With all international media beating war drums, Muslim Sunni and Shiite scholars have refuted allegations of sectarian war in Iraq, asserting that the current conflict is a result of injustice of the Iraqi government against the Sunni minority and has nothing to do with terrorism.
“The International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) has been following the bids to distort the image of the revolution against injustices in Iraq as one of an extremist group only, disregarding the true nature of the conflict on the ground,” the Union said in a statement published on Thursday, June 19, and obtained by OnIslam.net.
“In light of what is going on the ground of Iraq, the IUMS asserts that “the Sunnis have suffered a great injustice and severe exclusion, so it was natural to move in a popular revolution against injustice to demand their legitimate rights in full.”
“The Union urges Arab and Islamic states to prevent any aggression against Iraq Sunnis, and to consolidate efforts to achieve the legitimate rights of all Iraqis,” the statement added.
The IUMS statement followed the increase of violent attacks in Iraq over the past months.
The world focus was turned to the volatile area after Al-Qaeda splinter group, ISIL, seized control of Iraq’s second city of Mosul on June 10, storming government buildings, TV stations, banks and hoisting the blacks.
The fall of Mosul followed that of Tikrit, Anbar’s Fallujah and Ramadi as well as other parts since last December.
The situation on the ground has further deteriorated after Iraq’s most senior Shiite Muslim scholar Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani urged followers to take up arms against a Sunni militant insurgency in Iraq.
As media outlets portrayed the conflict as threatening a civil war and a possible break-up of the country, the IUMS stressed that the conflict in Iraq is not a sectarian one, but a result of a revolution against oppression and injustice.
The Union went on to condemn the actions of ISIL group in Syria and Iraq.
“The Union condemns that reckless actions of ISIL in Syria and Iraq as any terrorist group that does not take into account the principles and values of Islam in peace and war,” the statement said.
“The Union is committed to preserve the sanctity of blood and properties and honors.”
Echoing similar tone of IUMS, Iraqi Shiite scholar Sayyed Ali al-Amine has appealed to the religious authority in Iraq to abstain from issuing religious fatwas that might inflame the situation in Iraq.
“We appeal to the religious authority in Iraq not to fall in the circle of issuing fatwas that make them a party in the ongoing bloody conflict on the territory of our beloved Iraq,” he said in a statement published on IUMS website.
“The role of the religious authority is to support ending bloodshed, and work to unite Muslims and to call for reform away from violence and weapons,” the moderate scholar added.
Criticizing Sistani’s call, the Shiite scholar added that conferring a religious character on the current conflict would require the issuance of other fatwas calling for counter mobilization that would enflame sectarian war and engulf Iraq and the Muslim ummah in a blind turmoil.
Another Iraqi Shiite scholar, Sayyid Ali Fadlullah, has shared similar concerns.
Fadlullah, a member of IUMS, urged all Iraqi groups to “take action to solve the current crisis and stop ongoing killing and massacres.”
“In the face of the running terrible events, we stress the need to reject what is going with all Iraqi groups and to face this attack which does not target a specific sect rather than enflaming a sectarian war that destroys Iraq unity, role and future,” he said.
The scholar called on all religious and political groups in Iraq and abroad to “rise to the level of this big challenge and work through its speech to extinguish the fire, instead of pouring oil on it.”
Since the US-led invasion of March 2003, Iraq has plunged into an abyss.
Violence and sectarian tensions have divided its religious and ethnic communities, and left tens of thousands of civilians dead.