Friday, December 04, 2015

Arba'een 1437 in India observed as Anti Terrorist Day



Arba'een 1437 observed as Anti Terrorist Day in India on chehllum (20 safar) 2015 for Martyrs of Karbala. Main event held at Dargah Shah-e-Mardan

Jorbagh, New Delhi. Its a unique place of secular India, where every community leader reached to pay homage to Imam Hussain and other martyrs in

Karbala.

A tazia jaloos starts from Old Delhi in morning and reached by evening at Shah-e-Mardan. Please watch videos of this event at our YouTube channel ykemdia www.youtube.com/ykmedia

Here are some Photos of the event...


Monday, November 30, 2015

What is Karbala March...



From London to New York and from there to Delhi if 1-2 million people are gathered in a demonstration or rally, it becomes big headlines in newspapers and on TV. Gathering on Hajj in Mecca, crowd of pilgrims who come to Kumbh or Maha Kumbh Mela held in India every year make headlines in media for their gathering. But a religious ritual happening from several centuries with silence and world media unaware about it.

Several million people come and go with silence to Karbala for commemorate the 72 martyrs on Chehllum. Little wonder that the world media focus was never on its coverage. Tough pilgrims of Karbala never expect this from world media. They know that the grandson of Prophet Hazrat Muhammad is reigning in their hearts, they are not need any attestation.

America's leading English newspaper The Huffington Post published a report about the Arbyeen, expressed surprise at the fact that the how humbly several million people gathers at karbala with devotion, silence, love. According to the newspaper in Karbala not just Shia Muslims, but Christians, Sunni Muslims also arrive.

Its true that Shia muslims love more ahle-bait family than any other sect of muslims. The way the unprecedented sacrifice offered by Imam Hussain and 71 martyrs of karbala, that attracts people of every religion and class. The Huffington Post says that Arbyeen should be included in the Guinness World Records with different 'categories.

Meanwhile, Iran's Supreme Leader, Aytullah Sayyid Ali Kmanei said to pilgrims marching towards Karbala that they should respect and obey the law and rule regulation of that country (Iraq).


What Others Say...

Not only does the congregation exceeds the number of pilgrims to Mecca for annual Hajj (by a factor of five, in fact), it is more significant than Hindu Kumbh Mela, since the latter is only held every third year.

There's another peculiar feature of Arbaeen. While it is a distinctively Shia spiritual exercise, Sunnis, even Christians, Yazidis, Zoroastrians, and Sabians partake in both the pilgrimage as well as serving of devotees.

This is remarkable given the exclusive nature of religious rituals, and it could only mean one thing: people regardless of color or creed see Hussein as a universal, borderless, and meta-religious symbol of freedom and compassion.

'If you want to see a living, breathing, lively religion, come to Karbala' says a young Australian man converted to Islam several years ago.

Why you have never heard of it probably has to do with the fact that the press is concerned more with negative, gory, and sensationalized tabloids, than with positive, inspiring narratives, particularly when it comes to Islam.

If a few hundred anti-immigration protestors take to the streets in London it will make headlines. The same level of airtime is awarded to a pro-democracy march in Hong Kong or an anti-Putin rally in Russia. But a gathering of twenty million in obstreperous defiance of terror and injustice somehow fails even to make it into the TV news ticker! An unofficial media embargo is imposed on the gargantuan event despite the story having all the critical elements of an eye-catching feature; the staggering numbers, the political significance, the revolutionary message, the tense backdrop, as well as originality.

But when such a story does make it through the editorial axe of major news outlets, it creates shockwaves and touches the most random people.

In fact, Arbaeen should be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records in several categories: biggest annual gathering, longest continuous dining table, largest number of people fed for free. (Source ABNA)


आओ करबला चलें...क्या है करबला मार्च...(फोटो नीचे है, जरूर देखें)


लंदन से न्यू यॉर्क और वहां से लेकर दिल्ली तक अगर 1-2 लाख लोग किसी प्रदर्शन या रैली में जमा हो जाते हैं तो वह बहुत बड़ी खबर अखबारों और टीवी पर बन जाती है। हज पर आने वाले हाजिय़ों की भीड़ या भारत में होने वाले कुंभ या महाकुंभ मेले की भीड़ का रेकॉर्ड हर साल टूटने की खबरें भी आती रहती हैं। लेकिन कई सदियों से खामोशी से कई करोड़ लोग करबला में इमाम हुसैन और करबला के 71 शहीदों का चेहल्लुम मनाने पहुंचते हैं और वापस आ जाते हैं।

ताज्जुब है कि विश्व मीडिया की नजर इसकी कवरेज पर कभी गई। करबला जाने वाले जायरीन इसकी उम्मीद भी नहीं रखते। क्योंकि उन्हें मालूम है कि पैगंबर हजरत मोहम्मद साहब का जो नवासा उनके दिलों में राज कर रहा है, वह किसी मीडिया कवरेज का मुहताज नहीं है। अमेरिका के एक प्रमुख अंग्रेजी अखबार हफिंग्टन पोस्ट ने अरबईन के बारे में एक रिपोर्ट प्रकाशित इस बात पर हैरानी जताई है कि जिस मुकाम पर हज और भारत के कुंभ से भी ज्यादा भीड़ जमा होती हो, वहां सबकुछ इतना सादगी और खामोशी से होता है कि विश्वास नहीं होता।

इस अखबार के मुताबिक करबला में सिर्फ शिया मुसलमान ही नहीं बल्कि सुन्नी मुसलमान औऱ ईसाई भी पहुंचते हैं, हालांकि इमाम हुसैन औऱ अहले बैत को सिर्फ शिया लोग ही ज्यादा मानते हैं लेकिन इमाम हुसैन और 71 शहीदों ने जिस तरह की बेमिसाल कुर्बानी पेश की है, वह हर धर्म-हर वर्ग के लोगों को आकर्षित करता है। हफिंग्टन पोस्ट का कहना है कि दरअसल अरबईन को गिनीज बुक आफ वर्ल्ड रेकॉर्ड में शामिल किया जाना चाहिए और वह भी तमाम अलग-अलग कैटेगिरी में।

इस बीच ईरान के सुप्रीम लीडर अयतुल्लाह सैयद अली खमानेई ने कहा है कि करबला की तरफ अरबईन (चेहल्लुम) मार्च एक ऐसी अप्रत्याशित पहल है जिसमें हर मोमिन और मोमिना इमाम हुसैन, करबला के 71 शहीदों और अहले बैत से अपनी मोहब्बत, विश्वास का इजहार करते हैं। उन्होंने करबला की तरफ जाने वाले जायरीन से कहा कि वे जहां जा रहे हैं, वहां (इराक) के कानून और नियमों का पालन करें।

People are marching towards Karbala...for Arbyeen







On the way Karbala, Local people make all arrangements for pilgrims...free food...free lodging...free water...free shelter



They say all pilgrims are guest of Imam Hussain and its our duty to welcome them...because we are custodians of Karbala











...And How we can forget Bibi Fatima during Arbyeen...

Pilgrims paying tributes at Bibi Fatima shrine on their way to Karbala













Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Ashura Day in Delhi (India)....Muharram 1437

World's second largest democracy is India...and there is no restrictions on any Religious Processions in this Country. Many islamic countries banned Muharram Processions calling them anti islamic but there is no ban in India and Pakistan. In Saudi Arabia shia muslims can't weep in open on martydom of Hazrat Ali and Imam Hussain.

Shia population is not so big as other communities but Indian Capital Delhi feels their presence in every Muharram. On Ashura Day in 1437 hobby Photographer Syed Rajat Abbas Kirmani captured some moods of Muharram in narrow lanes of Delhi-6.

Those Islamic countries who supporting ISIS and crushing shia population they can learn from India and can give rights to their people.


Procession is passing out from Kashmiri Gate Delhi...






Shia Women were there in large numbers in this procession...








Even Teenagers and children participated with full faith...








Not just Syed Rajat Abbas was there but photographers from many countries were there...









Final Declaration from Delhi: We are Hussaini...this Red Flag telling the world...

Copyrights@www.shiaazadari.in and Syed Rajat Abbas Kirmani











Sunday, May 03, 2015

Congratulations on Birth Anniversary of Hazrat Ali (ah)



World celebrating Birth Anniversary of Imam Ali today. Nauhakhawn Mir Hasan Mir presenting a kalam on Imam ALI...it's worth listening...




Thursday, April 16, 2015

If you know story of Necklace…What was it’s relation with Fatima AL-Zahra ?


Perhaps our new generation not aware with this story. We are celebrating birth anniversary of BIBI Fatim (pubh) and every Shia or Shiit Youth should know this story. Fatim is role model for every woman and whenever History will do justice with Fatima every aspect of her life will come in public domain.



Jabir Ibn Abdullah Al-Ansari penned this story and let us read his narration with full faith.


One day, we were with the Prophet Mohammed after Asr (after noon) prayer when an old immigrant man came by who was wearing worn out clothes and was barely able to walk because of his old age and weakness. Prophet Mohammed asked him about his welfare and the old immigrant man said, I am starving, feed me; I am naked, so cloth me; and I am poor, so help me!"
                

Prophet said, Surely I have nothing to give you, yet, he, who guides to goodness is equal to one who performs it. So go to the house of one (she) who loves Allah and His messenger, and Allah and His messenger love her. The one who prefers Allah over herself; I mean Fatima.


Fatima Al-Zahra's  house was near to that of Prophet Mohammed. He asked Hazrat Bilal to lead the old immigrant man to her house. As soon as they reached her house, the old immigrant man cried out loudly. Fatima daughter of Mohammed responded to his greetings and asked who he was, to which, the old immigrant man replied, I am an old Arab man. I have emigrated from a distant land. O Daughter of Prophet Mohammed! I am hungry and in need of clothing - so console me and may Allah bless you.


This incident occurred at a time when Prophet Mohammed, Imam Ali and Fatima daughter of Mohammed had not eaten anything for three days. Fatima daughter of Mohammed looked around. The only thing she could see in the house was a goatskin on which his two little children, Imam Al-Hassan and Imam Al-Hussayn used to sleep. She picked up the goatskin and came to door. She extended that goatskin to the old man from behind the door and said: Please take this and fulfill your needs. However, the old man said, O Daughter of Prophet Muhammad! I complain to you of hunger and you give me a goatskin? How can I eat this?


Fatima daughter of Mohammed thought and then she realized that she was wearing a necklace which was the wedding gift from Fatimah the daughter of Hamzah bin Abdul-Muttalib. Fatima took the necklace off and gave it to the old man saying, Sell this and Allah The Almighty will grant you with a solution to your problem. The old man took the necklace, brought and showed it to the Prophet Mohammed. Prophet Mohammed looked at the necklace and his eyes filled up with tears. He said, Indeed Allah The Almighty will grant you a solution, for Fatima, the Mistress of all the women has given to you this necklace.


Ammar bin Yasir, who was present among the companions said, O Messenger of Allah! Do you allow me to buy this necklace? Prophet Mohammed said, Buy it Ammar, surely if all men and women participate in its purchase, Allah The Almighty will protect them from Hell-fire". Ammar bin Yasir asked the old man for its price and he replied, A meal of bread and meat, a Yemeni shirt to cover myself and a dinar to return to my family. Ammar bin Yasir gave him 20 dinar and 200 Dirhams, a Yemeni shirt, wheat bread and meat, and a horse to take him to his home. Prophet Mohammed asked the old man if he was satisfied with all that and he replied in affirmation. So reward Fatima for her kindness, said Prophet Mohammed. The old man prayed, O Allah! Give Fatima that which no eyes have ever seen and no ears have ever heard.


Ammar bin Yasir perfumed the necklace with musk and sent it to Prophet Mohammed with a slave named Sahm whom he had purchased with the booty he received from Khaybar, saying, Give this necklace to the Messenger of Allah and tell him that I gift you to him too. When the slave delivered the necklace and the message, Prophet Mohammed said to him, Take this necklace to Fatima and I gift you to her. When the slave came to Fatima daughter of Mohammed, she took her necklace back and set the slave free. When the slave was set free, he laughed loudly.


People who had been watching the whole thing, asked Sahm for the reason of his laughing. Sahm replied: I laughed when I thought of the abundance of goodness in this glorious necklace - it came out of the house, fed a hungry man, clothed a naked man, and provided for a lost wayfarer. It then freed a slave from his bond and then returned to its rightful owner/mistress. 



Saturday, March 07, 2015

Last Words of Bibi Fatima Zahra (sa)


What were last words of Bibi Fatima Zahra...watch and listen this video and in another video Majlis in Lucknow about Fatima Zahra...Allama Zameer Akhtar Naqvi....and in last mourning pictures of Bibi from Holy Shrine of Hazrat Ali in Karbala...




Majlis Khamsa of Shahzadi Fatima (SA) from Lucknow by Allama Zameer Akhtar Naqvi...











Lifestyle of Hazrat Zahra (SA) ...

In Karbala an exhibition was held in this week on Hazrat Zahra, in which you can see some rare belongings to this noble lady and can think about her like...





 











Ayatollah Mohsen Araki: Muslims should hold Hazrat Zahrah’s lifestyle as model


General Secretory of the World Forum for Proximity of the Islamic Schools of Thought, Ayatollah Mohsen Araki urged Muslim women to take the lifestyle of Hazrat Zahra (SA) as a model for their lives.
Speaking in a visit with the head of the Center for Women and Family Affairs, Maryam Mojtahed Zadeh, Ayatollah Mohsen Araki underscored that Hazrat Zahra (SA) should be introduced to Muslims as the axis of unity and rapprochement in the Islamic Society. 

General Secretory of the World Forum for Proximity of the Islamic Schools of Thought stressed the efficacy of Islamic principles which is crystallized in Hazrat Zahra's (SA) lifestyle and underscored this very fact that Islamic instructions and teachings can even impress women in western countries.

To Ayatollah Araki, it is Muslims’ honor to have Hazrat Zahra’s love in their heart.
General Secretory of the World Forum for Proximity of the Islamic Schools of Thought always stresses the special status of Hazrat Zahra (SA) in the divine religion of Islam and underscores all the eleven infallible Imams are bought to this world on account of Hazrat Zahra’s existence.

The grand Ayatollah earlier in his remarks mentioned that without Hazrat Fatima (SA), no trace of values and code of ethics would exist in the world. “Fatima is the best far and away exemplary of purity and people worldwide should take lesson from this model,” the grand Ayatollah stressed. 

Hazrat Fatima (SA) is widely hailed as a perfect role model for women and a beacon of inspiration for all Muslims. She has a special status and position in the undying love.
Her piety, wisdom and status remain unparalleled and the holy Prophet’s love for his only daughter was truly immense.

Monday, March 02, 2015

All sanctions must go if US wants a nuke deal: Iran




Geneva, Mar 2 - A deal on Iran's nuclear programme could be concluded if the US and other Western powers agree to remove all sanctions on Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said today. 
 
"If they want an agreement, sanctions must go. We believe all sanctions must be lifted," Zarif said after a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry on the sidelines of the UN Human Rights Council session in Montreux. 
 
The meetings of the political directors are also underway of the so-called P5+1 group--the UN Security Council permanent members plus Germany-- and the Iraninan nuclear delegation which includes President Hassan Rouhani's brother, Hossein Fereidoun, AEOI head, Ali Akbar Salehi, his deputy Kamalvandi and Deputy Foreign Minister, Seyed Abbas Araghchi. 
 
Before leaving for Montreux, Kerry said, "We all believe that the best way to deal with the question surrounding this nuclear programme is to find a comprehensive deal but not a deal that comes with any cost. Not a deal for the purpose of a deal." 
 
"But one that meets the test of providing the answers and the guarantees that are needed in order to know that the four pathways to a nuclear bomb have been closed off," Kerry said.
"Right now no deal exists; no partial deal exists. Unless Iran makes the difficult decisions it requires to make then there will be no deal," Kerry emphasised. 
 
"Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. That is the standard on which this deal is taking place," he added.
In a press conference with his Italian counterpart Zarif accused Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu of trying to sabotage the nuclear talks. 
 
The US and Iranian diplomats along with negotiators from the P5+1 group had met in Geneva last week to smoothen out major bumps in reaching a nuclear deal. 
 
"Iran needs to provide a set of verifiable set of commitments that its program is indeed peaceful. We will not accept a bad deal. No deal; is better than a bad deal. We have made some progress but we have a long way to go and the clock is ticking," said Kerry. 
 
Two deadlines for a permanent agreement have been missed since a November 2013 interim deal, where Iran was given limited sanctions relief in exchange for Iran diluting its stock of fissile material from 20 per cent enriched uranium to five per cent.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Bahrain Where is Your Right of Expression ?????????


Rights groups urge pressure on Bahrain to acquit activist


Dubai, Jan 16, 2015 - Rights groups urged Bahrain's Western allies on Friday to pressure the kingdom to drop charges against prominent activist Nabeel Rajab, on trial over tweets deemed insulting to public institutions. 



Rajab, a member of Bahrain's Shiite majority which has held protests against the Gulf kingdom's Sunni rulers since 2011, was released from custody in November and will stand trial on January 20.

"Bahrain's allies including the United Kingdom, Germany, France and other European countries should publicly call on Manama to drop charges against the human rights advocate Nabeel Rajab," Human Rights Watch and the Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR) said. 
 

Rajab was arrested in October after posting comments on Twitter about the interior and defence ministries.

In one of his tweets, Rajab charged that many Bahrainis fighting with jihadists in Syria were former security forces personnel who had developed extremist views while in service. 
 

Bahrain, home to the US Fifth Fleet, is among the countries that have joined the international coalition against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq. 
 

"This is an open-and-shut freedom of expression case," said HRW deputy MENA director Joe Stork. "Due process is not the issue here -- Nabeel Rajab should never have been charged in the first place."

If convicted, Rajab could face six years in prison, according to the groups. 



"All those governments that are proclaiming their dedication to free expression should be making clear to Bahrain that Nabeel should not be jailed," said Khalid Ibrahim, director of programmes at the GCHR, a regional rights watchdog. 
 

Rajab is the director of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and was freed in May last year after serving two years in jail for taking part in unauthorised protests. 
 

He had led anti-government marches following a bloody crackdown on Shiite-led demonstrations against the Al-Khalifa ruling family in March 2011.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Middle East Muslims protest prophet cartoon



Amman, Jan 16, 2015 - Muslims marched Friday in Middle Eastern cities against a new cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed published by French magazine Charlie Hebdo, as Gulf states warned the drawing could fuel hatred. 
 

The largest rally was in Jordan, where around 2,500 protesters took to the streets of the capital Amman amid tightened security, while demonstrations also took place in east Jerusalem and Khartoum. 
 

The crowd, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood and youth groups, set off from Al-Husseini mosque in central Amman holding banners that read "insulting the prophet is global terrorism". 
 

The latest issue of Charlie Hebdo, published on Wednesday, features a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed on its cover holding a "Je Suis Charlie" sign under the headline "All is forgiven".

It was the first edition of the satirical magazine to be published since Islamist gunmen killed 12 people in an attack on its Paris offices on January 7 over such cartoons. 
 

The image has angered many Muslims as depictions of Mohammed are considered forbidden in Islam.

Qatar condemned what it called the "offensive" cartoon, which was also reprinted by several European papers in a show of solidarity with the victims of last week's attack. 
 

"These disgraceful actions are in the interest of nobody and will only fuel hatred and anger," the foreign ministry warned, describing them as a "violation of human values of peaceful coexistence, tolerance, justice, and respect among people." 
 

Bahrain's foreign ministry echoed the warning, saying publication of such cartoons "will create fertile ground for the spread of hatred and terrorism".

Charlie Hebdo's latest cartoon is "disgraceful" and no more than attempt to "provoke" Muslims and "mock" their beliefs, it said. 
 

Both Qatar and Bahrain had sent representatives to a massive march in Paris Sunday in support of free speech, alongside French President Francois Hollande and many other world leaders.

Jordan's King Abdullah II, who also attended the weekend march against terrorism, on Thursday said the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo was "irresponsible and reckless". 
 

Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated at Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound Friday, some with banners reading "Islam is a religion of peace!" and "Our leader will forever be Mohammed". 
 

Israeli security forces, which control access to the compound -- the focal point of months of Jewish-Muslim tensions in the Holy Land -- said Friday prayer passed off without incident, and there were no initial reports of violence linked to the demonstration afterwards. 
 

In Khartoum, hundreds of demonstrators poured out of the Grand Mosque and marched across the adjacent square, chanting "Expel the French ambassador, victory to the Prophet of God!", an AFP correspondent said. 
 

One banner in Arabic said: "The French government should apologise and the French government must stop insults to religious figures".

In Lebanon's northern flashpoint city of Tripoli, 70 people staged a march carrying banners bearing the name of the prophet and chanting "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest). 
 

In Baddawi, on the northern outskirts of the city, prayer leader Sheikh Mohammed Ibrahimi addressed hundreds of worshippers saying: "May God punish this newspaper and those who back it".

A protest against the cartoon in Tehran was cancelled, with no official reason given, as senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ali Movahedi Kermani told worshippers its publication amounted to "savagery".

In Tunis, worshippers at El-Fath mosque interrupted prayer leader Noureddine Khadmi as he delivered a sermon saying: "We are all against insults made against our prophet but it is not a reason to kill". 
 

Charlie Hebdo journalists "deserved to be killed because they insulted our prophet many times," the worshippers cried out. 
 

Saudi Arabia's top religious body, the Council of Senior Ulema, also criticised the new publication of Mohammed cartoons that it said "have nothing to do with the freedom of creativity or thought".

Its secretary general Fahd al-Majid warned that publishing such images would only "serve extremists who are in search of excuses for killing and terrorism". 
 

Pakistan's Shiites (Shias) Move to India : Dalai Lama

Kolkata (India) - Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, believes India is safe for the Muslim community, and the degree of security can be a ray of hope for the persecuted Shia community in Pakistan.


“Pakistan is a Muslim country but Shias are not safe there. But Muslims are safe in India. The Shia community should come to India and (be) safe,” he said on Tuesday at a programme organised by the Presidency University in Kolkata.
The Tibetan spiritual leader added that Indian Muslims can offer lessons in Sunni-Shia harmony as the Shias are safe in India.

Should Marja Join Politics ?

Najaf  (Iraq) - Since Sunni militants of the Islamic State group overran large parts of Iraq, the country's most prominent Shiite (Shia) cleric has fundamentally altered his spiritual role and has plunged straight into politics, weighing in on government policy and the fight against the extremists.

The shift by the Iranian-born Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani underlines the key role played by religion in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq and takes the troubled country down a potentially dangerous path, given its deep sectarian and ethnic tensions. His role falls well short of Iranian-style theocracy, in which the top cleric has the final word on everything, but Iraq's government clearly feels it must listen to him.

Al-Sistani saw it as a necessity to step in with his moral authority given the failures of politicians and the collapse of the military when the Islamic State group overran much of the north and west last summer, an aide said.

``It is his legitimate right, but he did not seek to exercise it. It was forced upon him,'' the aide in the holy city of Najaf, south of Baghdad, told, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. ``People wait from one Friday to the next to hear what Sayed al-Sistani has to say.''

In June 2014, al-Sistani pushed for the removal of then-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, seen even by many of his fellow Shiites as to blame for the meltdown. Al-Maliki stepped down in August, replaced by Haidar al-Abadi, another Shiite politician who promised a more inclusive administration.

The 87-year-old cleric also swiftly called on all able-bodied Iraqi men to join a jihad, or holy struggle, against the Islamic State group, and hundreds of thousands _ overwhelmingly Shiites _ responded.

In the months since, the grand ayatollah has weighed in on matters in unprecedented detail, often through sermons delivered by his representative, Sheikh Abdul-Mahdi al-Karbalaie, in the holy city of Karbala south of Baghdad.

A Jan. 9 sermon by al-Karbalaie, for example, showcased the lengths al-Sistani is willing to go in wielding his influence. The sermon called on officials to quickly use natural gas resources to compensate for revenues lost because of falling crude prices and to cut back on vacations to boost productivity.

In recent weeks, al-Karbalaie's Friday sermons, drafted by al-Sistani's office in Najaf a day in advance, have urged the government to stop procrastinating and quickly approve the 2015 national budget, warned against complacency after a string of victories against the militants, and called for an end to the theft of state-owned lands and for the purging of corruption.

Al-Sistani holds the title of ``al-marjaa al-akbar,'' or the ``greatest object of emulation,'' and is venerated as a voice of reason in Iraq and among the more than 200 million Shiites worldwide.

He works in austere reclusion, almost never seen in public, from his modest home in Najaf's old quarter, a maze of alleys lined by old homes, religious seminaries that attract students from across the world and stores that sell religious books and prayer rugs, jewelry, clothes, fruits and spices.

He does not subscribe to the religious principle on which the Islamic republic in Iran is based, ``welayet al-faqeeh,'' or rule by the most learned cleric.

Still, he has waded into politics several times since the fall of Saddam nearly 12 years ago, using his standing to keep stability throughout Iraq's shaky and often bloody shift to democratic rule, through religious edicts or closed meetings with key political players at his home. He has had a major political impact at times, but has never spoken out as persistently or in such detail as he does now.

Al-Sistani is the most senior of four grand ayatollahs in Najaf, and is accorded a deeper reverence than the other three.

Last year, one of the three _ Pakistani-born Grand Ayatollah Bashir al-Najafi _ issued a thinly-veiled denunciation of al-Maliki, calling on voters not to elect him. Al-Maliki's aides called it a violation of neutrality, and al-Najafi's aides complained that authorities detained several of his non-Iraqi students for visa violations in retaliation.

But there was no such reaction when al-Sistani in June called for a ``change'' of prime ministers in an edict that sealed the fate of al-Maliki.

``There should be no separation between religion and politics,'' said Hassan Salem, a lawmaker from the ``Faithful'' bloc, the political arm of Asaib al-Haq, an Iranian-backed militia. ``We are in a dire need of even more intervention by the Marjaiyah,'' he added, using the Arabic word for the collective Shiite spiritual leadership.

Al-Sistani's interventions resonate with Iraq's Shiite majority and even many Sunnis because of the government's perceived inefficiency and corruption. His call for jihad, the first of its kind by a top Shiite cleric in Iraq since 1920, is credited with denying the Islamic State the opportunity to overrun Baghdad and Samarra, home to a major Shiite shrine.

But the flood of Shiite volunteers has also given the fight a sharp sectarian slant, and there have been numerous reports of abuses perpetrated by the militias against Sunni civilians. Al-Sistani has had to issue a string of statements condemning the militias' excesses and prohibiting the theft of property in Sunni areas.


The recent creation of a state agency in charge of the volunteers _ the Popular Mobilization Authority _ has given Iranian-backed militias a degree of official recognition as well as financial and other support from the state.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Hezbollah chief threatens Israel over Syria strikes



Beirut, Jan 15 - Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has threatened to retaliate against Israel for repeated strikes on Syria, in an television interview to be broadcast today. 
 
Nasrallah told Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen that his Iran-backed Shiite movement was well armed and always ready to fight Israel, according to excerpts of the interview issued ahead of its broadcast.
A key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Nasrallah said that Israeli strikes on Syria "target the whole of the resistance axis", which includes Hezbollah, Damascus and Tehran. 
 
"The repeated bombings that struck several targets in Syria are a major violation, and we consider that any strike against Syria is a strike against the whole of the resistance axis, not just against Syria," he said. 


"The axis is capable of responding. This can happen any time."
The Israeli air force has carried out several raids against targets in Syria, including depots storing weapons meant for Hezbollah, since the conflict there started nearly four years ago. 
 
The most recent strike was in December, when Israeli warplanes struck weapons warehouses near Damascus, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.
Israel has never confirmed it carried out the strikes, but it says it has a policy of preventing arms transfers to militant groups including Hezbollah. 
 
Israeli media said, however, after the December strikes that the air force had targeted arms convoys or depots of Iranian-made rockets. 
 
Hezbollah has sent thousands of fighters into Syria to defend Assad's regime.
In 2006, Hezbollah and Israel fought a devastating war that killed some 1,200 Lebanese -- most of them civilians -- and 160 Israelis -- most of them soldiers. 
 
In today's interview, Nasrallah said his movement was ready to fight a new war against Israel in Lebanon and renewed a threat to invade the Galilee region of northern Israel. 
 
Hezbollah fighters "must be prepared", he said. "When the resistance (Hezbollah) leadership... asks you (fighters)... to enter into Galilee, that means the resistance must be ready to enter into Galilee and to go even beyond the Galilee." 
 
Asked about Hezbollah's arsenal, Nasrallah said the group had "all (the weapons) you can imagine... and in great quantities". 
 
He added: "We are now stronger than we ever were as a resistance movement."