As a Muslim terrorist army continues to ravage Syria and Iraq and behead British and American civilians, it can be difficult to remember that there are millions of moderate Muslims with no ill feeling toward the Western countries. But while the cohort of “moderate Muslims” often seems to exist more in political speeches and punditry than in reality, a group of believers in the United Kingdom are drawing a line between their religion and the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL).
British Muslims are speaking out in a social-media campaign called #NotInMyName, which aims not only to oppose the Islamic State but to dispel frequent criticisms that Muslim populations stay silent in the face of Islamist terror.
@prasannakarthik Don't you wish they would voice the same sentiments against ISIS? Why don't they speak out????
— Susan Fountain (@susanwho2) September 19, 2014
Muslims go on deadly riots against cartoons. But don't speak up against ISIS engaging in genocide and beheadings. http://t.co/8qVEADZOFV
— eigenscape (@eigenscape) September 4, 2014
The British organization Active Change Foundation (ACF) launched the campaign with a video called “#NotInMyName: ISIS Does Not Represent British Muslims.” Reasons given by the British citizens include “Because your leader is a liar” and “Because my religion promotes tolerance for women and you have no respect for women.”
The #NotInMyName movement is not the first time that Muslims have spoken out against terrorist organizations, though it may feel like it for some people. The Vatican has reported that the secretary general for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation stated that ISIS “has nothing to do with Islam and its principles that call for justice, kindness, fairness, freedom of faith and coexistence.” Egypt’s highest religious authority has also denounced ISIS as a group that violates Sharia and humanitarian law.
These messages were not accompanied with trendy hashtags, so the well-meaning declarations may have fallen on deaf ears. Perhaps if #NotInMyName can spread to the forefront of the 24-hour news cycle, society can focus on its true enemies. In the meantime, American Muslims will have to live with the slight disillusionment that they did not think of this campaign first.
— Christine Sisto is an editorial associate at National Review Online.