A Cape Town cleric who on Friday delivered a scathing sermon against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria group, said he did so not only to alert parents on the dangers of recruiting by such groups but also to make Muslims aware of the fact that such groups do not represent Islam. Sheikh Muhammad Moerat of the Zeenatul Islam Masjid on Friday told the congregation to “spread peace” as was the message of the first public sermon by the prophet Muhammed.
Moerat was one of a number of ulema in the Western Cape who focused the Friday sermon on the ISIS phenomenon, following a call by the Muslim Judicial Council last week. Moerat said Muslims and their clerics have a responsibility to educate themselves and others on the true nature of Islam, and how ISIS opposes the teachings thereof.
“Once people are truly educated [on] what [ISIS] stands for and if they believe what media reports say about them and what they do; then anybody who knows and understands the objectives of Islam, Sharia and other tenets of the religion will not be able to support them,” Moerat said.
He said he is happy that he has not yet come across any individuals who profess to support ISIS openly in South Africa. But he explained that it is important that parents are aware of their children’s activities on social media.
This comes in light of a Kenwyn girl who was reportedly stopped at Cape Town International Airport before boarding a flight bound for OR Tambo that would take her to ISIS recruiters.
“We as parents need to educate ourselves on social media. We as parents cannot just go and say ‘social media is doing this’, we need to know what our children are doing online.”
Moerat said there are many factors that add to a young Muslim’s desire to join a group like ISIS. He says those factors are then exploited and used to recruit prospective conscripts. Moerat believes more needs to be done to research their methods and modus operandi.
“Every young mind has a different form of enticement, different things that appeal to them and ways of bringing them into the fold [of ISIS]. We need to look very carefully into ISIS’s methodology to see what is it that people find appealing to them, despite the gruesome images and actions that are readily available to be seen.” VOC (Andriques Che Petersen)