2007-02-15 00:00:00 : Iraq > Politics
“Rafsanjani & Al-Qaradawi call upon nation to unite & reject fighting”
On February 14, Al Jazeera.net, the online version of Al Jazeera TV, reported that: “Sunni scholar Yusuf Al-Qaradawi and Shi’i reference Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, both called upon the Islamic nation to uphold unity and reject sedition and the fighting, and be aware of the conspiracies of the forces of hegemony and Zionism which aim to weaken it and tear it apart. In a special interview broadcast on Al Jazeera, Shi’i reference Rafsanjani and scholar Al-Qaradawi, stressed the impermissibility of the fighting between the Sunnis and the Shi’is in Iraq.

“The head of the Muslim Scholars Association, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, stated that Islam was above the creed and the country above the sect. For his part, the chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council of Iran, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, warned the Shi’is in Iraq against using the situation to retaliate, based on the fact that the Sunnis were previously in the rul[ing position] and that now it was their turn. He assured that if the ranks were to unite, there would no longer be a place for the occupier.

“The chief editor of Al Jazeera channel, Ahmed Al-Sheikh, directed the interview over four main axes: the position toward the Companions [of the Prophet], the controversy of the preaching of one of the two sects in a country where the other sect prevails, the rights of the minorities from both sects and what is happening in Iraq in terms of internal killings that were described by Al-Qaradawi as having a sectarian facet.

“Ahmed Al-Sheikh assured that the episode was not a debate but more like a gathering to allow both references to say what they have to say to the nation, following an agreement signed by a delegation of Sunni scholars with Shi’i scholars during the visit made by the Muslim Scholars Association to Tehran lately. Throughout the interview, Rafsanjani seemed very reserved and very concerned about what he called the purpose of the meeting which is the establishment of a rapprochement, while Al-Qaradawi called for honesty and for facing the real problems with clarity.

“However, Rafsanjani did not fail to openly ask more than once: “who started it” while talking about what was happening in Iraq in terms of Sunni-Shi’i fighting. He reminded of the killing of Iraqi Shi’i reference Muhammad Baker Al-Hakim at the early stages of the American occupation of Iraq, and said: “Al-Qaradawi knows where those arriving to Iraq to blow Shi’i shrines up are coming from”. Al-Qaradawi denied he knew where they were coming from and stated he didn’t have intelligence bodies. He then added that he condemned from Cairo the killing of the Shi’i reference at the time and stated that no more than 5% or 10% of the fighters were coming to Iraq.

“He pointed out that the references in Iran have the influence, the authority… and the keys to the solution in Iraq… Rafsanjani responded by advising Al-Qaradawi to read the news. He assured that had he been reading the statements of the Shi’i references in Iran he wouldn’t have said that. He indicated that they reiterated the legitimacy of the resistance in Iraq hundreds of times. He then advised the Sunni scholars again to review the opinions and positions of the Shi’i scholars. The two Sheikhs also addressed crucial points of dispute between the two sects such as the position toward the Companions of the Prophet.

“Al-Qaradawi called upon the Shi’i references to issue a clear fatwa to prevent the offense of the Companions. Rafsanjani responded that they always started their sermons by praising the Companions... Al-Qaradawi then addressed the issue of the minorities, whereby he mentioned that there are 15 million Sunnis in Iran who did not have one minister. Rafsanjani responded by saying he had figures and clear responses which he did not want to mention to avoid turning the interview in the direction that is wanted by the Americans and to thwart the plans of the enemies… The interview ended with the calls of both sheikhs for unity, the rejection of division,… and the banning of sectarian fighting.” - Al-Jazeera, Qatar
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