Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Joint call from Mecca: End Bloodshed in Iraq


INTERNATIONAL 10.24.2006 Tuesday - ISTANBUL 15:50

Joint Call from Mecca: End Bloodshed in Iraq
By Suleyman Kurt (Diplomatic Correspondent)
Sunday, October 22, 2006

Nearly 50 Shiite and Sunni religious leaders gathered in Mecca, with the initiative of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), issued a statement on Friday asking for the end of sectarian bloodshed in Iraq before the aid al-fitr, the Ramadan holiday.

Ankara has announced that it welcomes the OIC’s initiative, which was also supported by the Iraqi Shiite leaders Ayetollah Ali Sistani and Moqtada al-Sadr.

“Sunnis and Shiites should stand together for the sake of Iraq's independence, unity and territorial integrity, and work together on ending foreign occupation and rebuilding the country's economic, political and military capacities with the aim of securing Iraq's independence," the Mecca document said.

Nearly 50 Iraqi Shiite and Sunni leaders gathered in Mecca around the Kaaba answering an initiative of OIC Secretary-General Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. The Islamic leaders agreed on a eight-article document after the two-day talks.

Secretary-General Ihsanoglu, reading out the Mecca document, emphasized the importance of “political will” for the success of the initiative.

Ayatollah Ali Sistani, a prominent Iraqi Shiite leader, sent a message supporting the OIC initiative while Moqtada al-Sadr also reportedly supported the initiative.

The religious leaders decided that the Mecca Document should be read in all the mosques in Iraq.

Iraq’s Shiite-origin Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who talked to Secretary-General Ihsanoglu twice on the phone, said that he supported the Muslim gathering in Mecca.

A message from Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, Grand Imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, was also read during the meeting.

8 Statements in Mecca Document

The Mecca document formed by the Iraqi clerics is as follows:

1- A Muslim is he who professes his faith by bearing witness that there is no God but Allah and that Mohammed is His Prophet. These fundamental principles apply equally to the Sunnis and the Shiites without exception. Any difference between them is merely differences of opinion and interpretation and not essential differences of faith or on the substance of the Pillars of Islam.

2- The blood, property, honour, and reputation of Muslims is sacrosanct on the grounds of the noble verses of the Holy Quran and Prophet’s practices. Therefore, no Muslim, whether he or she is Shiite or Sunni, may be subject to murder or any harm, intimidation, terrorization, or aggression on his property; incitement thereto; or forcible displacement, deportation or kidnapping.

3- All houses of worship are sacrosanct, including mosques and the non-Muslim houses of worship of all faiths and religions. Therefore, these places of worship may not be attacked, appropriated, or in any other way used as a haven to perpetrate acts in contravention of our Magnanimous Sharia.

4- The crimes committed on grounds of sectarian identity or belonging, such as those now being perpetrated in Iraq, fall within the ambit of “wickedness, and mischief on the earth,” which was prohibited and proscribed by the Almighty God.

5- Any provocation of sensitivities or sectarian, ethnic, geographical, or linguistic strife should be shunned and averted. Similarly, any name-calling, abuse, or vilification and invectives uttered by any one party in attack on another should be avoided in view of the express prohibition by the Holy Quran, which labeled such conduct as “blasphemy.”

6- Certain things and principles should never be forfeited, including, in particular, the unity, cohesion, cooperation, and solidarity in piety and righteousness, which should all be preserved and protected against any attempt to tear them asunder. Necessarily therefore, it is incumbent upon all Muslims to adopt caution and vigilance against all attempts to sow division among them, break their ranks or incite sedition, strife, and hate to corrupt their divine spiritual bonds with each other.

7- Muslims, both Sunnis and the Shiites, all in unison champion the cause of the persecuted and unite against the oppressor and the unjust, as they act in application of Almighty God’s words.

8- Muslims, whether Sunnite or Shiite, will thus stand united in protecting the independence, unity, and territorial integrity of Iraq; realizing and consecrating the free will of the Iraqi people, contributing to the military, economic and political capacity-building of their country in order to put an end to occupation and restore and reinstate Iraq’s Arab-Islamic and human cultural and civilization role.

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