Iraqi Shia leader Muqtada al Sadr calls on Bashar al Assad to step down

Muqtada al Sadr

Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has become the first major Shia leader to call on Syrian President Bashar al Assad to step down.

Sadr, who is a political as well as a religious leader, has a huge following among Baghdad’s majority Shia community, and is known for his staunch positions against the US presence in Iraq.

Sadr called on the Syrian  president in Damascus to “take an historic, heroic decision” to step down, a move he said would spare the country further bloodshed. “I think it would be fair for President Bashar al-Assad to offer his resignation and step down in love for Syria, to spare it the woes of war and terrorism… and take a historic, heroic decision before it is too late,” he said in a statement quoted by Reuters.

The cleric warned Assad that further U.S. strikes would “drag the region to war” and could lead to the “the expansion of Daesh.”

Sadr has been a fierce opponent of the United States since America’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. The preacher rose to prominence denouncing the occupation and created the Mahdi Army, an Iraqi militia, which launched attacks on the U.S. military.

After the uprising against Assad broke out in March 2011, Sadr expressed his support in a statement. Despite accusations that the Sadrist Movement was taking part in the Syrian conflict, he has denied any involvement by members of his party.

He has also voiced his disapproval of other Shia militias going to Syria to fight for Assad. Sadr has also expelled a number of fighters from his armed factions for having fought in Syria.

Sadr’s statement contrasts sharply with the positions of other major Shia political and religious leaders, such as Hassan Nasrallah of Hezbollah and Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who say that Damascus must be supported in a fight against terrorism.

As you’re here…

5Pillars have one humble request from you…

Thousands of Muslims around the world visit our website for news every day. Due to the unfortunate reality of covering Muslim-related news in a heightened Islamophobic environment, our advertising and fundraising revenues have decreased significantly.

5Pillars is editorially and financially independent, with no sectarian or political allegiance to any particular group or movement. Our journalism has been exclusively grassroots focussed and our sole purpose is to defend Islam and Muslims in the media.

This makes us unique in comparison to other online Muslim media outlets who are neither independently regulated by a reputable body nor are they managed by qualified journalists.

Our journalism takes time, money and effort to deliver. But we do it because we believe we have a duty to Allah (swt).

You may not agree or like everything we publish. However, which other Muslim news site that is run by experienced journalists will take on the responsibility of being a shield for Islam and Muslims in the media?

If you follow 5Pillars, and you understand its importance in today’s climate, then please support us for as little as £5 a month, it only takes a minute to make a donation. Jazakallah khayran.

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:“The best deeds are those done regularly, even if they are small.” [Ibn Mājah]

 

CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT 5PILLARS

Add your comments below