Following are excerpts from an interview with Egyptian journalist and TV host Ibrahim Issa, which aired on ON TV on February 3, 2015:
Ibrahim Issa: Whenever ISIS carries out an act of barbarity, such as decapitations, throat slitting, or the burning of a person alive, as they did today, various sheiks tell you – if they even bother to say anything – that this has nothing to do with Islam, that Islam is not to blame, and whatever. But when the people of ISIS perpetrate slaughter, murder, rape, immolation, and all those barbaric crimes, they say that they are relying on the sharia. They say that this is based on a certain hadith, on a certain Quranic chapter, on a certain saying of Ibn Taymiyyah, or on some historical event. To tell the truth, everything that ISIS says is correct.
This should not come as a surprise to anyone, as a surprise to anyone, and nobody should be shocked by what I am saying. All the evidence and references that ISIS provides to justify its crimes, its barbarity, and its horrifying, criminal, and despicable violence… All the evidence and references that ISIS provides, claiming that they can be found in the books of history, jurisprudence, and law, are, indeed, to be found there, and anyone who says otherwise is lying.
When they kill a person claiming that he is an infidel, when they rape women, when they kill prisoners, and when they slaughter and decapitate people, they say that the Prophet Muhammad said so. Indeed, the Prophet said so! What was the context? The interpretation? That's a whole different story. None of those [Al-Azhar clerics] who purport to be moderate, and who were told by President Al-Sisi to change the religious discourse, have the courage – not a single grain of courage – to admit that these things are indeed to be found [in Islamic sources] and are [morally] wrong. If it is claimed that a certain companion of the Prophet did this or that, you should respond by saying that he was morally wrong. I would like to see a single Al-Azhar cleric in Egypt have the courage to admit that Abu Bakr burned a man alive. That's right. He burned Fuja'ah [Al-Sulami]. This is a well-known historical story.
Was Abu Bakr morally wrong to burn that man alive? Nobody dares to say so. So we are left in this vicious circle, and you can expect more barbarity, because all this barbarity is sacred. It is sacred. This barbarity is wrapped in religion. It is immersed in religion. It is all based on religion. Your mission [as a cleric] is to say that while it is part of our religion, the interpretation is wrong. Do not tell people that Islam has nothing to do with this.