from most of their orthodox Shia or Sunni neighbors: Shabaki religion includes elements of Christianity, namely the confession, which is an important feature of Catholicism. Moreover, the Shabak religion incorporates some Yazidi elements.
Although the Islamic State is removed from their main areas in northern Iraq, they continue to be a very vulnerable community in a region which has fundamental issues with minority rights. An easier exit strategy for the Yazidis has been a mass migration to Europe, which may have offered them minority rights but physically has to disconnect them from their ancient lands.
Madrasas generally taught calculation, grammar, poetry, history and above all the Qur’an and sacred law. At a higher level they taught literary subjects and arithmetic. While memorization of texts was emphasized, personal instruction, lectures and imitation of the teacher by students were also held to be crucial to minimize errors in religious understanding.
Observers nonetheless hope that MBS will succeed in curtailing the influence of Wahhabi clerics. Then again, his foreign policy does not appear to offer an effective means to combat terrorism. Saudi Arabia’s devastating bombing campaign in Yemen is a case in point. With the country now completely fragmented, extremists have thrived.
IS’s state-building efforts appear to have been thwarted for now. But saving the children exposed and potentially indoctrinated in its ideology is key to avoiding further terror attacks in the West, tackling the root causes of regional upheaval, and working toward a future where children play instead of fight, and schools teach instead of drill.