WASHINGTON, July 24, 2014 — Grand Ayatollah Sistani and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon held an unprecedented meeting today, regarding the crisis in Iraq. The Grand Ayatollah has traditionally refused to meet with representatives from the United States or Europe. For that reason, a meeting with the United Nations signals a major decision on the part of Sistani.
According to reports, the two leaders discussed not only Iraq, but a variety of worldwide humanitarian disasters. Sources state that the Grand Ayatollah called upon the United Nations to pay serious attention to human rights deprivations in Pakistan. Several media outlets have announced a new campaign of targeted “Shia killings” in the country, where militants specifically target religious leaders and respected professionals in the Shia Muslim populace, in order to demoralize the entire community. The topic that dominated the conversation, however, was the activities of the “Islamic State” in Iraq.
The get-together lasted nearly 55 minutes, and took place at the home of the Grand Ayatollah, in the city of Najaf, just a few hundred feet from the shrine of Imam Ali.
A spokesman for Secretary Ban Ki Moon told Reuters the leader of the United Nations was meeting with Sistani in the city of Najaf to seek his wisdom on the crisis in Iraq.
Grand Ayatollah Sistani, nearly at the age of 84, holds considerable sway over Shiites in Iraq, and has a worldwide following. Together with three other Grand Ayatollahs in Najaf, the religious scholars maintain social services, encourage economic development, and of course, manage the nearly approximately one thousand year old seminary, called the “Hawza ‘Ilmiyya Najaf.”
Sistani is widely credited as the reason that Iraq has not completely fallen into civil war, and the staunchest advocate for the Iraqi system of democracy. Multiple voices around the world have called for the Grand Ayatollah to win the Nobel Peace Prize, including the UK Telegraph and the Tehran Times.
The UN Secretary General is a supporter of the Grand Ayatollah, saying “I expressed to His Eminence how deeply moved I was by his consistent calls for all sides to refrain from sectarian or ethnic rhetoric. I strongly welcome his crucially important appeal for all citizens to exercise the highest degree of restraint, to work on strengthening the bonds between each other and avoid any kind of behaviour that may affect the unity of Iraq.”
Despite the Grand Ayatollah’s popularity, he is a target for militants. A plot to assassinate Sistani was foiled in 2007, when three gunmen with terrorist affiliations were captured near his office. The Islamic State has threatened to kill Ayatollah Sistani, and destroy the shrines of Najaf and Karbala.Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2014 Communities Digital News
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities Digital News, LLC. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.
Correspondingly, Communities Digital News, LLC uses its best efforts to operate in accordance with the Fair Use Doctrine under US Copyright Law and always tries to provide proper attribution. If you have reason to believe that any written material or image has been innocently infringed, please bring it to the immediate attention of CDN via the e-mail address or phone number listed on the Contact page so that it can be resolved expeditiously.