As Islamic State extremists call for random murders throughout Europe in Allah’s name, the continent’s Muslims are hitting back with mass peace demonstrations and a Twitter campaign to say “not in my name”.
From Norway in the far north to Germany and France, Muslims have taken to the streets to denounce the IS jihadists controlling large areas of Iraq and Syria who they say have hijacked their religion and terminology to spread hate and breed violence.
The IS group are “terrorists and murderers who drag Islam into the dirt and bring hatred and suffering to the people, including to their own fellow Muslims, in Syria, in Iraq and elsewhere,” said Aiman Mazyek, chairman of Germany’s central council of Muslims.
Along with other Muslim groups, Mazyek’s council organised last week a day of prayers and rallies across Germany, which is home to around four million Muslims, mainly with Turkish roots.
Under the open sky in the Berlin suburb of Kreuzberg — known affectionately as little Istanbul for its large Turkish population — thousands knelt on prayer mats and listened to speeches against violent jihadism.
“They are acting under the banner of the Prophet, but their crimes show that they have not understood a word of what Allah has revealed to us and how our Prophet lived by these commandments,” said a statement read out in mosques across Germany.
Similar marches have taken place in Norway and Denmark under the banner “say no to the (non) Islamic State.”
Other Muslims have taken to social media to combat the Islamic State group, which itself has used Twitter effectively to recruit potential recruits.
The London-based Active Change Foundation has started a hashtag campaign #notinmyname that has spread rapidly across Twitter.
“Tell the world that ISIS are the real enemies of Islam. It’s nothing to do with us,” says the group on its website, using an alternative name for IS, alongside videos of young Muslims holding placards with the slogan.
“Tell ISIS that they can’t murder in your name.”