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Bloodshed in Iraq stuns Islamic leader based in Rockhampton

GROWING CRISIS: Displaced Iraqis from the Yazidi community gather for humanitarian aid at the Syria-Iraq border. Kurdish authorities at the border believe about 45,000 Yazidis passed the river crossing in the past week and thousands more are still stranded in the mountains.
GROWING CRISIS: Displaced Iraqis from the Yazidi community gather for humanitarian aid at the Syria-Iraq border. Kurdish authorities at the border believe about 45,000 Yazidis passed the river crossing in the past week and thousands more are still stranded in the mountains. Khalid Mohammed

DR ALI Arshad is horrified by the bloody warfare being waged by Islamic radicals in Iraq.

The president of the Islamic Society of Central Queensland has condemned the actions of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) jihadists and is fearful of the growing reach of radicalism.

"This is absolutely not acceptable," he said yesterday. "It is simply inhuman and really disturbing.

"I just cannot believe it. We are deeply saddened by what is happening.

"This has nothing to do with religion; it is nothing to do with Islam."

The ISIS reign of terror has seen more than 500,000 people in Iraq displaced by violence since June.

Dr Arshad said his sentiments were shared by the society's 350-strong membership.

He was concerned that the community often had trouble distinguishing between the genuine followers and the radical element.

"The meaning of Islam is peace," he said.

"We are told by our prophets very clearly that even the enemy should be treated humanely.

"Ours is a very moral religion. People need to understand what our view is.

"These radicals are harming our real religion, real Islam. It is harming what we practice and what we believe."

There was public outcry yesterday after an image was published on the front page of The Australian showing a seven-year-old boy holding the decapitated head of a slain Syrian soldier.

Dr Arshad described the photograph as "absolutely frightening".

He believes the longer the conflict runs in Iraq, the greater the chance more youngsters will be radicalised.

And he said the events in Palestine, and the horrific killing and endless suffering in Gaza, would also play a significant part.

WHAT IS ISLAM?

Islam is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion articulated by the Koran, a book considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of God.

An adherent of Islam is called a Muslim.

The root Arabic word from which Islam is derived implies peace, safety, salutation, protection, blamelessness, wholesomeness, submission, acceptance, surrender and salvation.

Most Muslims are of two denominations: Sunni or Shia.

About 13% of Muslims live in Indonesia, the largest Muslim-majority country; 25% in South Asia; 20% in the Middle East; and 15% in Sub-Saharan Africa.

With about 1.6 billion followers or 23% of earth's population, Islam is the second-largest religion and arguably the fastest-growing major religion in the world.

REGION'S RELIGIONS

2011 census figures show the most common responses for religion in Rockhampton (statistical local areas) were:

Catholic 26.5%

Anglican 19.3%

No religion 18.2%

Uniting Church 7.6%

Presbyterian and reformed 4.4%



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