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Al Jama-ah at loggerheads over ‘caliphate’ remarks

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Al Jama-ah party member Imraahn Mukaddam has distanced himself from statements made by party leader Ganief Hendricks, supporting the establishment of a so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria by an armed group called the Islamic State (IS). In a recent radio interview, Hendricks allegedly said the call for a caliphate was a positive move and was in line with the party’s position. But Mukaddam says Hendricks made no effort to consult him and other party stakeholders before discussing the matter on air.

“[We are] trying to salvage Al Jama-ah from being perceived as supporting the terrorist group called Islamic State; and from being perceived as a radical group that supports the atrocities that have been happening in Iraq and Syria,” Mukaddam said.

Mukaddam says although Hendricks did not connect the party with supporting IS, he spoke on air as a representative of the party. But he says Hendricks did give Al Jama-ah’s support for the establishment of a caliphate.

“He says Al Jama-ah supports the establishment of a caliphate as well as the positive developments in Syria and Iraq. If anyone were to study the recent history of Syria and Iraq, there is very little of anything positive happening there. He is speaking on behalf of an organization that I am a part of. We as an organization do not endorse the position he has taken with regards to the caliphate, as well as what he deems to be positive developments.”

Mukaddam says Hendricks’s sentiments come at a time when a large amount of opposition for IS’s actions is emanating from the international Muslim community. He and other consulting party members have now called for Hendricks to resign from his position.

“We, myself and the party members and structures that I have contacted, have distanced ourselves from the position of the party leader,” Mukaddam said.

After various attempts to contact him for an interview, Hendricks simply said via SMS that he had clearly stated that the actions by the Islamic State fighters’ are “out of the fold of Islam”. Hendricks said that while he supported a caliphate, he did not condone the actions of the Islamic State. He said his “rebuttal” on the issue had been sent to Mukaddam.

Hendricks said: “[My] rebuttal clearly states that IS actions are out of the fold of Islam if media reports are true. [Mukaddam] hopes that I will be reported to the Americans as a terrorist and be on their lists because I support Isis while I made it clear they are out of the fold of Islam. An Islamic state is not a caliphate; the press statement I issued which was sent to VOC calls for a caliphate and not an Islamic state. We have many countries which call themselves Islamic states, emirates or countries.”

Hendricks also alluded to an attempt by Mukaddam to tarnish his reputation within the Muslim community.

“I have nothing personal to say about his outbursts which seems to have been orchestrated to serve other peoples agenda’s, [who are] hostile to Islam.”

Hundreds of thousands of people across northern Iraq are fleeing ethnic cleansing by the forces of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. IS, or ISIS as they were formally known, has mounted systematic attacks on minority communities in northern Iraq, including Turkemen and Shabak Shi’a communities as well as Christians and Yazidis, aiming to drive non-Sunni populations from the areas under their control. Muslim leaders across the world have condemned the group’s action, saying it has no basis in Islam. VOC (Andriques Che Petersen)

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