British Muslim leaders have called on Prime Minister David Cameron and other politicians to stop referring to the militant jihadist group as the “Islamic State” and have instead suggested the media and politicians begin using the name the “Un-Islamic State.” They even offered a new acronym, UIS.
In a letter to Cameron dated Sunday, leaders of prominent Muslim groups in the UK including the Islamic Society of Britain and the Association of Muslim Lawyers echoed President Barack Obama’s description of the terrorist group that has beheaded three westerners in recent weeks as being neither representative of Islam nor resembling a state.
“We do not believe the terror group responsible should be given the credence and standing they seek by styling themselves ‘Islamic State.’ It is neither Islamic, nor is it a State,” the British Muslim leaders wrote. “The group has no standing with faithful Muslims, nor among the international community of nations.”
“So we believe the media, civic society and governments should refuse to legitimize these ludicrous Caliphate fantasies by accepting or propagating this name,” the Muslim leaders wrote to Cameron.
“We propose that 'Un-Islamic State' (UIS) could be an accurate and fair alternative name to describe this group and its agenda - and we will begin to call it that," the letter stated.
The Muslim leaders suggested convening a debate to “build a consensus” for an “alternative label” for politicians, the media and non-governmental organizations to use instead of the Islamic State “to ensure that we do not lend legitimacy to an organization that has none.”
“We are sure that most British Muslims would agree that Un-Islamic State is a considerably more fitting label for this poisonous group – and hope that our fellow citizens will join us in that,” the Muslim leaders wrote.
Both British security services and Muslim leaders are struggling to find a way to curb the travel of Muslim youths to Syria to fight in the ranks of the Islamic State group working to establish a caliphate first in Syria and Iraq and then beyond. British media have estimated that as many as 800 local Muslims have answered the call to jihad and made their way to Syria. If true, that would mean there are currently more British Muslims fighting with the Islamic State than with the British armed forces.
Islamic State extremists released a video Saturday showing the beheading of British aid worker David Haines.
Cameron condemned the killing as “an act of pure evil.”
“We shall take every opportunity to continue to say clearly and loudly not in our name and not for our faith,” the Muslim leaders wrote. “We know that we all need to do more – and we need your help too in getting this message across.”
In his speech last week to announce his new strategy to combat the Islamic State group, Obama said, “Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not Islamic. No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state.”