Iranian based Iraqi Shiite cleric backs fighting in Syria

Grand Ayatollah Kazim al-Haeri

A leading Shiite Muslim cleric widely followed by Iraqi militants has issued the first public religious edict permitting Shiites to fight in Syria’s civil war alongside President Bashar Assad’s forces.

The fatwa by Iran-based Grand Ayatollah Kazim al-Haeri, one of the mentors of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, comes as thousands of Shiite fighters mostly from Iraq and Lebanon play a major role in the battles.

The call likely will increase the sectarian tones of the war, which pits overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim rebels against members of Assad’s Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam. The situation has worsened with the influx of thousands of Shiite and Sunni foreign fighters.

Al-Haeri is based in the holy city of Qom, Iran’s religious capital. Among his followers are many fighters with the feared Shiite militia, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, or Band of the Righteous, an Iranian-backed group that repeatedly attacked U.S. forces in Iraq and says it is sending fighters to Syria. That militia is headed by white-turbaned Shiite cleric Qais al-Khazali, who spent years in U.S. detention but was released after he was handed over to the Iraqi government.

Many Shiite gunmen already fight around the holy shrine of Sayida Zeinab just south of Syria’s capital, Damascus. The shrine is named after the Prophet Muhammad’s granddaughter and is popular with Iranian worshippers and tourists.

Asked by a follower whether it is legitimate to travel to Syria to fight, al-Haeri replied: “The battle in Syria is not for the defense of the shrine of Sayida Zeinab but it is a battle of infidels against Islam and Islam should be defended.”

“Fighting in Syria is legitimate and those who die are martyrs,” al-Haeri said in comments posted on his official website. An official at his office confirmed that the comments are authentic.

Asaib Ahl al-Haq currently has about 1,000 fighters in Syria and many others were volunteering to go join the battle, said Ashtar al-Kaabi, an Asaib Ahl al-Haq member who organizes sending Shiite fighters from Iraq to Syria. Asked whether the increase is related to al-Haeri’s fatwa, al-Kaabi said: “Yes. This fatwa has had wide effect.”

Over the past year, jihadi groups have begun playing a bigger role in Syria’s war and openly calling for the killing of Shiites and Alawites because of their beliefs. Assad recently said that fighters from more than 80 countries have come to Syria to fight against his forces. The rebels are mainly backed by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, Sunni powerhouses in the Middle East.

The main Western-backed Syrian opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, claimed recently that Shiite fighters from 14 different factions are fighting alongside government forces in Syria. The coalition said those fighters are brought to Syria with the help of Iraq’s Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, though Iran remains Syria’s strongest ally.

Lebanon’s Iran-backed Shiite Hezbollah also openly joined Assad’s forces in May after hiding its participation for months. Since then, the group has helped government forces recapture a string of towns and villages near the Lebanese border.

Associated Press

  • The real lebanese

    As if foreign Shiite fighters weren’t already traveling to Syria to fight. At the rate this is going at, by the year 2050, the middle east will be extinct.

    Im guessing the people supporting Assad aren’t going to be calling them terrorists, huh?

  • The real lebanese

    As if foreign Shiite fighters weren’t already traveling to Syria to fight. At the rate this is going at, by the year 2050, the middle east will be extinct.

    Im guessing the people supporting Assad aren’t going to be calling them terrorists, huh?

  • nagy_michael2

    I am issuing a Fatwa for all the extremists to go to Syria and fight the regime and each other and don’t go back home until they finish each other. May Allah bless you with so many virgins until you die of extreme sex lol

  • nagy_michael2

    I am issuing a Fatwa for all the extremists to go to Syria and fight the regime and each other and don’t go back home until they finish each other. May Allah bless you with so many virgins until you die of extreme sex lol

  • cook

    Its a shame that Iran starts so many wars

    • man-o-war

      Can our resident historian name a couple?

      • nagy_michael2

        2006 for sure.. do you think hezbollah would have done anything without Iranian approval? the support of Al Qaeda everywhere whenever it suits them. many terrorist bombings all have Iranian finger prints on them. what are the Iranian doing in Lebanon since the beginning of the war. I want to the south and I saw more iranian flags and stores everywhere. stop denying the facts and twist everything into Al Nusra that is out to get us. if it wouldn’t be for Iran, Syria and hizb al khraa we would not be in this mess. And don’t forget the late lunatic Arafat who dragged lebanon into civil war..

        • man-o-war

          Iran in 2006? For sure? They support Al Qaeda everywhere? Ok, whatever you say. I’m not denying any facts, since neither you or Heraclitus posted any to deny. A lot of conjecture is about all you have. I also went to the south, east, north, west, and did not see a single Iranian flag. Must have been in the wrong neighborhood.

    • Constantin7

      I do not want to defend Iran at all, but I do not understand your comment. Which wars did Iran start? The 2006 war was started by the idiot immature (neverthless charismatic) Hassan not by Iran, even if Iran asked Hassan to start the war, it is Hassan’s responsibility to know what is good for his own country and people and not Iran’s. Iran never aggressed any of its neighbours, but its neighbours agressed Iran (Irak started the war against Iran). Again I am not defending them, but just stating facts.

  • Heraclitus

    Its a shame that Iran starts so many wars

    • man-o-war

      Can our resident historian name a couple?

      • nagy_michael2

        2006 for sure.. do you think hezbollah would have done anything without Iranian approval? the support of Al Qaeda everywhere whenever it suits them. many terrorist bombings all have Iranian finger prints on them. what are the Iranian doing in Lebanon since the beginning of the war. I want to the south and I saw more iranian flags and stores everywhere. stop denying the facts and twist everything into Al Nusra that is out to get us. if it wouldn’t be for Iran, Syria and hizb al khraa we would not be in this mess. And don’t forget the late lunatic Arafat who dragged lebanon into civil war..

        • man-o-war

          Iran in 2006? For sure? They support Al Qaeda everywhere? Ok, whatever you say. I’m not denying any facts, since neither you or Heraclitus posted any to deny. A lot of conjecture is about all you have. I also went to the south, east, north, west, and did not see a single Iranian flag. Must have been in the wrong neighborhood.

    • Constantin7

      I do not want to defend Iran at all, but I do not understand your comment. Which wars did Iran start? The 2006 war was started by the idiot immature (neverthless charismatic) Hassan not by Iran, even if Iran asked Hassan to start the war, it is Hassan’s responsibility to know what is good for his own country and people and not Iran’s. Iran never aggressed any of its neighbours, but its neighbours agressed Iran (Irak started the war against Iran). Again I am not defending them, but just stating facts.

  • Maborlz Ez-Hari

    Here we go again another dick eater leader urging his kind to wage war against other people. And guess what there is no shortage of dumb arse zombies bearing arms and psyching themselves up to spill blood instead of making peace with their fellow man. They should be aiming barrels at the asswipe clerics.

  • Maborlz Ez-Hari

    Here we go again another dick eater leader urging his kind to wage war against other people. And guess what there is no shortage of dumb arse zombies bearing arms and psyching themselves up to spill blood instead of making peace with their fellow man. They should be aiming barrels at the asswipe clerics.

  • Constantin7

    What is this Fatwa useful for ? Does it help to finish the fighting in Syria or does it put oil on the fire and help divide the people more than they already are. The fact that this Iraki cleric lives in Iran, his declaration is politically motivated to support the Iranian backing of Bashar. One thing I do not understand: Shiism was started in Irak and all the holy places of the Shiaa are in Irak, what is this Iraki cleric doing in Iran ?

  • Constantin7

    What is this Fatwa useful for ? Does it help to finish the fighting in Syria or does it put oil on the fire and help divide the people more than they already are. The fact that this Iraki cleric lives in Iran, his declaration is politically motivated to support the Iranian backing of Bashar. One thing I do not understand: Shiism was started in Irak and all the holy places of the Shiaa are in Irak, what is this Iraki cleric doing in Iran ?

  • Btru2u

    Shia Treachery in Islamic History
    From the book The Mirage In Iran by Dr. Ahmad al-Afghani
    Translated by Bilal Philips

    What follows is a brief sketch of Shi’ite intrigues against Islam and Muslims during a few representative periods of Islamic history, past and present, for, to mention all would require a whole book in itself.

    During the the period of the fourth and fifth Faatimid caliphs, al-Azeez billaah and al-Haakim bi amrillaah (966-1020 CE), Muslims under their rule experienced unimaginable affliction. Both of these caliphs gave the reigns of power to Jewish administrations who spread corruption and tyranny throughout the Muslim realm. And when their Shi’ite governor in the well fortified city of ‘Asqalaan surrendered to the Crusaders, the soldiers and the towns people, unable to bear Shi’ite treachery any longer, revolted and killed the governor in the year 995 CE.

    In the fifth century of the Hijrah during the rule of the Shi’ite Buwayhid clan over Iraq, the Jews were allowed to become very powerful and oppressive. As a result the people of the region revolted against the Buwayhids in the year 1031 CE and burnt the houses of the Shi’ites as well as the houses of the Jews.

    Shi’ites were largely responsible for the Mongols’ sacking of Baghdad in the seventh century. The most noted Shi’ite scholar of the time, an-Naseer at-Toosee rode alongside Hulagu at the head of the Mongol hordes and oversaw with him the slaughter of countless innocent Muslims. The Shi’ite cheif minister (Wazeer), Ibn al-‘Alqamee, also played a major role in that tragedy.

    The tenth century of the Hijrah witnessed Ghayyaath Khudaabundah Muhammad, the Mongol who had converted to Shi’ism, make an alliance with the Crusaders while massacring and terrorizing Sunni Muslims.

    The Jews also attained a very prominent position in the Shi’ite Safawid dynasty during the tenth century of the Hijrah. This Shi’ite dynasty entered into an alliance with the Portuguese against the Ottoman state. However, the Ottoman Sultan replied by killing nearly 30 thousand of them in a single day, teaching them a very severe lesson. He declared them to be merely a group of worthless heretics wearing red turbans with twelve folds.

    If these incidents have been forgotten there is always the unforgettable crime of the century wherein the Shi’ite Yahya Khan surrendered the Muslim lands of East Pakistan to the Hindus to do as they pleased. This heinous act led to the formation of the truncated state of Bangladesh.

    And, in Lebanon the Shi’ite betrayal of Muslims and their alliance with Maronite Christians, whom they consider their true friends, cannot be forgotten.

    What have the Shi’ites contributed to the Mujahideen of Afghanistan besides criticism of their Jihad and belittlement of their opposition to the forces of atheism? And, why have the Shi’ite students at the University of Kuwait joined with the communists and other leftists against Sunni Muslim students in the student elections of 1981?

    Lastly, what of the unholy alliance between the Iranian revolution and Nusayri Syria – between Iran and Libya – Iran and Algeria – Iran and South Lebanon? Is it because all of them share with the Shi’ites the rejection of some or all of the Sunnah? Was it not expected that the “revolution of the opressed” would stand by the opressed in Syria? Is this the reward for kindness? Yes, the reward for the Syrian Mujahideen’s open support for the Iranian revolution was first to be snubbed, then to be criticised for their Jihad. How else are we to understand Ayatullaah Khalkhaali’s public statement against the Syrian Mujahideen, or Khomeini’s representative declaring Syrian Mujahideen disbelievers while he was in London in 1980? Finally, why did Shi’ite members of the Kuwaiti National Assembly vote in favour of Hafiz Asad against the Syrian Mujahideen during the vote for sending 48 million dinars to Syrian deterrant forces?

    (Taken from a post in another forum)

    note: for ones who know Arabic, read the book “kayfa dakhala at Tatar bilad al Muslimeen” (How the Tatars entered the land of the Muslims) by Sulaiman bin Hamad al Odah, to read about the treachery of Shia in helping Tatars enter Baghdad.
    You will find it either in Meshkat website or Saaid al Fawaid website (books section), it is an excellent book.

    • Peaceforleb

      After reading your post, it is evident now how truely deep they brain wash people. Next thing your going to feed us is it’s halal to strap a bomb on yourself and blow up infidels who of course are not Sunni. What you fail to mention is how the Sunni’s persecuted the Shiites, Alawites, Christian’s, Jews and any other religion in the middle east who was against their beliefs. Lets face facts, the middle east is mostly screwed up because of Sunni extremism.

      • guest12

        During the Fatimids, most arabians (i.e. ancestors of modern saudi arabs) were shias and even when they were shia and when the shia ruled the islamic world they still collaborated with the crusaders. This is what forced Saladin to take action on his own.

  • Btru2u

    Shia Treachery in Islamic History
    From the book The Mirage In Iran by Dr. Ahmad al-Afghani
    Translated by Bilal Philips

    What follows is a brief sketch of Shi’ite intrigues against Islam and Muslims during a few representative periods of Islamic history, past and present, for, to mention all would require a whole book in itself.

    During the the period of the fourth and fifth Faatimid caliphs, al-Azeez billaah and al-Haakim bi amrillaah (966-1020 CE), Muslims under their rule experienced unimaginable affliction. Both of these caliphs gave the reigns of power to Jewish administrations who spread corruption and tyranny throughout the Muslim realm. And when their Shi’ite governor in the well fortified city of ‘Asqalaan surrendered to the Crusaders, the soldiers and the towns people, unable to bear Shi’ite treachery any longer, revolted and killed the governor in the year 995 CE.

    In the fifth century of the Hijrah during the rule of the Shi’ite Buwayhid clan over Iraq, the Jews were allowed to become very powerful and oppressive. As a result the people of the region revolted against the Buwayhids in the year 1031 CE and burnt the houses of the Shi’ites as well as the houses of the Jews.

    Shi’ites were largely responsible for the Mongols’ sacking of Baghdad in the seventh century. The most noted Shi’ite scholar of the time, an-Naseer at-Toosee rode alongside Hulagu at the head of the Mongol hordes and oversaw with him the slaughter of countless innocent Muslims. The Shi’ite cheif minister (Wazeer), Ibn al-‘Alqamee, also played a major role in that tragedy.

    The tenth century of the Hijrah witnessed Ghayyaath Khudaabundah Muhammad, the Mongol who had converted to Shi’ism, make an alliance with the Crusaders while massacring and terrorizing Sunni Muslims.

    The Jews also attained a very prominent position in the Shi’ite Safawid dynasty during the tenth century of the Hijrah. This Shi’ite dynasty entered into an alliance with the Portuguese against the Ottoman state. However, the Ottoman Sultan replied by killing nearly 30 thousand of them in a single day, teaching them a very severe lesson. He declared them to be merely a group of worthless heretics wearing red turbans with twelve folds.

    If these incidents have been forgotten there is always the unforgettable crime of the century wherein the Shi’ite Yahya Khan surrendered the Muslim lands of East Pakistan to the Hindus to do as they pleased. This heinous act led to the formation of the truncated state of Bangladesh.

    And, in Lebanon the Shi’ite betrayal of Muslims and their alliance with Maronite Christians, whom they consider their true friends, cannot be forgotten.

    What have the Shi’ites contributed to the Mujahideen of Afghanistan besides criticism of their Jihad and belittlement of their opposition to the forces of atheism? And, why have the Shi’ite students at the University of Kuwait joined with the communists and other leftists against Sunni Muslim students in the student elections of 1981?

    Lastly, what of the unholy alliance between the Iranian revolution and Nusayri Syria – between Iran and Libya – Iran and Algeria – Iran and South Lebanon? Is it because all of them share with the Shi’ites the rejection of some or all of the Sunnah? Was it not expected that the “revolution of the opressed” would stand by the opressed in Syria? Is this the reward for kindness? Yes, the reward for the Syrian Mujahideen’s open support for the Iranian revolution was first to be snubbed, then to be criticised for their Jihad. How else are we to understand Ayatullaah Khalkhaali’s public statement against the Syrian Mujahideen, or Khomeini’s representative declaring Syrian Mujahideen disbelievers while he was in London in 1980? Finally, why did Shi’ite members of the Kuwaiti National Assembly vote in favour of Hafiz Asad against the Syrian Mujahideen during the vote for sending 48 million dinars to Syrian deterrant forces?

    (Taken from a post in another forum)

    note: for ones who know Arabic, read the book “kayfa dakhala at Tatar bilad al Muslimeen” (How the Tatars entered the land of the Muslims) by Sulaiman bin Hamad al Odah, to read about the treachery of Shia in helping Tatars enter Baghdad.
    You will find it either in Meshkat website or Saaid al Fawaid website (books section), it is an excellent book.

    • Peaceforleb

      After reading your post, it is evident now how truely deep they brain wash people. Next thing your going to feed us is it’s halal to strap a bomb on yourself and blow up infidels who of course are not Sunni. What you fail to mention is how the Sunni’s persecuted the Shiites, Alawites, Christian’s, Jews and any other religion in the middle east who was against their beliefs. Lets face facts, the middle east is mostly screwed up because of Sunni extremism.

      • guest12

        During the Fatimids, most arabians (i.e. ancestors of modern saudi arabs) were shias and even when they were shia and when the shia ruled the islamic world they still collaborated with the crusaders. This is what forced Saladin to take action on his own.

  • Btru2u
  • Btru2u
  • Btru2u

    Know that this man has degraded the companions of the prophet Mohammed, so he cannot be a believer . Because the prophet was real, and what he brought was the truth, and all of it was conveyed by the way of the sahaaba. What those disbelievers wish to do is to cast doubt over the reliability of our narrators in order to invalidate the Quran and sunnah. Thus the disbelievers are the ones most deserving defamation.

  • Btru2u

    Know that this man has degraded the companions of the prophet Mohammed, so he cannot be a believer . Because the prophet was real, and what he brought was the truth, and all of it was conveyed by the way of the sahaaba. What those disbelievers wish to do is to cast doubt over the reliability of narrators in order to invalidate the Quran and sunnah. Thus the disbelievers are the ones most deserving defamation.