Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat—The Islamic Front, a coalition of seven major Islamist rebel groups fighting against the Assad regime, has announced that it opposes the establishment of a civil and secular state, reaffirming its commitment to establishing an Islamic state in Syria.
The Islamic Front issued a statement on Tuesday during which it highlighted its Umma Project, a project to establish an Islamic state. The statement said: “In light of the arrogance and tyranny of the Assad regime and the international community’s betrayal of the just cause of the Syrian people . . . the objectives of the Islamic Front can only be achieved through military force.”
The establishment of the Islamic Front, which describes itself as an “independent political, military and social formation,” represented a major blow to the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition and the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
Both are seeking to topple the Assad regime in order to establish a secular and democratic Syria. In exclusive comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, FSA spokesman Luay Al-Miqdad said: “The form of the future state is to be determined by the majority of the Syrian people. No faction or group, however large, has the right to determine the form of the future state without reference to the will of the people.”
“The Supreme Military Council of the FSA emphasizes its respect for freedom of opinion and belief, particularly given that the majority of the Syrian people are moderate Muslims who know their religion and their rights and duties,” he added.
The Islamic Front said it welcomes any support or assistance that helps topple the regime, providing that it does not come with any politicized aims to derail the revolution or includes any foreign attempts to hijack the decision-making process.
“Any political process that fails to acknowledge Islamic Shari’a law as the only source of legislation . . . contradicts Islam and is an illegal framework that the Islamic Front cannot participate in or acknowledge,” the statement said.
Commenting on the newly formed Islamic Front, Miqdad told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The front’s fighters are brothers and jihadists who have made considerable sacrifices for the revolution.”
However, he stressed that the Islamic Front’s own charter highlights the Islamic principle of shura (Consultation), which calls for people’s opinions and views to be taken into account.
“Now is not the time to discuss these issues, and it would be better to delay discussions until after the fall of Assad,” Miqdad added.
The Islamic Front, which includes a Kurdish rebel group, also sought to address Syria’s minorities, assuring them that it “seeks to ensure that the Kurds secure their rights under an Islamic rule.”
However, the Islamist umbrella group said that it rejects any project that aims to divide Syrian territory based on a national or ethnic basis.
Regarding the foreign jihadists fighting in Syria, the Islamic Front said: “They are our brothers who have stood beside us and we appreciate and thank them for their jihad.”
“We must protect them and preserve their dignity,” the group added.
The Islamic Front announced that it rejects the idea of the establishment of a civil and secular state, adding this “contradicts Islam, which regulates the affairs of individuals, society and the state.”