Muslim leaders in the UK have issued a fatwa condemning British jihadis who fight alongside the Islamic State terrorist group, saying they are “betraying their own societies”.
The fatwa, which The Sunday Times (£) said had been issued by imams, is the strongest condemnation yet of Britons joining Islamic extremists by the Muslim community.
It comes as Britain’s terror threat was hiked from “substantial” to “severe” in response to fighting in Iraq and Syria, and the seemingly growing influence of the Islamic State terror group.
Home Secretary Theresa May said the new alert level rated the risk of an attack on the UK as “highly likely”, although she said there was no evidence to suggest one was “imminent”.
Six senior Islamic scholars have endorsed the fatwa, describing Britons allied to Islamic State cells as “heretics”.
“There is no doubt that President Assad’s regime in Syria is oppressive, unjust and brutal, and has committed numerous atrocities against its own people,” the fatwa says.
“The same is true of the so-called Islamic State (IS) or self-styled Caliphate, it is an oppressive and tyrannical group.
“By murdering prisoners of war, journalists and civilians, including mosque imams who refused to endorse their campaign, and by enslaving the women and children of their opponents, ISIS has violated international agreements such as the Geneva Conventions and conventions on slavery that everyone, including Muslims, have signed up to. God says in the Qur’an, ‘Believers, fulfill your covenants!’”
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