​(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/24/14) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), in cooperation with the Fiqh Council of North America, today joined a number of national and local Muslim scholars and leaders at a National Press Club news conference in Washington, D.C., to release a first-of-its-kind open letter in Arabic (with English translation) signed by more than 120 international scholars of Islam and Muslim leaders refuting the ideology of the terrorist group ISIS and urging its supporters to repent and “return to the religion of mercy.”

[NOTE: The Fiqh Council of North America is an association of legal scholars that interprets Islamic religious law.]

Other scholars and leaders in the United States and worldwide are now being asked to add their names as signatories.

The 28-page open letter — which uses classical religious references and covers 24 issues such as “the killing of innocents,” “killing of emissaries,” “jihad,” “declaring people non-Muslim,” “torture,” and “the caliphate” — is a result of deliberations by dozens of experts on Islamic law and offers a point-by-point deconstruction of any claimed religious justification for ISIS’s brutal actions.

In its executive summary, the letter notes that Islam forbids the killing of innocent people, including diplomats, journalists and humanitarian aid workers. It also states that any jihad may only be defensive in nature with strict rules of conduct, that it is forbidden to harm religious minorities like Christians and Yazidis, and that it is forbidden to practice slavery, destroy religious shrines or deny the rights of women.

The letter’s conclusion states:

“Islam is mercy and its attributes are merciful. The Prophet (peace be upon him), who was sent as a mercy for all the worlds, summarized a Muslim’s dealings with others by saying: ‘He who shows no mercy, will not be shown mercy;’ and: ‘Have mercy and you will be shown mercy.’ But, as can be seen from everything mentioned, you have misinterpreted Islam into a religion of harshness, brutality, torture and murder. As elucidated, this is a great wrong and an offence to Islam, to Muslims and to the entire world. Reconsider all your actions; desist from them; repent from them; cease harming others and return to the religion of mercy.”

To read the entire letter and initial list of signatories, go to: http://lettertobaghdadi.com/index.php

“The intended audiences for this important letter include those who have joined or may consider joining ISIS or similar extremist groups, as well as all those who are led to believe the falsehood that ISIS in any way represents Islamic beliefs or practices,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.

CAIR has repeatedly condemned the “un-Islamic and morally repugnant” violence and religious extremism of ISIS.

CAIR: ISIS Is Not Just Un-Islamic, It Is Anti-Islamic (TIME magazine)

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-341-4171, arubin@cair.com