By Mona Yahiya in Tunis for Magharebia

17/07/2014

Tunisia’s Islamist parties have rejected the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s announcement about the establishment of a caliphate.

Ridha Belhadj, spokesman for the radical Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, told Magharebia that “The caliphate state is not a chaotic structure. When the Prophet (PBUH) established the state in Medina, all people were waiting for him and sang the famous song ‘Tala’ al-Badru ‘Alaina.’ He neither entered by force nor imposed the status quo.”

“However, those in ISIS didn’t speak with anyone; rather, the so-called caliph imposed himself on the people,” Belhadj continued.

“I think that some people are trying to confuse and disfigure the image of Islam; the caliphate state which was announced in Iraq has no structure, and there is no security to provide to the people. In addition, there is no clear program.

The Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman added: “I myself feel ashamed to describe it as the caliphate state. Moreover, top scholars have rejected it.”

Other Tunisian Islamist parties have also condemned the caliphate announcement by al-Baghdadi.

During a July 4th sermon, Ennahda chief Rachid Ghannouchi blasted the unilateral caliphate declaration: “The announcement of Islamic caliphate is a reckless, irresponsible act and its foundations are contrary to those of the state of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in Medina where it was based on the Sahifa, which guaranteed rights and duties for Muslims and non-Muslims. This is similar to what is now called the state of citizenship, religious and doctrinal pluralism.”

In his turn, Habib Ellouze, a MP who split with Ennahda, told Jawhara FM on July 5th that the caliphate claim was “against Islam”.

“ISIS is a tragedy that has afflicted the Islamic nation,” Ellouze added. “The group just installed itself and imposed allegiance on the people, and this is a tragedy and terrorism in the nation. Therefore, I call for fighting extremism with the correct understanding of Islam rather than with force.”

Meanwhile, the International Union of Muslim Scholars said in a statement that the caliphate announcement by ISIS was invalid under Sharia. It urged all Muslim factions to respect the Islamic concepts that people revere.

The union warned against linking the concept of an Islamic caliphate to a group known to be radical.

“The spilt of the ISIS from the group and its announcement of an Islamic caliphate, its installation of a caliph for Muslims and its demand to swear allegiance to, is not based on any religious or factual criteria and its harms are greater than its benefits,” the scholars’ union said.

Sami Brahem, a researcher of Islamic civilization, explained the positions of Tunisia’s Islamist parties: “There is an ideological difference in religious marji’ya, which is salafist, wahhabi for ISIS, and Ash’ari, Maleki for Tunisia.”

“Politically, there are several suspicions in what ISIS is doing, especially the desire to divide Iraq,” he said. “The harms of that are greater than its benefits for Islamist parties in Tunisia,” Brahem added.

Source: Magharebia.

Link: http://magharebia.com/en_GB/articles/awi/features/2014/07/17/feature-01.