Iraq News

Post liberation, Mosul aims to root out ISIS ideology

By Khalid al-Taie

Worshippers at al-Kheir Mosque in west Mosul listen to guidance from the Sunni Endowment Diwan on June 8th. [Photo courtesy of the Ninawa Sunni Endowment Diwan]

Worshippers at al-Kheir Mosque in west Mosul listen to guidance from the Sunni Endowment Diwan on June 8th. [Photo courtesy of the Ninawa Sunni Endowment Diwan]

Now that the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) has been ousted from Mosul, the Iraqi government is waging a different kind of war in the city.

The new confrontation is not a military one but rather a "war of ideas", as local clerics and officials seek to overcome the extremism ISIS tried to spread among the population while Mosul was under its control.

The Sunni Endowment Diwan in Ninawa province is mounting this ideological offensive through a bundle of procedures that aim to fight extremism and raise awareness about its dangers, diwan head Abu Bakr Kanaan told Diyaruna.

"Several steps have been taken to confront ISIS’s ideology, which distorts the essence of Islam," he said. "After the latest military victory in Mosul, we are preparing ourselves for a new battle to eradicate the ideological influence of terrorists."

To this end, he said, the diwan has instructed all mosque preachers and imams to adhere to certain guidelines in their sermons and lectures that focus on correcting the "dubious religious concepts that ISIS was peddling".

"These preachers have a huge responsibility to guide people and raise their awareness on matters of religion and [explain] how Islam is a compassionate, moderate and peaceful faith," he said. "They have to expose the terrorists' deception and wrongdoing."

Silencing extremist rhetoric

The diwan has organised training sessions and meetings at mosques and via online forums, Kanaan said.

It is trying to "identify any sort of extremist religious rhetoric that seeks to incite and spread hatred and divisiveness or disrupt national unity".

"ISIS gave religion a bad name as it committed atrocities in its name such as rape and torture, and violated all sorts of sanctities," he said. "We want to remove any trace [of their ideology] from people’s minds."

Friday sermons now have to follow a certain approach that involves preparing, printing and disseminating sermons to preachers ahead of the service to be presented to worshippers, Mohammed al-Shamaa, imam and preacher at Mosul's al-Nabi Yunus Mosque, told Diyaruna.

"The sermons focus on several topics, such as confronting extremism and enlightening people on matters of their faith, while denouncing conflict and its causes," he added.

They also discourage people from harbouring terrorists and encourage them to immediately notify the authorities about their hideouts and activities.

Denying ISIS a pulpit

Al-Shamaa said the diwan also will seek to conduct training sessions for mosque preachers in order to build their capacity to spread the correct religious principles and values among the local population.

Other procedures include identifying and closing down mosques and religious centres that ISIS could have established within residential areas during its occupation of Mosul.

"We have to do everything in our power to eradicate the ISIS ideology," Ninawa provincial council member Khalaf al-Hadidi told Diyaruna.

“The liberation of Mosul is complete and terrorism was badly defeated," he said. "However, we now have to fight a different battle that involves burying all of the remnants of the ISIS ideology."

All segments of Mosul society must work together to spread moderate thinking, which respects freedom, human rights and the concepts of co-existence and peace, al-Hadidi said.

He stressed the importance of training preachers and imams "and all the figures shaping public opinion" for this mission.

Such a task involves promoting the values of compassion, fraternity and unity in the curricula for Islamic and civic education, he added.

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ISIS is nothing but the result of extremist ideology that has brainwashed people whom it dragged from faith to kufr to destroy Muslim countries. Therefore, it should be a priority to uproot it. This has been confirmed and expressed in lectures on doctrine and history in which he spoke about the symbols and founders of takfir, who are the Khawarij of the era, the Wahhabis, and their deviant sheikh Ibn Taymiyyah. If you want to get rid of them once and for all, just listen to the lectures of al-Sayyid al-Hassani al-Sarkhi.


Defeating the ISIS ideology is a necessity. However, that ideology can only be defeated by moderate thought which al-Sayyid al-Sarkhi has adopted in his search, "Stances with Ibn Taymiyyah's mythical oneness" and his research on rogue state.


Wise men in this ummah must listen well to the voice of moderation and objectivity represented by religious authority al-Sayyid al-Sarkhi. They have to follow what this contemporary scholar, who has faced a lot of obstacles to be a voice of real, moderate Islam that rejects all forms of extremism and intellectual terrorism, is presenting.


We greet you for this stance, and at the same time, we call upon you to look at the intellectual campaign that is led by religious authority al-Sayyid al-Sarkhi al-Hassani who revealed in his valuable lectures the ignorance and deviation of the proponents of takfir and intellectual terrorism, and who invalidated their perverted ideology which tarnishes the reality of Islam. Al-Sayyid al-Sarkhi urges people to return to religion, faith, morals, mercy and humanity … from lecture 20. Religious authority al-Sayyid al-Sarkhi al-Hasani delivered a humane speech to the Islamic society in general and the Iraqi society in particular about the need to return to the reality of religion through humane dealing with others, and showing compassion and sympathy with their sufferings, tragedies, and pains. He was referring to what's happening in communities and areas where there is a sense of indifference, lack of mercy, lack of solidarity, lack of fraternity and lack of morals!!! At the same time, he urged people to return to religion, faith, morals, mercy and humanity … Religious authority al-Sarkhi said in lecture 20 in his research, entitled "Stances with Ibn Taymiyyah's [gibberish] mythical oneness", myth (35): Sedition … head of kufr … horn of devil!!! Commenting on the contents of Ibn Qutaibah's Imamate and Policy: The mention of denial for Othman (May God bless him): {{When people rejected Othman Bin Affan, he took to the pulpit, thanked and praised God, and then said, "Everythin


One of the things that everyone now knows about Ibn Taymiyyah and ISIS ideology is that it's extremist, rather, deviant that wants to bring people, society and countries back to dark ages where there was the law of the jungle. Anyone who dares to oppose that ideology will be killed and neither his blood, nor honour, nor money will have any protection. Here lies the problem, and here lies the crisis that everyone must face and expose to all so that there may not be an incubator of fool and naïve people. Therefore, religious authority al-Sayyid al-Sarkhi has opposed this ideology and trend in two lectures a week to warn everyone and explain facts to those who are deceived. Ideology cannot be eliminated by killing or fighting, but with thought that explains facts to those deceived people. This would be enough to end this ideology for most people. If a small group remains, it will be easy to get rid of it through military activities. The scientific method is the effective solution for such extremist groups. Therefore, al-Sarkhi's step was very successful and decisive. We pray to God to grant him success. We greet him. May God bless him for this huge effort and enlightening thought.