A group of British Sunni imams will be visiting Iraq for eight days to get an insight into the fight against the Islamic State (Isis) and life under its caliphate in order to counter the terror group's propaganda back home. The imams will be meeting their Iraqi counterparts campaigning against Isis (IS) and will also be looking to bring them to the UK so youths can learn about the harsh life under IS rule.
This is the first time Muslim religious leaders are visiting the front line to get an idea of Daesh atrocities. They will be visiting areas previously held by Isis and will also meet their victims, including those from the Yazidi community.
"This is about empowering credible Muslim leaders in Britain to see for themselves what has been going on in Iraq," Mustafa Field, an Iraqi-born community organiser who has helped arrange the trip, said, according to The Independent. "The plan is to meet not just those people who have lived under Isis rule but also other Sunni imams who are involved in the campaign against Daesh [Isis].
"We want to take those stories back to the UK so that Muslims can hear firsthand what is going on and hopefully counter some of the myths that have been built up over the years. Daesh propaganda is dangerous and this is a British Muslim-led response to challenge their ideas. The imams will meet key Shia and Sunni figures and both those fighting Daesh and those who have been impacted."
The visit is also to show "solidarity" with the Iraqis who are fighting the IS, chairman of Ramadhan Foundation, Burton on Trent, Sheikh Muhammad Umar ibn Ramadhan, said. He added the Isis is the enemy of Islam and Muslims be it Shia or Sunni. He is one of the members of the group travelling to Iraq.
"We will be visiting the various cities and towns recently taken by the Iraqi security forces and the Popular Mobilisation Forces from Daesh, to gain first-hand experiences of the atrocities," Professor Pir Syed Ahmad Hussain Tirmidhi Shah Sahib, president of the charity Markazi Jamat Ahle Sunnat UK in Halifax, said. "Daesh, Isis or any other terrorist organisation is a clear enemy of all humanity. We must expose their lies to defeat this evil."
The visit is being sponsored partly by trustees of the Imam Husayn Shrine in Karbala, which IS tried to blow up earlier this year. The rest of the funding is coming from British Muslim community.