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Meeting with Chief Mufti of Syria

By Jatin Desai


Meeting was an unique experience. When we decided to meet him in Damascus, I was not much enthusiastic. As an atheist I am always reluctant to meet religious leaders be they from any religion. I cannot agree with their line of thinking and their emphasis on religion.

Mr. Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, Chief Mufti of Syria
Mr. Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, Chief Mufti of Syria

So, I was really not prepared for the meeting. I went to meet him mere as a formality. Needless to say, I was not prepared. But, the meeting opened my eyes. He mesmerised. Each word, he spoke, came from his heart. He was worried about his country. He was worried about the values of one of the ancient civilization. Syrian culture is a composite one. People hardly identify themselves on the basis of religion or sect. They call themselves Syrian first.

Terrorists killed Ahmed Badreddin Hassoun’s 21 year old son Saria Hassoun near Ibla University, Aleppo, and second biggest city of Syria after Damascus, in 2011. He was talking to a Professor of History and he too was killed in an ambush. Chief Mufti told us that he forgive people who killed his son. The important is they should come to the table and participate in the dialogue. Peace is the most important thing and violence leads nowhere. All issues can be resolved by talking. There cannot be an issue which cannot be solved by dialogue.

The militants did not take Chief Mufti’s offer in true spirit. They retaliated saying they will also kill him (Chief Mufti). After killing Saria, militants also ransacked their house in Aleppo. Chief Mufti is disturbed with the growing terrorist activities in Syria.

Ahmed Hassoun is siding with the President Bashir Al Assad. He also advises President. He said that he is Chief Mufti of Syria and not of any particular section of Syrian society. He spoke of the sanctity of god and the sanctity of human life and beyond this nothing was more precious or sacred. Chief Mufti is a true representative of Syrian composite culture and moderate Islam.

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