Fort Wayne Muslim scholar issues religious ruling condemning ISIS and calling Muslims to fight it

By Kevin Kilbane, News-Sentinel
Saturday, November 21, 2015 12:01 AM
A Fort Wayne Muslim scholar and imam has issued a religious ruling, or fatwa, condemning terrorist group Islamic State as a “curse” and a band of mercenaries whose actions have no basis in the Islamic faith.
John Andrew Morrow is a professor of foreign languages at Ivy Tech Community College-Northeast in Fort Wayne. Also a Muslim scholar and cleric, his sent his fatwa to various news organizations. It was published Friday by the Shia International News Association.Shia and Sunni are the major subgroups within the Islamic faith.
In a reply to an email from The News-Sentinel, Morrow says Muslims around the world constantly condemn the Islamic State, terrorism and extremism, but those views rarely get reported by mainstream media, creating the misconception of passive support.
Muslims despise groups such as Islamic State, the Taliban, al-Shabaab and Boko Haram because the majority of the people they kill are Muslims, says Morrow, who gave a lecture Thursday at Ivy Tech on “ISIS vs. Islam.” In the fatwa, Morrow, who lives in Auburn, describes the Islamic State group as “a curse, the likes of which have not been seen since the Mongol invasion of Genghis Khan in the 13th century.”
While Islam does indeed permit jihad, in the form of armed struggle, to combat certain oppressive conditions, it is highly regulated by a detailed code of norms and conduct,” Morrow writes. “The killing of non-combatants, civilians, women, children, imams, priests, monks, nuns and other members of religious orders, is categorically prohibited in Islam. Torture, rape and the trafficking of women are all crimes which merit capital punishment under Islamic law.
Islam’s great prophet, Muhammad, also “forbade Muslims from sacking sacred sites and places of worship, stating that anyone who destroyed a church or a monastery would receive the curse of Almighty Allah,” Morrow writes.
Islamic State members “do not speak for Islam or represent Islam in any shape or form,” he writes.
Muhammad warned Muslims about extremists, and he rejected and excommunicated those he faced during his lifetime, Morrow writes.
All terrorists should be brought to justice, Morrow notes, as should all people who helped found, fund, train, arm and support them. He urges Muslims to stand for peace and justice, to uphold Islamic ethical values, to defend human dignity, and to respect and preserve human life.
Citing verse 4:76 in the Quran, Islam’s holy book, Morrow writes, “As Muslims, our response towards terrorists can only be one: ‘Fight the friends of Satan.’”
When he has shown his fatwa to Muslims, they support it, Morrow says in his email.
“I stand firmly for justice and proclaim without fear: It is the collective obligation of all Muslims to annihilate ISIS and other terrorists by all legitimate means,” he says.
“ISIS has declared war on Islam, Muslims and all faiths,” he adds. “Muslims have a moral, legal and ethical responsibility to defend themselves and their faith. Since ISIS has declared war on humanity, all human beings, regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity or nationality, should join forces to combat this evil that threatens us all.”

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Other efforts

Professor John Andrew Morrow of Ivy Tech Community College-Northeast also is involved in efforts to bring about peace in the Middle East.

He wrote the 2013 book “The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World,” which discusses six covenants that Islam’s great prophet, Muhammad, signed with Christian groups before his death in A.D. 632. Muhammad also signed similar agreements with Jewish and other groups, Morrow has said.

The covenants reportedly promise the groups protection until the end of the world if the groups agree to live under the civil government of a Muslim confederation. Morrow believes the covenants serve as a model for how Muslims and non-Muslims can live together peacefully.

Morrow also is a leader the Genocide Initiative, an effort calling on nations and human rights groups to recognize as genocide the killings by ISIS of Christians, Shia Muslims and members of various tribal and ethnic groups in the Middle East. The Genocide Initiative also applies to other groups there, such as the Free Syrian Army, that want to kill people of other faiths or backgrounds or to force them to leave the area.

If the actions are recognized as genocide, countries such as the United States would have a moral obligation to stop the killing, Morrow said previously.

Another voice

The Universal Education Foundation, a Muslim organization in Fort Wayne, also issued a statement condemning the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris.

The Associated Press