Jihadis In Syria And Beyond Fiercely Reject World Council Of Churches' Initiative For Interfaith Dialogue

November 30, 2021

The following report is now a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here. 

On November 28, 2021, the World Council of Churches held a conference in Afrin, Syria, in the region north of Aleppo, which is controlled by the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA).[1] The conference was held under the banner, "Dialogue Session on Guidelines for a New Syrian Social Contract." The event aroused fury and criticism among jihadi elements in Syria and outside the country, which described it as a dangerous initiative from the breeding ground of "the Western trashcan," and asserted that the victory of the revolution in Syria will only be achieved through warfare and adherence to the values of Islam.

The following is a review of some of the more prominent responses to the conference:

HTS religious officials 'Abd Al-Rahman Al-Idrisi and Abu Mariyah Al-Qahtani levied scathing criticism in response to an announcement released by the World Council of Churches which calls for interfaith dialogue in Syria.

Al-Idrisi writes on his Telegram channel, "Many elements are leading the West to march toward collapse, disintegration, and the destruction of its culture, headed by those values by means of which they distorted human nature, destroyed the structure of the family, destroyed the minds and darkened the lights of Allah. The revolution does not need to adopt the West's garbage in order to win. The revolution is Sunni and aggressive and nothing will bring it victory except for the pride in religion and identity." In another post Al-Idrisi asserts that, "The West stole our culture from us and gave us its devastation and there are among our people those who think that the trashcan of the West will build us culture."[2]

Al-Qahtani writes, "We as Muslim peoples have religious values, and the Arabs have moral values. We don't need what the West preaches which authorizes prostitution, intercourse between men and intercourse between women."[3]

Jihadis outside Syria also criticized the initiative. For example, in a post on his Telegram channel, Gaza-based jihadi cleric Na'el bin Ghazi stated that the central message which emerges from the text of the invitation to the conference is that, "the hijab [a head covering worn by some Muslim women] is one of the most prominent obstacles on the path of progress and society building." He asserts that, "These dangerous trends necessitate renewed victory. It is appropriate that those who battle against the faith in the hearts of the people should be swept away by them."[4]


[1] The World Council of Churches (WCC) is a worldwide Christian inter-church organization founded in 1948.

[2] Telegram, November 29, 2021.

[3] Twitter, November 29, 2021.

[4] Telegram, November 30, 2021.

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