UK imams urge youths to avoid Syria war
Imams from around the UK have called on young British Muslims to stay away from the foreign-hatched war in Syria.
The nationwide campaign is instead encouraging giving to Syria through legitimate charities.
It comes after a video emerged showing two young Cardiff men urging others to join insurgency in Syria – where tens of thousands have died in more than three years of war – and in Iraq.
The men are believed to be among 500 Britons triggering insurgency in Syria for the terrorist Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The video, thought to have been filmed in Syria, features Nasser Muthana and Reyaad Khan, both 20 and from Cardiff, along with Abdul Rakib Amin, aged about 25 and from Aberdeen.
Young men like them are being drawn to Syria by what they see on the news and on the internet, according to the Muslim Council of Britain’s assistant secretary.
“They dearly want to change the situation,” Ibrahim Mogra, who also serves as an imam in Leicester, told the BBC.
“And sadly some of these young people are vulnerable to being hoodwinked by people who have a way with words to try to recruit them to pick up arms. But we want to make sure – absolutely clear to our young people – that violence is not condoned by Islam,” Mogra said.
At the Makkah Mosque in Leeds, Qari Asim said: “If you want to help, please don’t go out there. Don’t expose yourself, don’t put your lives at risk and the lives of other people.”
The imam urged worshippers who wanted to help their fellow Muslims in Syria over Ramadan to raise money in the UK and donate through official organizations regulated by the Charity Commission.