Takfirism is a centuries-old practice of judging someone to be an unbeliever and rendering them an apostate or hypocrite through the most dogmatic of lenses. Those thirsty for power use it to legitimize inequities and delegitimize anyone who disagrees with their authority. Under the framework of takfirism, ISIL justifies an ideological cleansing of Kurds, Yazidis, Shia, Sufis, and anyone else who does not conform to its religious tyranny. ISIL is using takfirism to accomplish its goal of ridding the region of “impure” elements — like Christianity — and symbols — like the shrine of Jonah.
When Baghdad was a capital of the Muslim world it featured art, intellectualism, culture — everything diametrically opposed to ISIL. Rebuilding that prosperity and diversity is the key to defeating violent extremism that’s upheld by takfirism. Our enemy is the same — ISIL and all forms of violent extremism. Like the voices of moderation prevailed over the Kharijites in the early years of Islam, we need that independent rational thinking now to navigate us away from danger, empowering humanity to prevail over inhumanity.
by Salam Al-Marayati