Syrian academic and former Syrian National Council spokesperson Bassma Kodmani, journalist and researcher Aron Lund, and Sufi Sheikh Muhammad al-Yacoubi discussed the role of sectarianism and Islamism in the Syrian uprising and the immediate challenges Syria could face after the fall of Bashar Al-Assad.
9 November 2012, Washington D.C.
The Role of Political Islam
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Click the link to watch.
A few important [paraphrased] remarks by the Shaykh:
- The greatest danger after Assad is lawlessness and anarchy.
- The people’s uprising is against oppression and not against any sect, and this has been the message of the scholars in their speeches and Fatwa’s.
- Killing captives is forbidden in Islam.
- Sufism is widespread in Syria, Salafism has only recently been growing due to funds.
- There are 12 [non-FSA] Sufi battalions in Damascus alone, but they receive no funding from anyone and have few weapons.
- There have been threats by extremist groups to burn the shrine of Shaykh Ibn Arabi and target Shaykh al-Yaqoubi.
- Syrians are moderate and not new to democracy.
- Not supporting the FSA sufficiently contributed to the emerging of extremist groups.
- There will be no sectarian conflict and this is not a civil war.
- The religious scholars guarantee the protection of minorities.
- The Syrian people do not follow political Islam, they follow their religious leaders.
- Many Christian youth have joined the uprising.
- The religious leaders of different groups in Syria should come together and issue a historical statement for a future of mutual understanding and equal rights.
- Sunnis, Syrians, the FSA, are not after the Alawites.
- Most Sufi leaders are against the regime and many joined the uprising.
- Top Sufi Shaykhs in Damascus and other cities are seeking help to escape Syria.
- 600 Imams have been arrested, over 20 Imams and Sufi leaders have been killed by the regime.
- Apart from the top Sufi figures, the second level leaders and most of the Shaykhs in their 30’s and 40’s have joined the uprising.
- The scholars of the past, most of them Sufi leaders, have played an important role in the democratic process in Syria.
- After the fall of the regime, some marginal percentage of Syrians would probably seek an internal conflict, but most the majority would try to build the country and heal its wounds.
[UPDATE:] The transcript: