Ashura 1435 A.H. – With Mourning and Shame
by Stephen Suleyman Schwartz
We never cease mourning the martyrdom of the virtuous Imam Husayn, may Allah be well pleased with him, at Karbala in Iraq, in 680 CE. But we also feel shame at the horrific spectacle in Syria, where the vampire regime of the non-Muslim Nusayri sect has murdered hundreds of thousands of harmless citizens.
The clerical state in Iran has dishonored Ashura by its support for the Damascus dictator Bashar Al-Assad, as have many other Shias, in Lebanon, Iraq, Pakistan, Arabia, and even in America. Al-Assad sheds the blood of Muslims in a manner no less heedless than that inflicted on Imam Husayn centuries ago.
Shias who refuse to condemn the Syrian massacres, or worse, who defend Al-Assad with absurd lies, should tremble in contrition for their failure to rise against the Satanic alliance of the Damascus criminals, Hezbollah, and the Tehran oppressors. They have shown that truth has no place in their conception of Islam.
Shias in the past flagellated themselves in guilt over the failure of Muslims to support Imam Husayn, expressing their belief that had they been present at Karbala the murder of the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, would have been prevented. Those Shias should realize today that the historic role has been reversed and express regret that they have not defended the honorable Sunni Muslims of Syria against the Al-Assad onslaught.
We recall Ashura in the words of the great Bektashi divine rahmetli Baba Rexheb Beqiri [1901-95], may his mystery be sanctified, who established the Bektashi order in America, at the teqe in Taylor, Michigan. Blessed Baba Rexheb wrote that Imam Husayn was killed for defending a "constitutional" attitude toward religious rule, liberty, and the welfare of the people. Imam Husayn, according to Baba Rexheb, "kept alive the flag of liberty, the prestige of religious democracy."
Our grief for the people of Syria is deeply and immensely felt. We pray for a speedy end to the suffering in Syria, the destruction of Al-Assad's state apparatus, and the establishment in that country of an inclusive regime that will repudiate equally the non-Muslim Nusayris, Sunni radicals who also threaten the triumph of freedom, but, above all, Tehran and Hezbollah. We reject the despicable and deceptive Iranian-driven propaganda that tries to divert attention from the horrors in Syria with exaggerated allegations of persecution against Shias in Saudi Arabia.
Nothing can exceed, right now, the martyrdom of the Syrian Sunnis.
On this Ashura, we ask for recitations of Fatiha and readings of Surah Ya Sin for the innocent Syrian dead.
Liberation and pluralism for the Syrian people!