An open letter, on behalf of the Council of Shia Muslim Scholars in North America to Saudi Arabia
|News - Statements|
It is neither hidden from your Excellencies, nor from the remaining officials in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, that the recent vile and inappropriate statements by Shaykh Al-Ureifi about the Shia Muslims, the Followers of Ahl-ul-Bayt and the Prophet, and the Supreme Religious Authority of the Muslims, His Eminence Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali al-Hussaini al-Sistani (may God prolong his life), during Friday's speech on the 15th of Muharram, and the despicable caricature in al-Watan Newspaper in the issue published on Monday the 22nd of Muharram, have enraged the emotions and anger of every sound-minded and conscious individual - not to mention the Muslims among them and especially the followers of His Eminence worldwide. We have nothing to say to those words except the words of the Exalted, "O you who have faith! Be wary of Allah, and speak upright words. He shall rectify your conduct for you and He shall forgive you your sins. Whoever obeys Allah and His Apostle has certainly achieved a great success." (al-Quran 33:70-71). We speak to you while you are in this country representing your Kingdom, which is honored by the Holy Ka'bah - a point of unity for all Muslims and those who pray. You also represent his Majesty the King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, one whose history bustles with initiatives to repair the rifts in the world of Arabs and Muslims - and in issues pertaining to dialogue and interfaith relations.
What is coming out and continues until this day, from the official religious pulpits of the Kingdom, conflicts with the initiatives and slogans which aim at producing unity. Indeed, it is very difficult to imagine the possibility of separating the freedom of expressing one's opinions in a position described as a religious authority, from the official stance, particularly when al-Watan Newspaper is headed by one of the main symbols of the ruling family, Prince Bandar Bin Khalid al-Faisal, and in addition, Al-Ureifi who is described as:
We at the Council of Shia Muslim Scholars in North America, carrying our religious and ethical responsibility, and distinguished with a weighty representation of the Muslims and believers, must perform our duty before Allah - the Exalted - in aiding the religion and its adherents - specifically, the just Jurists who exert themselves and their lives to serve the true religion.
It is not hidden from anyone that the individual who was attacked is one of the most notable among the contemporary Muslim scholars. He is one toward whom millions of Muslim hearts gravitate, and has the respect and appreciation of many non-Muslims as well - all due to his elevated scholarly status and his historical positions which strengthened and preserved the unity of Muslims. These positions stemmed from his belief in unity as derived from the Exalted One's words, "Indeed this nation of yours is one, and I am your Lord. So worship Me." (al-Quran 21:92). For he sees that dominating others - whether in reality or in imagination - is a corruption of national unity, as well as a corruption to both the dominating group and the dominated group, at the same time. He has always called for self-restraint, observing patience, and adhering to peace in order to avoid the costly losses of conflict. In this way, he pushed away the sectarian issues toward their Islamic and national horizon. His fatherly care for all groups of the Iraqi people - with their diverse religious, sectarian, and ethnic affiliations - is evidenced in his cessation of sectarian bloodshed--taking them and the entire region to safety, in a time when more than one side was issuing verdicts for slaughter, smuggling arms, and financing...all this care is due to principles he holds, and an additional example of his generosity and blessings.
It is for these reasons that we took the initiative to your Excellencies in this letter, such that you may pass it along with trust and integrity to those whom you represent in the Kingdom. This is in the interest of ending the clear contradiction between the initiatives and efforts of his Majesty the King and the Kingdom, and these firebrand campaigns... After the effects of these campaigns settle in, the slogan "The rainwater has filled the holes" cannot be held back. Hatred and enmity will be planted, acting only to increase the conflicts, wars and bloodshed among the Muslims. This will please the enemies and ill-intentioned ones, especially since it would not have been the first and doesn't seem to be the last time.
Consequently, the least that we expect from the decision-makers in the Kingdom is to officially and religiously control these transgressions and attacks upon that which is sacred, due to their detrimental effects on the Muslims. We are hopeful that these voices and unusual calls will be restrained...that the verdicts and opinions which doubt the people of the Qiblah and accuse them of disbelief without proof or evidence will all stop, then and only then, the Muslims will be able to confront their true enemies. May Allah protect us and you as well and may He direct our steps and your steps as well... May He inspire us all the path of rectitude... And may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon you.