The Beirut Religious Declaration: A Fatwa against sectarian violence
A group of Iraqi Shia and Sunni Islamic scholars have gathered in Beirut from the 22nd to the 24th of August 2008 under the auspices of the FRRME. Through dialogue they have discussed what should be done following the considerable security improvements in Iraq. There is great urgency to meet the needs of the Iraqi people who have suffered from injustice, sectarianism, violence, the destruction of infrastructure and the squandering of the fortune of Iraq. They have reached the following recommendations:
In the name of Allah the most merciful
1. The violence is coming from extremism without any religious or moral foundation. This contravenes humanitarian principles and targets innocent people. We strongly condemn and denounce all terrorist activities and suicide bombings. The non-violent resistance that is aimed at liberating Iraq is a legitimate right by international standards and the heavenly faith.
2. We encourage the continuity of this dialog and the serious cooperation between the leaders of Iraq to create solutions to be the foundations for the building of a state where security and justice can prevail between the people.
3. We denounce and condemn all foreign interference in Iraq in every way. This interference is the main cause of the violence and the sectarian divide and is preventing the establishment of the Rule of Law in the state of Iraq.
4. We seek to prevent Iraq from being a theater for sectarian conflict.
5. We encourage the investment in security improvements and want to see the Iraqi community prevented from becoming militant. We will continue to work very hard to develop democracy and activate the role of NGOs in civil society to enhance the building of the state and its institutions.
6. We see as a priority the need to enable all those who are displaced and have emigrated to return to their homes and encourage qualified Iraqi people to go back to Iraq and assure them of their civilian rights; and we desire that they recover their estates and employment.
7. There is an urgent need for the investigation of the cases of those in prison in Iraq, particularly those in prisons controlled by the Coalition Forces.
Sheikh Ahmed Al Kubasi, senior Sunni leader; Sheikh Abdul Latif Humayem, senior Sunni leader; Ayatollah Abu Rageef, senior Shia leader based in Najaf; Sheik Zuhari, senior Shia leader who is the chief religious advisor to the Prime Minister
Organised by Canon Andrew PB White and the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East