12/05/2016, 12.27
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Grand Mufti of Damascus: Europe aid Syria to extinguish the fire of fundamentalism

An inter-religious meeting of Muslim and Christian leaders in Dublin. Sheikh Ahmad Badr El Din Hassun against the Arab nations and the Gulf monarchies who want to destroy the multi-ethnic and cultural soul of the country. Gregory III Laham: work for peace, not for blame. "We are all guilty in war."


Dublin (AsiaNews) - After five years "I was able to go [to Aleppo] and I brought 2200 repentant combatants with me in," who received  "the government's pardon"; an initiative that has distant past positions which saw the death sentence dealt out to those found guilty of  killing of civilians”, revealed the Grand Mufti of the Republic of Syria, Sheikh Ahmad Badr El Din Hassun, invited to Dublin (Ireland) along with the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II and the Greek-Melkite Patriarch Gregory III Laham.

The of Syrian Muslim and Christian religious leaders spoke December 1 before the Irish Joint Committee for Business, Trade and Defense.

In particular, the Grand Mufti has deepened the situation of Syria and of his native city, Aleppo, where he was unable to return since the outbreak of the war. Sunni Muslim, Sheikh Ahmad Badr El Din Hassun has always stood against inter-confessional or religious division between the various souls of the country.

 A staunch supporter of the multicultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious soul of Syria, he attracted the enmity of many Islamic religious and government leaders, especially between the various monarchies of the Gulf countries.

At the beginning of the war, he said an Arab prince "offered me a large sum of money and a house, if I decided to flee Syria and declare myself against the government." At his refusal, some mercenaries sent to fight in Syria killed his son "throwing his body in front of the entrance to the mosque." Not content, the grave of the murdered son was later desecrated and the body transported to an unknown location.

The Grand Mufti Hassoun called on "the Europeans who want peace in Syria, to travel to Damascus and discuss it with President Bashar al-Assad".  He therefore called for the European public to " not believe what is being spread by the press in the West", which aims to denigrate his country and distort reality. It is necessary, he added, "to always hear the two bells." "Syria - said Hassun - needs Europeans to tame the raging fire, which threatens to spread to the whole world."

The war that has raged for five years in the land of Omeyadi, the Mufti said, "Iran and Russia defend Syria, while 180 nations of the world have come to destroy it." The price paid by Syria has been very high, having to face "300 thousand fighters from all over the world" in the form of volunteers and mercenaries.

He directly charged Saudi Arabia and Qatar whom he says have "threatened the Islamic militia with death if they refused to continue fighting." Without mentioning names, the Mufti spoke of "Islamic centers" in Europe, who praised "the creation of an Islamic caliphate in Syria".

Responding to a question on the chemical weapons used in Syria, the Grand Mufti said that " unlawful combatants and not the government killed civilians with chemical weapons”. He also explained why, although invited, he has not been able to come to Europe to talk about Syria since 2008. The reason, adds the Sunni Muslim leader, is that "two Arab countries had asked officially I be sileneced, accusing me of being a secularist”.

Following concerns raised by the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch on the future of Christians in Syria "threatened in their own existence," the Grand Mufti Hassoun said that there would be no danger if the Syrians were left to decide for themselves.

"Syria - he explained - is a united and unique country, without any distinctions between confessions, religions and ethnicities, which is rare if not impossible in any other nation in the world." He also expressed sorrow for "Christian children who were killed by jihadists during Christian holidays," referring to the killing last year in Aleppo of some children at the hands of snipers in the east of the city, during the Christmas holidays . At the meeting in Dublin on Patriarch Gregory III Laham also underlined that "we are here to work for peace, not for blame; it is a war and in a war everyone is guilty. "

However, the visit of the Grand Mufti Hassoun - along with a Syrian religious delegation - has been severely criticized by Ali Salim, head of the Islamic Cultural Centre in Ireland [entities financed by Saudi Arabia].

He pointed out that the Mufti "he asked the Syrian government in a sermon to clean the country up of Islamic fighters criminals", that operate exploiting their religion. He went on to charge the Grand Mufti with  "having blood on his hands" and of being co-responsible "for killing Syrians."

The ISSM, Irish Solidarity Movement for Syria, appealed to the police demanding the arrest of the Grand Mufti, on charges of "incitement to hatred"; a request based on Irish law number 2014 related to terrorist crimes. The Ministry of Interior did not comment on the affair, adding that the ministry is not in the habit commenting on individual cases.

The Grand Mufti has solemnly refuted the charges, denouncing it as false and tendentious news filtered in Irish Islamic circles that he had, in the past, threatened to send terrorists in Europe. "I do not know why you push a lie up to this point," the Grand Mufti said, with the help of the interpreter, before the Irish parliamentary committee. He stated that he had spoken only of the fact that continuing to "bomb Syria and Lebanon would only serve to wake up sleeper cells in Europe." The sermon, in 2011 and in recent years has spread on YouTube, and has given rise to various interpretations. (PB)

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See also
Beirut on the brink of another civil war
Commitment to the Qu'ran without fundamentalism, says grand mufti
Greek-Catholic Patriarch for the return of displaced people to Mount Lebanon
Responding to Kerry, Patriarch Laham says war is taking place in Syria, not genocide
18/03/2016 19:42
Gregory III Laham: as Lebanon closes borders, the plight of Syrian Christians gets worse


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