Hundreds of Muslims around the globe are flooding social media with campaigns against ISIS, using the hashtag #NotInMyName to claim that the terrorist group has nothing to do with their religion.
The question that the online campaign raises is whether or not Islam can actually separate itself from ISIS or if they are intrinsically intertwined.
Burt Page, a captain in the United States Army and Oklahoma National Guard, expressed that he believes ISIS and Islam can be separated as two different entities.
“Islam as a whole is a peaceful religion,” said Page.
He added that taking the terrorists as representations of the religion as a whole would be like using Westboro Baptist Church to represent Christianity.
“They may act under the guise of a true and valid religion but have perverted it to further their own cause,” Page said.
The campaign led by Muslims to detach themselves from ISIS is actually effective, Page’s reaction was positive.
“With online media being the most efficient way to reach the masses, I would have to stipulate to the possibility that it is somewhat effective,” said Page.
“I think the Muslim community must stand at the forefront of the fight against ISIS and similar groups.”
Page said that Muslims who do not stand to fight ISIS because they are also Muslims are validating that the terrorists are an acceptable part of their religion.
Page said that these are his personal opinions and do not necessarily represent the views of the United States Army or Oklahoma National Guard.
David Vila, professor of religion and philosophy, had a different view on the issue.
In his opinion, ISIS and Islam cannot be separated.
“ISIS is Muslim,” said Vila.
“It is a branch of Islam that most Muslims are uncomfortable with and embarrassed by, but it is still a branch of Islam.”
A frequent visitor to the Middle East, Vila said that online advocacy is ineffective. Although he is very involved in following the topic of ISIS and other Islamic terrorist groups, he has not heard of the campaign #NotInMyName.
“It falls on deaf ears,” said Vila.
He pointed out that despite online advocacy, Muslim nations are reluctant to get involved in the conflict.
USA Today reports that, as of Sept. 22, the hashtag had been used over 10,000 times.
Whether or not the campaign accomplishes their goal or adequately represents Islam, the hashtag #NotInMyName continues.