Muslim leaders in Scotland say ISIS has 'no right to call itself Islamic'

The World
A car drives near a flag belonging to Islamic State militants at the end of a bridge in southern Kirkuk.

Muslim leaders in Scotland reacted strongly on Monday to an ISIS video that showed the beheading of David Haines, a Scottish aid worker.

""We condemn unequivocally ... the murder of [David Haines]," says Mazhar Khan of the Muslim Council of Scotland. He calls the execution "absolutely reprehensible."  

Khan says ISIS, which calls itself the Islamic State, has "no right to call itself Islamic," and points out that Muslim leaders have asked British Prime Minister David Cameron not to even use the term "Islamic State" when describing the extremists, to avoid "legitimizing this group as being Islamic."

Earlier this month, Scottish Muslim leaders used Friday prayer services to denounce ISIS and call for the release of Haines and other hostages. They also included a message in their sermons for young Muslims: Do not travel to Syria or Iraq or support extremist groups. 

Many young Muslims, Khan says, have been traveling to Syria and Iraq over the past 18 months to work with charity groups. "People generally wanted to go there to help people on the ground," Khan says. "And many people did go and many people came back with aid convoys."

But he says others who went ended up joining the terrorists. "There are young people who can be naïve, even brainwashed by extremist groups there," says Khan. A Glasgow woman, 20-year-old Aqsa Mahmood, is thought to have joined ISIS and married an Islamic militant.

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