Iraq's Shias, Sunnis sign peace appeal in Mecca

About 50 Iraqi Muslim scholars representing the country's Shia and Sunni communities met yesterday at the royal palace in Mecca, Saudi Arabia that overlooks the Ka'aba, Islam's holiest site, and signed an edict (Fatwa) making attacks on Muslims in Iraq a

Iraq's Shias, Sunnis sign peace appeal in Mecca

The meeting was held under the auspices of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the world's largest Muslim political grouping, with the aim of ending the deadly attacks in Iraq that have escalated to alarming levels and continue to claim scores of civilian lives everyday.

The OIC's initiative aims at stopping "the turmoil in Iraq out of consciousness of its responsibility before Allah, the Islamic nation and history," OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said in a statement. Iraq's Shia and Sunni leaders will carry the Mecca Document, which was prepared by the OIC, back to Iraq to end spiraling violence in the Islamic country, added the OIC head in a statement.

The names of the scholars who took part in the initiative haven't been revealed to the media.

"The document is aimed at ending bloodshed among Muslims in Iraq and putting an end to the sectarian fighting and the terrorizing of the innocent people there," Mahdi Fathallah, the director of OIC's political affairs, said at a press conference on Friday.

"The sectarian fighting in Iraq has caused a great deal of concern, not only for the Iraqi people but for all Muslims," he said. "It, therefore, became incumbent upon the Ummah to try and defuse the situation," he added, citing a Qur'anic verse that says: "If two parties among the believers fall into a quarrel, make peace between them."

The meeting however has no political agenda, Mr. Fathallah stressed.

"The Ulemas (Sunni clerics) have issued a fatwa that has obtained the support of the Marjaya (Shia religious authorities) in Iraq and it should be implemented," OIC Secretary General said.

The text, expected to be distributed throughout Iraq in Arabic and English, also calls for suspected criminals to be judged 'in a just manner'.

The Mecca Document, which includes calls to safeguard the 'goods, blood and honour of the Muslim', received full approval from Iraq's key religious and political leaderships, including Shia leader Ali Al-Sistani, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki and Shia Cleric Muqtada Al Sadr.

"We hope (religious) authorities and clerics spread the message of the document in mosques ... and that local media make sure it reaches all Iraqis," said Ihsanoglu.



"It is not a conference, a symposium, a debate, a discussion or a form of negotiation. It is simply a meeting of Ulema (religious scholars) from both communities," Mr. Fathallah was quoted as saying. "They have come together to underline the importance of unity and to help stop the spilling of Muslim blood in the streets of Iraq."

"The taking of even one single innocent life is viewed in Islam as equivalent to a homicide against all people on earth. It is agreed among all the believers that one is duty-bound to avoid disobedience to Allah in whose eyes spilling the blood of an innocent is the most despicable sin."

Asked about how effective the move would be, Mr. Fathallah said:

"For such a document to be issued from the holy city of Mecca and in the blessed month of Ramadan in itself constitutes a wake-up call for Muslims. It would enlighten them on their duties vis-à-vis the sectarian conflict and remind all Muslims and especially Iraqis of Allah's law in this regard."

"Since the document does not contain any controversial matter whatsoever, we are optimistic that success will be on our side for us to be able to assist our brothers in Iraq to live in peace and security and to help put an end to the sectarian bloodshed there," Fathallah said.

"We want every Muslim to understand the Qur'anic injunctions to desist from spilling Muslim blood," he added.

Finally, the document, which was signed by the representatives from the two main branches of Islam, stressed the need for both communities Sunnis and Shias to "join ranks with a view to the independence of Iraq and its territorial integrity."

Political experts however suggest that bloodshed in Iraq is not a result of sectarian tension, but rather a plot by the Occupation Authority to instigate turmoil in Iraq, that would grant the U.S. an extended military presence in the country.

Support

The document has been supported by Iraq's most powerful Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr, though they did not send representatives to the meeting.

"I support all conferences that go in line with the interest of Iraq, though I would have preferred it to be held in Iraq," he said.

Adnan al-Dulaimi, the head of the Sunni Accord Front, also stressed commitment to the Makkah document.

"We will abide by its content," Dulaimi told the London-based Al Sharq al-Awsat newspaper on Friday.

"We support the document to serve the best of Iraq and promote peace and fraternity in the country," he added.

Earlier, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has said that the Makkah meeting would give a boost to his government's efforts to achieve reconciliation in Iraq.

"A conference like that in Makkah, whereby Shiite and Sunni clerics are to attend, is deemed to be a support to efforts at home to find common ground for dialogue," he said.

However, it was not yet clear what impact the document would have on militias that appear to be outside the control of both Shiite and Sunni religious authorities.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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