(AA) – Rachid Ghannouchi, the leader of Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda movement, has deplored the immolation of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasba by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
“Execution by fire is a brutal act which has never been part of Islamic history,” Ghannouchi, whose group holds the second most number of seats in the Tunisian parliament, told The Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview, excerpts of which were published on Thursday.
An online video purportedly showing al-Kasasba being burnt alive inside a makeshift cage set up by his ISIL captors went viral on Tuesday.
The strongly graphic video sent shockwaves across Jordan, which is a member of an ongoing U.S.-led air campaign against the militant group, as well as a fresh wave of global outrage against the ISIL’s practices,
Ghannouchi’s condemnation comes in response to claims which have surfaced after the video’s release arguing that execution by fire was allowed under Islamic Sharia law.
“Such aberrant ideas justifying bloodshed have been present since Islam’s early stages but they completely contradict with the Quran,” Ghannouchi said.
He went on to say that al-Kasasba’s execution has driven conflict in the Middle East to “a high level of brutality.”
Al-Kasasba was captured by ISIL militants after his fighter plane crashed in the Syrian city of Raqqa last December.
Shortly after the appearance of Tuesday’s video, Jordanian authorities executed two Iraqi nationals – Sajida al-Rishawi and Ziyad al-Karbouli – who had been on a death row since 2006 after being convicted of terrorism by a Jordanian court.
Last summer, the ISIL captured large swathes of land in Iraq and Syria, killing thousands of people in the process. It later declared the captured territories to be part of a self-styled “Islamic caliphate.”
Since the group captured the northern Iraqi city of Mosul in June of last year, a U.S.-led coalition – which includes Jordan – has carried out numerous airstrikes against ISIL targets in both Iraq and Syria.