UK imams condemn Isis in online video

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Media captionThe production of the four-minute video was organised by the Faith Associates consultancy

Leading UK-based Shia and Sunni imams and clerics have filmed a video message urging young British Muslims against fighting in Iraq and Syria.

They say their film is designed to be distributed online and via social media to counter "digital propaganda" put out by Isis and other extremist groups.

It comes amid concern about radicalised Britons who are travelling abroad.

Abu Muntasir, from the Ipswich-based charity Jimas, describes Isis as "evil" and urges people not to "get mixed up".

Jihadi videos posted online are one of the main tools used by the militant group Isis (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) to recruit and radicalise people.

About 500 Britons are believed to have become involved in fighting in Syria and Iraq with the group.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption An Isis video featuring three Britons emerged last month

Sayed Ali Rizvi, head of the Majlis Ulama-e-Shia organisation, says in the video the UK is "united under various colours, nationalities, cultures and creeds".

He says Isis "are cowboys. They don't represent the religion and are not qualified to represent the religion... We are Muslims united against Isis, against terrorism, against atrocity, against pain and suffering."

Imam Maulana Shahid Raza of Leicester Central Mosque, a leading Sunni cleric, accuses Isis of trying to create corruption and discord within the Muslim world.

London-based Ayatollah Seyed Fazel Milani also condemns the militant group in the video, adding: "We benefit from opinions of others and experience and that's why it is very important to have this unity."

And another Leicester Imam, Ibrahim Mogra, the assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, appears in the film, appealing to British Muslim communities to fight sectarian division and extremism.

Online movement

The production of the four-minute video, which has been be posted on the website, was organised by the Faith Associates consultancy.

Its chief executive Shaukat Warraich said: "The leaders of the Islamic faith within the UK felt it was their responsibility to spread the message of peace and unity outside of the mosque and galvanise an online movement, urging British Muslims to think twice about travelling to conflict zones to fight."

Earlier this month, the same leaders were behind an open letter signed by more than 100 imams from urging British Muslims not to travel to war-torn regions.

It called on communities "to continue the generous and tireless effort to make aid donations during Ramadan to help people in Iraq and Syria "in a safe and responsible way", and warned them about going there themselves.

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