Haider Ajina sent this translation of a headline and news published by the Iraqi Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat on March 16th. I take stock in the fact that Haider also says that this is the best news out of Iraq in many months:
Iraqi Sunni & Shiite Religious leaders decree the spilling of innocent Iraqi blood is a sin, and call for the rejection of sectarianism
Iraqi Sunni & Shiite religious leaders decree that corroborating & supporting terrorists and the spilling of Iraqi blood is a sin. This decree came during a conference sponsored by “The foundation for humanitarian dialogue” lead by Mr. Hussein Alsadar under the slogan “Hand in hand towards one Islam and a united Iraq”. This conference is one of the many efforts to avoid sectarian disorder, which followed the attacks on the Shrine in Samarah.
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“Alsadar (not Muktada Alsadar, this family is a large family in Iraq) affirmed during his speech at the conference the importance of hard work towards an Iraqi national unity and ‘Forbid sectarian fighting and respect the role of worship of all religions and beliefs and the necessity of implementing this in all lectures, symposiums, meetings and in mosques and shrines’.
“The first sections of this conference were set aside for speeches by religious leaders from, Kurdistan, Basra, Diala, Babylon, Karbala, Najaf, Naserieh, Baghdad, Anbar, Salahudien, Nenewa, Muthena, Wasit, Maysan, and Diwanieh (these are almost all the provinces in Iraq since Kurdistan has three). The speeches affirmed the importance of ‘unity of ranks, collective condemnation of detestable sectarianism, to build a free democratic Iraq thriving with the blessing of prosperity and peace’. Participants affirmed the importance of ‘dialogue and deliberation between all Iraqis, avoid rancor, bigotry and fight terrorism and expiationists (this is the name given to Muslims who use Islam to divide Muslims and entice violence in the name of Islam) who work to divide, tear us apart and spread chaos and corruption in the land. They target Shiite mosques and shrines and then they target Sunni mosques and shrines their aim to create disorder and sectarian strife’.
“A joint statement came out of this conference to be used as a script of dialogue between Iraqis. The statement called for spreading the spirit of forgiveness, equality, and affirms the importance of religious, spiritual, moral and humanitarian values and spreading the culture of dialogue. Fighting all kinds of blind bigotry, prejudice, extremism, fight terrorism and repel all its forms and sectarian violence and all who stand behind it foreign or domestic. Establish local conferences, display and make available literature promoting enlightenment, science, education and culture. Focus on the similar foundations of all faiths and sects, promote rapprochement and denounce culture of division. We call on the politicians and political groups to expedite the formation of a strong government of national unity, capable of repelling the terrorist planning to pull Iraq into civil war’.
“Conference attendees prompted the country to ‘respect the sanctity of religious sights, houses of prayer and forbid attacks on them’ they also asked neighboring countries to ‘respect the unity of Iraq and its sovereignty and not to meddle in Iraq’s internal affairs’.
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“Conference attendees formed an implementation committee to follow up on the recommendation coming from the conference and to help implement them. All religious leaders attending this conference signed a decree declaring a sin, ‘the shedding of human blood regardless of their religion, their belief, or ethnic origin, with out due process. Further it is a sin to violate the sanctity of religious sights, houses of prayer and mosques and attacking government buildings and its institutions, and reject any cooperation with terrorists no matter what their origin or affiliation”.
This remarkable conference, which came as a result of vicious terrorist attacks, attacks to entice Iraqis into civil war. This conference has done exactly the opposite of what the terrorist wanted. It seems to have awakened the true calling of Iraq’s Muslim religious leaders, Shiite and Sunni united in condemning terrorism, bigotry and promoting tolerance, healing and knowledge. This is the true calling of Islam, submission to God, freedom and protection of the individual, equality before God and the law, the pursuit of knowledge and enlightenment. These fundamentals of Islam are what gave Islam its age of enlightenment when Europe was in its darkest hours. This resurgence of tolerance and pursuit of knowledge is what will bring Islam out of its dark ages and defeat the intolerant extremists. Fortunately Muslims have their past history of the golden age of Islam to aspire to. Muslims calling for the end of violent extremism is needed to end this violent movement. The early calls for this end have just been heard from the newest democracy in the Middle East.