This film traces the roots of takfirism, an unorthodox school of thinking that attribute itself to pure Islam in modern history.
TIME CODE: 00:00_05:00
Graphic on screen: Muslim countries are being threatened by the world arrogance. “Takfiri Sedition” tries to offer a clear-cut account of what the West is seeking by sowing division among Muslims including different sects of Sunni and Shia Muslims.
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Leader of the Islamic Revolution: “Today, some groups in different parts of the Islamic world under the name of Takfiris, Wahhabis and Salafis are doing bad and ugly things against Iran and against Shia Muslims. But they are not the real enemies. Everyone must know that. They show hostility and ignorance but the real enemy is that incites them, funds them, motivates them in one way or another when their motivation wanes, sows division between that ignorant group and the innocent nation of Iran. The hidden hands of intelligence services can be traced in this issue. Therefore, we have frequently pointed out that these mindless groups that under the name of Salafism, Takfirism and Islam fight with the Islamic Republic of Iran are not the real enemy; we consider them as taken in.”
Narration: Tunisia, 18 December 2011. A young man burned himself to ignite a series of widespread protest against innumerable injustices in his society. The protesters wanted their West-inclined government to rule according to justice and Islamic laws. In less than a month, the political upheavals in Tunisia spilled into other countries like Libya and Egypt. People took to the streets to rock the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Gaddafi. Soon after, Bahrain and Yemen joined this revolutionary movement. Al- Tahrir Square in San’a and Preal Square in Manama become scenes of passionate protest in these two Arab countries.
Given the Islamic nature of these revolutions, people mainly called for the enforcement of Islamic law and the establishment of justice in their society. As this Islamic movement began to spread in the regional countries, the Western media began a campaign to divert public attention from these popular revolutions that had coincided with economic crises in the US and Europe. Since the movement had begun in Arab countries, they described it the Arab Spring instead of the Islamic Awakening.
Narration: Although the revolutions had started in different countries, they had a lot in common with each other; for example, in all these revolutions, the protestors chanted slogans against the US and Israel and prayed together in the capitals’ main squares.
TIME CODE: 05:00_10:00
Narration: The emergence of the Islamic Awakening and numerous revolutions one after another had put the interests of some supremacist countries in grave danger. With the victory of these revolutions, the US could no longer take full advantage of the strategic locations in the Middle East and European countries could no longer control Islamic movements on their own soils. This imminent threat galvanized the powers into action to find solutions so as to harness Islamism and prevent other Arab regimes from falling. Here a scenario was created to derail the Islamic Awakening and here Syria became the main target. The West was looking for a way to overthrow the Syrian President and change the country’s political structure according to its own interests. Syria was part of the Axis of Resistance and delivering any major blow to this country could have serious repercussions for Lebanese Hezbollah, Palestinian Resistance and Iran.
Though the Syrian democratic structure needed revamping and some constitutional amendments seemed necessary, the situation was much better in this country compared to the Arab kingdoms. To mislead the public opinion in Syria and incite the people to stand up against the government, in the early days of protests which had started in the city of Dar’a, some protestors were killed in armed attacked attributed to the government. Though some measures taken by the al-Asad Administration to control the public protests were not proper enough, leaked information showed that a number of armed terrorist groups had already infiltrated into the public protests to turn them into a gory scene of war and bloodshed. As the revolutions were making their ways through public demonstrations in other countries, news from Syria indicated a bloody wave sweeping across the country. Rumors began to go around that the Army forces were separating from the Syrian government. These separatists later became known as the so called “Free Syrian Army.”
The Syrian people who were not for destruction and bloodshed didn’t welcome armed conflicts and therefore Takfiri groups from neighboring countries like Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Arab countries entered Syria to wreak havoc on this country.
As the crisis intensified in Syria, a new plot began to hatch in Arab countries; in an unprecedented move, Takfiri and Wahhabi scholars in Saudi Arabia issued a so called jihad fatwa against the Syrian government.
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Arab man: “I swear to God that we will tear their bodies apart and throw them before dogs.”
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Arab man: “I swear to God, I swear to God that we will dispatch our armies towards you and eat you. Yes, we will eat you.”
TIME CODE: 10:00_15:00
Narration: With the widespread financial support from Saudi Arabia and some other Arab states in the region, Takfirism, as an extremist movement, has grown up in some Wahhabi religious schools in countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and India. These schools have been the breeding ground for people who deem that Islam is a religion of violence and extremism. This school of thinking claims to favor a type of Islam practiced by the Prophet of Islam and his companions at the dawn of Islam. These self-proclaimed champions of pristine Islam long for establishing a government like that established by the Omavid rulers. That’s why they insist to use the word “the Levant” instead of Syria to include in their hypothetical territory in addition to Syria countries like Jordan, Lebanon, Occupied Palestine, as well as parts of Iraq and the Sinai Peninsula. Takfiris believe that except for Wahhabists, followers of all other Islamic schools of thought have to join them; otherwise they will be excommunicated and as infidels they have to die. The fact is that this way of thinking has nothing to do with Islam and its ideals. The Takfiris’ interpretation of Islam is fallacious and untrue. Under such circumstances, terrorist militants from all over the world have swarmed into Syria, armed and funded by Arab countries and the West to pursue goals far beyond overthrowing Bashar Al-Asad.
Those have been brainwashed in Takfiri schools for years, this time appeared on stage under the banner of Islamic jihad pretending to revive pure Islam with all their heart and soul. But what did they do except for butchering innocent people, helpless Syrian women and children and in the name of Islam? All of a sudden, the world that had been preoccupied with the Islamic Awakening in the region was struck with horror of the crimes committed in Syria. Soon a large part of Syria lay in ruins after being occupied by terrorist groups. Groups like Daesh, the al-Nusra Front, Ahrar ash-Sham and a number of other terrorist groups that committed many crimes in Syria on a daily basis. As the figures show, over the past four years, more than 200 thousand people in Syria have lost their lives and millions of them have been displaced.
Narration: The inhumane phenomenon of Takfirism had to gain more power and recruit more soldiers to fulfill bigger goals. The first step was to kill Shia and Sunni Muslims on a large scale in order to undermine the growing power of Islam which was in fact the terrorist group’s raison d'être was to speared insecurity in other regional countries so as to take over the new Middle East the US had drawn its map years ago. The purpose was to divert public opinion from the Israeli occupation of Palestine to domestic issues of the regional countries and also to provide enough excuses for supremacist powers to send their armies to the region. Instead of fighting the common enemy of the Islamic world, these apparently Islamic groups have taken aim at Muslims, ravaging their homes and property and violating their wives as the best spoils of their victory.
TIME CODE: 15:00_20:00
Narration: Now the mainstream media are dealing with the sectarian conflicts between Shia and Sunni Muslims, an issue that made us set off for Sunni-populated provinces at the east and west borders of Iran so as to ask them about the relationship between takfiri groups like Daesh and Islam.
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Sunni man: “Fratricide and genocide are forbidden in Islam. Islam is the religion of mercy and love. Islam doesn’t promote violence. Islam condemns it.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Sunni man: “They have nothing to do with Sunni Muslims although they pretend to be so. They are not Sunni Muslims. A Muslim who says his prayers never kills his brother. Surely, a Sunni Muslim never does such a thing. Anyone who believes in God and the Prophet, says his prayers and is an orthodox Muslim never sheds his Muslim brother’s blood. A drop of an innocent Muslim’s blood can rock heaven, seriously.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Sunni man: “We suspect the things happened recently in Syria, Iraq and other countries. They are not about the war between Islam and infidelity. They are infidels’ pawns and part of their scheme to reach their goals.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Sunni man: “They have no respect for Islam. We must not pay attention to these words. We must worship God. That’s it. We have nothing to do with takfir groups.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Local man: “Neither Sunni Muslims nor Shia Muslims, nor any human being can in all conscience kills another human being, Muslim or brother. No one is for it. I don’t know from where they have come and what they have been told about.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Local man: “Al-Qaeda has morphed into Daesh. They are not Muslims; they are infidels. If they believed in God, would they behead 400 women and children? Are they Muslims? No way! They are filthier than pigs!”
Narration: Takfiris with their symbolic black flag and Islamic slogans put emphasis on the enforcement of Islamic laws but what’s Sunni scholars’ take on this issue? Does Daesh’s behavior have any place in Islam?
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Seraj al-Din Rabbani, Sunni Religious Scholar, Iranshahr: “These are not the Prophet’s teachings. The Prophet hasn’t said that you wage a war and behead whoever you like and strike terror in the hearts of innocent people particularly women, children and the elderly. They are Muslims in name only but are doing what the archenemy of Islam, that is Zionism, is doing in Palestine and other parts of the world. We condemn such things.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Ghader Ghaderi, Sunni Religious Scholar, West Iran: “During WWI and WWII, the US and European countries took over most of the Islamic countries but they only took the lands and bodies. When they left, their thoughts left with them too.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Abd al-Sammad Karimzaei, Sunni Religious Scholar, East Iran: “According to the leader of the Islamic Revolution, currently Europe feels the Islamic Awakening and people there are inclined toward Islam and these people are portraying Islam badly and they are active in Islamic countries like Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. They’re doing such things. Their ultimate goal is set Muslims against each other without themselves being involved. They have no other purpose.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Ghader Ghaderi, Sunni Religious Scholar, West Iran: “This time that they returned, they tried to change the mindset of Muslims and set them against each other and sow division and create among Sunni Muslims groups like Wahhabi, Salafi, Takfiri and Jihadi. They created division among themselves and did extremist things to Shia Muslism. There are also some instances of extremism among Shia Muslims. I think that none of them are in Muslims’ interests.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Eghbal Bahmani, Sunni Religious Scholar, Kurdistan Province: “As a Shafei scholar who has studied the religious canon, I daresay that we are not allowed to shed a Muslim’s blood or violate his wife, God forbidden.”
TIME CODE: 20:00_25:00
Narration: With the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979, the Islamic groups in this country stood up to defend their land against the Soviet intruders. Ten years after the onset of the war, the country was never occupied completely by the Soviets and the invasion turned out to be a war of attrition for the USSR Army. On the other hand, with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the US found its interests in danger so it began to arm different groups in this country. As the Soviet Army was forced to retreat, the conflict erupted between different jihadi groups as they tried to establish a new government. They were separated into different groups spreading insecurity and destroying resources in the country. Among the dissident groups, later the Taliban came to the foreground. With the help of Pakistan’s intelligence services, the group managed to take a considerable part of Afghanistan under its own control in a short period of time. The emergence of the Taliban in Afghanistan provided an opportunity for Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda to use this country as their stronghold to organize and train their own forces. Al-Qaeda consisted of Arab and non-Arab forces that have come to Afghanistan from different countries during the Soviet invasion and used to enjoy supports from the West and Arab States. With the emergence of the Taliban, they came back again to Afghanistan. This time, their stated aim was to wage a phony war against the US and the West throughout the world. The USS Cole bombing in the Yemeni port of Aden, bombing some US Embassies in Kenya, Tanzania and finally the September 11 attacks prepared public opinion for the US war on al-Qaeda, Afghanistan and later Iraq, under the pretext of “War on Terror.”
The war the US waged under the name of bringing democracy to Afghanistan and Iraq was in fact to control rich oil and mineral resources in these two countries. 15 years on, not only hasn’t the US invasion uprooted al-Qaeda, it is helped terrorism spread throughout the whole region. After al-Qaeda passed the expiry date, brand-new Daesh came out of the crises in the region to become a household name and act in line with the US interests in the region.
In March 2003 the US launched amphibious attacks on Iraq claiming to destroy weapons of mass destruction in the country. After all, weapons of mass destruction were never found in Iraq but the occupation of the country set the stage ready for takfiri groups to organize and recruit their members in the name of confronting the occupiers. In reality, however, these groups took aim more at innocent people and planted their bombs in civil residential areas, without really fighting the occupiers. Among these groups, the most violent was Daesh. This group adopted its final name after the eruption of crises in Syria to include this country in the sphere of its activities. This terrorist group used the presence of the US troops on the Iraqi soil as its own excuse for any inhumane crimes it committed. It was just a few months after the occupation of Iraq that bombs began to go off in Shia religious centers and religious figures became targets of assassination plans throughout the country. It was never clear if this terrorist group really fought the occupiers or not but it was beyond doubt that sowing divisions among Islamic sects was the group’s main mission.
TIME CODE: 25:00_30:00
Narration: Meanwhile, the mainstream media became the mouthpiece of Daesh and other Takfiri groups, covering all their military operations from A to Z. Their media coverage functioned as propaganda videos for the terrorist groups showing them as impressive and fearsome organizations. In addition, the media insisted to refer to them as “the Islamic State” to attribute their violence to Islam. The role of English and American media must not be overlooked in this regard as they tried to fan the flames of sectarianism between Shia and Sunni Muslims, beating the drums of divisions and excommunication among them. Despite public protests against the destructive role these extremist so-called religious media played in society, they were given a free reign to do whatever they wanted. But the endless lenses in Syria and Iraq had yet another mission to accomplish; magnifying Daesh’s power. This way, the West could get the green light from the public to military costs of the possible war on Daesh. The media that at first called the terrorist groups opponents of the Syrian government and paved the way for the Paris Meeting which aimed to fund and arm them, now had another job to do. They had to persuade more countries to join what they called “the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL”, a strategy to ensure the military presence of the US and its allies in the region. The coalition was also supposed to show the West as the savior of the world.
In August 2015, the Huffingtin Post estimated that the territory under Daesh’s control added up to 13,000 square kilometers, that is, the size of Belgium. Though the territory is mainly made up of arid lands, it provides the terrorist group with oil wells of Syria and Iraq. It’s estimated that Daesh makes 3 million dollars a day from the illegal oil it sells to its supporting countries, without any problem or pressure add to that number another 2 billion dollars in financial aids from robbing banks, military garrisons and people’s houses. But how Daesh is selling oil and how it can access to the petro-dollars are two questions that must be answered, two questions the Western media prefer to skip. The fact that Daesh can act almost freely without any serious pressure from the international community can lead us to an overarching plan designed by the powers that be. It seems that the interests of the Western countries and the Israel regime lie in a bank and oil trade with Daesh. But yet another question, why should Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has innocent Palestinians’ blood on his hands visit terrorist fighters injured in Syria at hospitals in the Israeli-occupied territories and let them have the best medical services there.
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Terrorist fighter: “I feel very comfortable here. Medical treatment here in Israel is much better than in Jordan. I was in Jordan for treatment but I didn’t remain there because the services were not satisfactory.”
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister: “God bless you!”
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Unknown man: “Be healthy.”
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Terrorist fighter: “You too.”
Narration: The important thing is the interaction these terrorist groups have with the Israeli regime on the border of Syria and the occupied territories. These images show that Takfiri terrorists open fire from the occupied territories towards the Syrian soil.
SOUNDBITE [Hebrew] Israeli Channel 2: “These Daesh forces are inside the occupied territories. But it must be noted that this group pose no danger to Israeli soldiers and these anti-Syrian regime groups are being supported by Israel.”
TIME CODE: 30:00_35:00
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Abu Omar, Senior Member of Daesh: “Our objective is to make peace with Israel.”
Narration: The Israeli regime waged the 51 Day War on the innocent people of Gaza the same time these terrorist groups invaded parts of Iraq and Syria. During the 51 Day War more than 2,000 innocent people were killed which enraged the entire world and prompted widespread protests against the atrocities of this regime. That’s while, Daesh did nothing in protest. By the same token, those so-called religious leaders who issued a jihad fatwa against the Syrian government, this time declared that they were against the Palestinian resistance and that Syria and Iraq were their first priority and that they wouldn’t fight the Israeli regime before the fall of these two countries. Here is the Syrian soil, exactly during the Israeli invasion of Gaza. The so-called Islamic Takfiri groups trample over the Palestinian flag to show overtly their objective in Syria and Iraq.
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Unknown man: “Our brothers in Saladin Governorate, you must know that the massacre in Gaza has nothing to do with us because our problem is not Israel. We trample over the flag so as not to be distracted from our main goal.”
Narration: But the main dream of Daesh, as its name indicates, is to establish an Islamic state in Iraq and the Levant. However, four years after its appearance, the group has not been able to fulfill that dream. In fact, Daesh was pushed into a corner when Sunni and Shia religious leaders in Iraq and Syria called for fighting the terrorist groups. As a result, the military power of this terrorist group shrank as many people mobilized to counter it. Every day, hundreds of Daesh militants meet their death by the militia and army forces. So far, a number of cities have been recaptured and purged from this group. These are the signs that show Daesh’s power has already begun to wane.
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Brigadier General Qasim Ata, Spokesman, Iraqi Army: “The armed forced have taken the situation under control. Over the past three days, the Iraqi Army has conducted special operations in different regions and have won striking victories. The volunteers have made a substantial contribution to these victories. The good news is the army has recaptured two new areas controlled by Daesh, with the help of the Iraqi militia and nomads.”
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Unknown Iraqi Protester: “We’ve come to fight the coward terrorists. They want to desecrate our religious places but we’ll never let them.”
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Unknown Iraqi Protester: “In fact, the supporters of Daesh are the Zionists and the global arrogance.”
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Unknown Iraqi Protester: “We young people are volunteers to serve our own country and fight Daesh terrorists.”
Narration: One of the objectives of Daesh in the strategic region of the Middle East, in addition to secure the Israeli regime’s security, is to destroy the infrastructures of the countries in the region. Just for such an objective, the so-called global coalition was formed to counter the self-made terrorist group, namely Daesh. But not only wasn’t the coalition global at all, of the 40 countries that were told to join the coalition only five countries of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Jordan worked hand in glove with the US. These countries that were involved in the creation of Daesh and its funding now were to bring to stage the second part of their scenario. The coalition was aimed to take advantage of the situation and expand its sphere of influence over the Resistance Axis countries.
The so- called coalition was not to defeat Daesh, a terrorist group that has displaced thousands of Izadi Kurds in Iraq and tens of thousands of people in Kobani, Syrian. The coalition was to bombard oil refineries, military garrison and basic infrastructures in these two countries.
TIME CODE: 35:00_40:00
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Leader of the Islamic Revolution:
“They had already formed a coalition against Syria with much ado around the world. They gathered 40-odd countries without doing a damn thing towards Syria. The same goes for Iraq. They don’t want to make a serious attempt. The move made against Daesh that broke its back was not the US feat. They know this well, Daesh knows it well, the Iraqi people know it well; they know that the feat was accomplished by the Iraqi people, by the Iraqi Army and by the militia forces who had learned well how to combat Daesh. They have stroked heavy blows so far and from now on they will deliver the blow. They will see. With this move, the US is looking for an excuse to do what it does in Pakistan – despite an independent government and a powerful army, the US enters Pakistan without permission and bombards wherever it wants – it wants to do the same in Iraq and Syria. They must know that if they do so, the same problems will happen to them that happened over the ten years in Iraq.”
Narration: The coalition’s air strikes didn’t do any good in defeating the terrorist group. In fact, the fatal blow was delivered by the Iraqi militia and army forces. But the important thing to remember is that the creation of Daesh in the region was to counter the Islamic Awakening and to turn it into a case of Islamophobia.
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Abd Al-Samad Karimzaei, Sunni Religious Scholar, East Iran: “An extremist, whether Sunni or Shia, is an extremist. The Takfiris who go from one extreme to the other are the descendants of the Khawarij. They have no fundamental things which have been extracted from the Quran, the Prophet’s sayings, scholars’ consensus or critical thinking. Our references are these: the Quran, the Prophet’s sayings, scholars’ consensus and critical thinking. They have none of these things as their reference. When they don’t have them, extremism comes into being automatically.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Muhammad Muhammadi, Friday Prayers Imam, Kermanshah Province: “Through different ways… the evildoers and the enemies of the religion have led them astray, we don’t agree with them.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Seraj Al-din Rabbani, Sunni Religious Scholar, Iranshahr: “We advise all from different sects and groups not to be deceived by such people and not to do things that might mar the image of Islam.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Ghader Ghaderi, Sunni Religious Scholar, West Iran: “Suicide attacks to kill innocent people only serve one purpose; to show a distorted image of Islam to non-Muslims. So I think we must be more vigilant. If we stand some of our problems is better to cause trouble for the Islamic world while trying to solve those problems. This is my opinion.”
Narration: As the last divine religion, Islam was introduced by Prophet Muhammad, the last messenger of God whose book, the holy Quran, was to show the path of guidance to the world. Today, more than one billion Muslims are living around the world and as people know more about Islam, more people convert to this divine religion. That’s while the enemies of Islam are denying this fact and try sow divisions among Muslims through extremist groups like Takfiris. Today, the archenemies of Muslims are those countries that support such extremist groups; those who are afraid of Muslims and their call for justice.
TIME CODE: 40:00_43:47
Narration: Yesterday al-Qaeda, today Daesh and tomorrow another group; these are just stooges and not the main enemy and don’t have much power; otherwise they must have conquered Iraq and Syria, given the considerable aids they have received so far. The main enemy is the US and the Israeli regime that are pursuing their own goals in the region by creating divisions among Muslims. Thanks to the role played by religious scholars, intellectuals and university teachers in raising awareness, the Takfiris’ days are numbered and its agendas are longer hidden from the general public.
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Ghader Ghaderi, Sunni Religious Scholare, West Iran: “Today, those who benefit from the division between us are Israel, the US and the UK.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Eghbal Bahmani, Sunni Religious Scholar, Kurdistan Province: “It’s necessary for Shia and Sunni Muslims to revolve around the Quran and the Prophet’s (PBUH) traditions and avoid extremism.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Local man in Sistan & Bluchestan Province: “Let’s not allow foreigners create divisions between us and take our peace away from us.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] local man in Kermanshah Province: “I’m personally prepared to sacrifice my live for the sake of the country and don’t allow anything bad happen to my country.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Abd Al-Samad Karimzaei, Sunni Religious Scholar, East Iran: “We must be aware. They want to set all Muslim countries against each other.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Muhammad Amin Rasti, Friday Prayers Imam, Sanandaj: “So, what’s the solution? I think both Sunni and Shia scholars have failed in their duty. They let Daesh come into being. We must introduce people the pristine Islam and tell them what extremism is and what Imams’ teachings are.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Local man: “I have one thing to tell the whole nation; to be each other’s brothers and don’t let others come and sow divisions among us and be united with each other.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Local man: “If we are united, no one can defeat us.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Nazir Ahmad Salami, Sunni Member of the Assembly of Experts: “This crisis will be solved soon and the only solution for it is to use the potential and to be aware of the challenges and threats under the auspices of national unity.”