September 09, 2006

Grand Mufti Heads Syrian Clergy Delegation To Armenia: Meets With Foreign Minister

(Arka News, Pan 09.06.2006) Sheikh Ahmed Badr Al-Din Hassuni, Grand Mufti of Syria, traveled to the Republic of Armenia at the invitation of the Catholicos of the Armenian Church, Garegin II, for 4 days of interfaith talks.

While in Armenia, Sheikh Ahmed Hassuni met with Armenia's Foreign Minister, Vartan Oskanian, and discussed a variety of regional issues including the situation in Lebanon and the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. Mr. Oskanian, who grew up in the Syrian town of Aleppo, spoke warmly of his childhood there and of the hospitality shown Armenians by the Syrian people. The Grand Mufti spoke of the friendship that existed between Armenian and Syria and expressed hope for a strengthening of the ties between the two nations.

On religious matters, the Grand Mufti spoke of the need of mutual respect between Christianity and Islam and criticized those Muslim spiritual leaders who would misrepresent the true nature of Islam.

As an example of this the Grand Mufti singled out the term " jihad " and what it really means. He pointed to the following comment made by Sheikh Us-Islam Pashazade, Chairman of the Spiritual Board of Muslims in the Caucasus, in Baku on August 23, " I am ready to announce a jihad to liberate the Azerbaijani territories occupied[by Armenian forces] when the times comes".

According to Grand Mufti Ahmed Hassuni, on the contrary, " the true meaning of jihad helps people to enjoy the blessings of life and not to kill".


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