CAIRO – America’s first Muslim congressman Keith Ellison has fired back after the so-called Islamic State issued death threats against him and many high profile Muslim political leaders in the west, accusing the militant group of twisting Islam’s message.
“Daesh is a collection of liars, murderers, torturers and rapists,” wrote Ellison in a statement, using the Arabic acronym for ISIL the extremist organization reportedly dislikes, International Business Times reported.
“No Muslim I know recognizes what they preach as Al-Islam. The fact that I’m on Daesh’s bad side means that I am fighting for things like justice, tolerance and a more inclusive world.”
In the latest issue of its online magazine Dabiq, ISIL lists a number of Muslim leaders and activists in the United States, Canada, the UK, and Australia to be targeted.
According to media reports, threats also named many high-profile moderate Muslims in Western countries including Ellison, Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.
CAIR’s Awad is pictured in the article about the hit list, but is not named specifically.
Two British politicians, Sayeeda Warsi and Sajid Javid, were also named.
Ellison, Rep. of Minnesota, is the first Muslim-American to be elected to Congress, taking office in 2008.
Awad, who heads the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization in the country, also rejected the threats.
“Our life and death are in the hands of God,” wrote Awad in a statement sent to AboutIslam.net.
“I believe this threat is a reflection of the outstanding work CAIR does in opposing the anti-Islamic message and brutal actions of ISIS and other terror groups.
“The best response to such threats is to continue challenging extremism, whether it is espoused by organizations like ISIS or by Islamophobes who seek to demonize Islam based on that group’s brutality.
“When extremists of all stripes attack our efforts to promote tolerance and mutual understanding, we know our work is having a positive impact.
Awad also called on state and federal law enforcement authorities to provide protection to American-Muslim leaders who are under threat from ISIL.
“It is incumbent on state and federal law enforcement authorities to provide protection to American Muslim leaders who seek to counter ISIS’s message of hate,” he said.
Militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have been widely condemned by Muslims worldwide who staged several protests to express anger against the terrorist group.
Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al Sheikh has urged Muslims to take up arms against the militant group’s members, condemning them as aggressors who abuse people’s lives, possessions and honor.
The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) has dismissed ISIL announcement of forming a “caliphate” in areas they control in Iraq and Syria, saying it lacked any Islamic or realistic aspects.