British Imams Have Launched A New Magazine To "Reclaim The Internet" From ISIS
Leading Islamic scholars said they launched Haqiqah – or "The Reality" – to counter extremists' destructive ideology.
Some of Britain's leading Muslim scholars have launched a new magazine to combat Islamic extremism on the internet.
Haqiqah, which means "The Reality" in Arabic, is designed to educate young people about the dangers of extremist ideology such as that pushed by ISIS.
The magazine, which is published in print and online, contains articles debunking ISIS's claims to be a caliphate, as well as reinterpretations of verses from the Qur'an that jihadis use to justify terrorist attacks.
A number of the UK's leading Islamic scholars have contributed to the magazine, from academics to well-known social activists in the Muslim community.
More than 100 of the world's most respected Islamic scholars gathered in London to mark the magazine's launch.
Some of the attendees included the American imam Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, co-founder of Zayatuna College, and Sheikh Abdallah Bin Bayyah from the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies.
According to Imams Online, the imams at the launch included representatives of nearly every sect of Islam.
ISIS and other extremist groups are well-known for using social media as a recruitment tool and to encourage "lone wolf" terrorist attacks.
ISIS has a sophisticated media operation, including several YouTube channels and more than 7,000 Twitter accounts.
The militant group also pushes out propaganda through its own magazine, Dabiq, which has encouraged western Muslims to carry out terrorist attacks in their home country and attempted to justify the use of women from the Yazidi community as sex slaves.
Around 700 Britons are suspected to have travelled to Syria to fight, with many making contact with militants via social media channels.
One imam told BuzzFeed News that Haqiqa would reach out to vulnerable people, who are often targeted by extremists on social media.
Qari Asim MBE, imam of the Leeds Makkah Masjid, said: "The purpose of the magazine is to show the reality of ISIS's criminal and barbaric acts, and to provide robust, intelligent analysis of the Qur'an. There is a difference between the toxic ideology of ISIS and real Islamic theology."
Asim also said Haqiqa would encourage Islamic scholars to use digital tools to reach out to young Muslims – especially those attracted to ISIS's own media.
The magazine "urges imams to use the digital space to provide a counter-narrative to ISIS, and those who are attracted to romantic images", he added.
"We cannot be complacent to combat radicalisation."