ISIS 'cannot be reconciled with Islam' says Turkey's religious authority

Mehmet Gormez is head of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate.Reuters

The actions of Islamic State can never be reconciled with Islam, according to a report from the Turkish government.

Far from being true Muslims, members of ISIS are no better than "bandits" who are engaged in a campaign of "kill and plunder", the report says.

The document from Turkey's religious affairs directorate, Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı, says the Islamic world needs urgently to explain to the rest of the world why Islamic State's interpretation of the religion is false. It calls on Islamic scholars, mosques and educational institutions worldwide to preach against the "false" doctrines of ISIS.

It spells out some of the chilling propaganda used in recruitment, such as slogans stating that a person will only die once, so why not make that death a martyrdom.

Far from representing a true or helpful picture of Islam, ISIS actually causes it more harm than anything else, the Turkish document states.

In particular, the "extermination and deportation" of thousands of civilians, including women and children, is irreconcilable with Islam. The document says that Islam does not permit anyone to judge indiscriminately who is and is not an infidel, to seize their property or to commit murder. People who do such things are terrorists, it says.

Even in war, the murder or torture of women and children is prohibited in Islam.

Turkey's head of religious affairs, Dr Mehmet Görmez, has presented the report to Islamic religious leaders throughout the country, to women's, family and youth centres and to all Islamic religious and educational institutions as well as the government itself.

The report warns of "actions that undermine the Islamic religious community" and warns that young people are being seduced into terrorism by mobile communication tools.

This includes sending messages and slogans making claims such as: "We will be reborn in heaven" and "You will die just once, why not choose martyrdom?"

Condemning the brutal doctrines of ISIS, which grew out of Al Qeda, the report says: "The destruction of vulnerable people can not be reconciled with Islam" and "the actions of the Muslims in ISIS are nothing to do with Islam." They are contrary to international law as well as Islam, it adds. "Threats carried out against people based on race or ethnic origin, killing, wounding and kidnapping is terrorism, which makes them terrorists."

Turkey was one of the first countries to declare ISIS a terror organisation. Turkey has also been praised internationally for its military actions against ISIS.

According to columnist Emre Gönen writing in Istanbul's Daily Sabah, the failure of the West to formulate a clear strategy for the Middle East is one of the reasons why ISIS still strongly maintains its presence in Iraq and Syria.

"Whether the existence and the probable dismissal of ISIS will signify the end of Islamic armed movements is another question. It took 10 years for the Soviet-led socialist system to disappear after the Cambodian genocide and the Chinese-Vietnamese conflict. Can the existence and the deeds of ISIS create such a dynamic for the movements with Islamic references? Will Iran survive with its present regime? The turmoil in the Middle East does not allow us to see the future clearly, but such questions remain unanswered," he wrote.