Current events in Iraq have seen thousands of civilians belonging to minority sects being displaced from their homes, and becoming refugees. Amongst the groups that have been forced to flee from their homes have been Christians and Yazidis. There has been talk that the Christian community in northern Iraq is almost finished.
Much of this has come down to the actions of a group calling itself the ‘Islamic State’, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the group has been on a major offensive in Iraq for the past 2 months, during which it has announced it’s own self declared ‘caliphate’.
While the group and its supporters claim their actions to be Islamic, the reality is quite the opposite. From an Islamic perspective, and from the example of the early Muslims such as the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his companions, the actions of the Islamic State are quite the opposite.
The very fact that Christians and other minority sects continued to flourish and remain in the Muslim world is a testament to this fact, had the early Muslims followed the example of the Islamic State, we would find no Christians remaining in the area.
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the early Muslims when they took in new territory as part of their state, territory that included non-Muslims, immediately sought to reassure those under the new state that the Muslims meant them no harm, that in fact the Muslims would look after them and ensure their rights and safety.
The Muslims would always draw up covenants with the non-Muslim communities that would now come under their rule, and within these covenants the rights and safety of the non-Muslim community would be laid out.
Among the established agreements within the covenants included the rights of the non-Muslims to worship freely, and to have their places of worship left alone, as well as to be protected.
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the early Muslims were not going about displacing non-Muslim communities they were ruling over, indeed if this was the case and their stated aim, then we would find no non-Muslim communities living in the Muslim world.
The early Islamic caliphates were in areas such as modern day Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, and many other areas with very large non-Muslim communities. The Muslims were more than capable of displacing these communities entirely if they so chose to, yet no such thing occurred.
Put simply, the actions of the self-declared ‘caliphate’ in no way resemble the actions of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) or the early Muslims.