Ayatollah Seyyed Safavi, founder of the Institute of Islamic Studies, wrote the following letter to the editor of the Financial Times, which was published on Monday 2nd 2015. Safavi has attended and spoken at various events hosted by the Next Century Foundation (NCF):
" All Iranians, and indeed most of our friends in the West, are concerned by the emergence of DAISH. Like both the Taleban and al-Qa’ida, DAISH was established with the support of outside players. However DAISH adds a new element to the mix in that it has the support of Turkey.
Of course Turkey had no role in the establishment of the Taleban. The Taleban was and is a local group in an isolated country in central Asia. And Al-Qa’ida is predominantly Arab. But DAISH is an international group. They have (according to our understanding) more than 35,000 members. What makes DAISH different from the Taleban and al-Qa’ida is that DAISH favours an Islamic caliphate, which is both reactionary and dangerous. DAISH ideology stands in direct contrast to democracy, peace, security, international stability and intellectual Islam.
Some in the Western media call them IS (the Islamic State) giving them greater credibility than they deserve. Are they Muslims? The key figures are Ba’athists. Ba’athism is a combination of Marxism, socialism, and Arab nationalism. Ba’athists don’t believe in any religion, whether it be Islam, Christianity or Judaism. The soldiers think they are Muslim but their behaviour does not match any Islamic standard of law, ethics or morality. When Sunni Muslims refer to a caliphate, they refer to the political successors of the prophet Mohammed who was the last messenger of God; the kind of caliphate advocated by Daish is opposed by both Shia Islam and Sufism.
Following the collapse of the Abbasid caliphate (1258) at the hands of the Moguls, the Ottoman Empire established a new caliphate in Istanbul that lasted for around 600 years to the end of World War One. After the subsequent collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, the Islamic countries in the Middle East were divided by France and Britain. Secularism then collapsed and dictatorship was established in many parts of the Middle East. And now those dictatorships have been challenged and find we have DAISH to cope with. This group is an umbrella movement for many extremists from around the world, and they don’t believe in any human rights.
Who will DAISH attack next? After attacking Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar, they will go for Egypt. They have the support of ignorant extremists in Europe and America. In Europe and the US, they will start to pressure the Muslim community. This will lead to more support for DAISH and more will join them as soldiers. DAISH gives Muslims a bad name and this will lead to more clashes between Muslims and the West. This worries Iran the most. Their actions are against basic human rights, morality and Islam. They are definitely not representative of Muslim world and society. Their ugly behaviour towards women, and indeed towards the minorities, particularly the Christians, is utterly contrary to the Islamic values.
All peace activists, politicians and the media should be concerned about how to deal with DAISH. Now it is time. For the past five years Iran has advised the West and Arab countries in the Persian Gulf not to support these extremist groups. Now you see what is going on. Now you are calling for operation against them. Iran will do what it can to help stop this extremist group. Arab countries and Turkey should learn and follow our example. "