Makkah: More than 30 delegates
representing the Syrian opposition have performed Haj this year as
guests of the Muslim World League (MWL).
Speaking to the International Islamic News Agency (IINA), the
delegates, including eminent scholars and mosque imams, have
called on the Muslim Ummah to support their heroic struggle
against the brutal Bashar Al-Assad regime.
On the sidelines of the Haj rituals, they met with Muslims leaders
and scholars, who came to perform Haj from around the world,
seeking support for their struggle against the oppressive Assad
For them, Haj was not merely an obligatory ritual but
rather an opportunity to muster strength for their heroic fight.
Sheikh Anas Al-Suwaidi, a key opposition activist, is one among
those who performed Haj as MWL guests.
Speaking to IINA, he said
the Syrian guests have tried their best to explain the real
situation in Syria to Muslim leaders from various parts of the
world and sought their support and positive response to their
fight against the killing machine of the Assad regime.
had a close interaction with leaders of Islamic communities living
across the globe. We are happy to brief them on the real situation
and the latest developments in Syria where the regime has imposed
a media blackout,” he said.
Sheikh Anas, who is also imam of a mosque in Homs, one of the
strongholds of the opposition, said that a meeting of Syrian
scholars, hosted by MWL, with Saudi scholars and preachers were
held to review the situation.
The meeting discussed the ways and
means to extend support and help to the Syrian civilians living in
extremely dangerous and miserable conditions. The Syrian scholars,
who attended the meeting, included Sheikh Mamdouh Juneih, a great
scholar of Homs, and Sheikh Sari Al-Rifai, imam of the famous
Sheikh Abdul Karim Al-Rifai mosque of Damascus.
Ramadan, two worshippers were killed and more than a dozen injured
when Assad thugs stormed the mosque and attacked the faithful.
Sheikh Anas said that the opposition would further intensify fight
against the brutal regime after Haj.
“We have mustered more
strength and determination to fight until ousting the killer
regime, and Haj served as a powerhouse for us,” he said adding
that nearly half of about 35,000 killed in the war were from Homs.
While speaking to IINA, Sheikh Abdul Rahman Muhammad, preacher and
teacher of the Shariah Institutes based in Damascus, recounted the
harrowing experience of Syrian civilians living under the Assad
He sobbed uncontrollably and could not finish his words
when he narrated incidents of slaughtering women and children and
burning their homes by the Assad forces.
“They killed hundreds of
my relatives, friends and people in the neighborhood. I have lost
at least 15 members of my family,” he said and walked away
abruptly without completing his words.
Sheikh Abdul Rahman said that the Assad regime forces are showing
no mercy even to women and children.
“They slit throats of
civilians, including women and children, in broad day light, and
setting fire to their homes. We are living an extremely horrific
and terrible situation. Nobody know whether he will be alive the
next moment or not,” he said adding that more than 80 percent of
the Syrian people are against the regime.
“The army, dominated by Assad’s minority Allawi Shiites, is on a killing spree against the
vast majority of Sunnis, and some of them declare in public that
killing Sunnis is Wajib (obligatory duty) for them,” he added.
While the meeting of the Syrian guests with Saudi scholars was
going on Sunday, October 28, the street in front of the MWL Haj
camp witnessed procession of Syrian pilgrims moving to Jamrat
chanting Allahu Akbar (God is the greatest) and shouting anti-Assad
"Oh God, may we see Bashar Al-Assad soon hanged or burnt,
kicked out or a humiliated prisoner," one Syrian yelled through a
loudhailer as dozens walking behind him shouted: "Amen."
Brandishing the rebel flag, they cursed Assad and prayed against
him after performing the stoning ritual. The official Syrian flag
was mostly absent from this year's Haj.
The pilgrims prayed for the victory of the opposition while they
were performing Haj rituals in Arafat, Muzdalifah and Mina. They
also prayed for the souls of the Syrian martyrs.
In Arafat, an old
Syrian pilgrim was seen in tears while engaged in supplication.
The pilgrim who requested neither to disclose his identity nor
take his photograph said that he was performing Haj on behalf of
his 18-year old son who was killed in the ongoing war.
performed Haj earlier. Now, I came to perform Haj for my son who
was the victim of the ferocious battle taking place in our
country. May Allah forgive him and accommodate in His Jannatul
Firdous," he said.
The vast plains of Arafat were soaked with
tears of Syrian pilgrims, more than tears of any other pilgrims
from the remaining 188 countries.
During this year’s Haj, Syrian pilgrims were very few as the
deadly civil war raging in the country and that claimed so far
lives of nearly 35,000 people, mostly women and children.
Arabia has repeatedly denied charges of Damascus that Riyadh
barred Syrians from performing Haj. At the same time, the Kingdom
had issued some 10,000 visas to Syrian refugees now in Lebanon,
Turkey and Jordan.
King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy
Mosques, had issued directives to host 1200 Syrian refugees. Under
the direction of the king, the government had given preferential
treatment for Syrian refugees wishing to perform Haj.