The Secretary General of World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought sat down with Mehr News Political Service where, in a lengthy interview he discussed Britain and Saudi Arabia’s support for Ayatollah Sadiq Shirazi’s notorious circle.
An effective method employed by the imperialist intelligence services to weaken Islam – especially the British MI6, US CIA, and Zionists’ Mossad – has been to sow discord among Islamic denominations. The establishment and support of extremist Sunni groups, the so-called Wahhabi-Takfirist groups, along with the same plan for Shia extremists inside Iran, Iraq and other countries in the region has been among the many approaches of their anti-Islamic master plan.
Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, has criticized this trend; “we do not recognize a Shia circle with roots in London as a genuine one; this is not the Shiism the Imams (sa) propagated and supported; a Shiism which hinges upon sectarian strife and which paves the grounds for Islam’s enemies. This is not Shiism, but a heresy,” said the Leader on one occasion.
To help give our readers a better understanding of Ayatollah Sadiq Shirazi’s circle and its British contingent, the Mehr News Political Service interviewed Ayatollah Mohsen Araki, who criticized Ayatollah Shirazi’s circle, which garnered an angry response by the media which supports and advocates Shirazi’s reading of the Shia teachings.
“I spoke to the media of my criticism of the circle out of a sense of duty, and I predicted such hostile reactions; however, for a cleric with 45 years of presence on the frontlines and who has had his life exposed to grave threats in this path, such reactions do not matter, even a little,” said Ayatollah Araki to Mehr News.
“The Shirazi circle is a well-organized political party which seeks specific objectives; it presents its political objectives veiled as popular religious propaganda, and in this path, it has the support of the forces beyond the region; I can provide incontrovertible evidence for this claim, which our intelligence services have recorded; the evidence will be divulged anytime the expediencies rule,” he added.
Ayatollah Araki ensured that the evidence shows that Saudi Arabia has provided support for the Shirazi circle; “we have precise evidence that the Sunni majority Saudi Arabia, which itself is a self-avowed enemy of Shiism, has its own special network which act as mediators between Shirazi’s circle and the Kingdom (of Saudi Arabia),” he asserted.
Ayatollah Araki downplayed the prestige and popularity of the circle among seminary school students; “despite all their resources and lavish payments, the circle has completely failed to educate a scientific figure which could be called, in the tradition of the seminary schools, a qualified person by the standards of fiqh,” he told Mehr News.
The former head of London’s Islamic Centre of England further elaborated on the theoretical and practical foundations of the circle; “in both theory and practice, the circle’s teachings are directly opposed to the very concept of unity within Muslims; the circle has its own specific positions on grand issues in the Islamic world including the issue of Palestine and its recognition of Zionist state; the circle’s major concerns lie not in fighting with Britain, the US, and their vassal states in the region; rather, they see the situation and the status quo as natural and favorable,” Ayatollah Araki said.
“Ayatollah Sadiq Shirazi himself lacks the qualities and the scientific requirements of a figure who can have specific opinions in Islamic fiqh; his seminary education belies his calling as a mujtahid (one who analyzes the whole sunna and the scriptures to arrive at specific solutions); their very feat has been to collect a heterogeneous mixture of figures who are not very well trained in Islamic seminary lore, but who are very adept in Islamic rituals and at evoking sympathetic feelings amongst the masses,” Ayatollah Araki asserted.
Ayatollah Araki believes that his critiques leveled against the circle has caused reverberations beyond the immediate borders of Iran and proved effective in shedding some light on the dark and unknown parts of the Shirazi circle; “the group is a disparate and isolated group among the multitude of pious believers; the evidence that they depend on foreign sources are manifest and would not need much examination; they act according to British policies to a tee; and for a long time. Britain has been active in creating fake denominations out of the belly of other major denominations; for example, they supported and fostered the Bahá’í sect, who found Palestine a proper place for their headquarters when the land was a British protectorate,” he detailed.
“Wahhabism is also a by-product of the British to further weaken Islam; quite recently, the British have quite brazenly supported and provided resources to Ahmad Hassan al-Yamani, a recent pretender who claimed to be the Messiah; we also have evidence showing that other intelligence agencies, such as CIA and Mossad, also are very active; the mercenary underground groups of these intelligence giants have extensive networks, wielding strong leverage across Iraq,” Ayatollah Araki added. “When I was in Britain, I received reports of the mercenary group’s successful recruitment of young Shia and Sunni people for their intelligence operations; it was obvious that the government was supporting specific groups in universities and places of worship; this is carried out according to a systematic plan, this is the very nature of British Shiism; it is supported and managed by the government’s intelligence services. Other Shias who also live in Britain, actually find it acceptable when they see circles with government support behind them,” he said.
“Of the circles now under the auspices of British intelligence, to which the Shirazis, Yasser al-Habib, and Allahyari (however little he may be known) belong, only the Shirazi’s maintain an organized and systematic circle; both Shia and Sunni Islam suffers from two issues; first, extremist factions inside Shia and Sunni traditions; and second, their deployment in line with foreign objectives; the latter is more dangerous, and is a venue in which the British and the US have scored a level of success; a parallel is evident in ISIL being covertly supported by the same intelligence systems; this accounts for the fact that ISIL has been more dangerous among the host of many cruel extremist Sunni factions operating in Syria and Iraq; a cabal of 10 well-organized people can prove more dangerous than tens of loose groups lacking systematic hierarchy,” he added.
“The Shirazi circle has a poor social status; however, a number of factors make it a grave threat; first, the media empire which serves the circle; of the so-called Congress-approved millions of dollars allocated to fighting groups aligned with the Islamic Republic, the Shirazi circle has received lump sums to establish and run its media network; US officials once admitted to supporting extremist groups from within Shia communities; the circle now runs more than 20 satellite-broadcast TV networks along with social network accounts; and second, their discipline and accuracy in action; and third, the unlimited financial resources it receives,” Ayatollah Araki detailed about the group.
“The Shirazi circle doesn’t have much influence amongst the seminary schools; young seminary students have little knowledge of the group, and could potentially be exposed to the theoretical line of the group; our warning is to these seminary students,” told the Secretary-General of WFPIST. “The first indication is their sound opposition to Muslim unity; for example, they hold a Week of Disavowal of Pagans instead a of Week of Unity, or for example, Seyed Sadiq Shirazi was said to have issued a statement where he demanded that in this year’s Ramadan to support the efforts for the shrine of the Shia 9th and 10th Imams (Asgariyein) instead of supporting or rallying for Quds; these clearly show their highly dissenting line of thought,” Ayatollah Araki told Mehr News.
“The other indication which furthermore exposes the circle’s true nature is its tacit agreement with Zionist line of thinking; the Shirazi circle has so far rejected any group advocating resistance against the Zionist regime; in a TV channel affiliated with the Shirazi circle (Imam Hussein TV), they aired programs opposing Iran’s support for the Gazans, spewing surprising lies about their (Iran’s) support and a more entertaining story of the Gazans and Palestinians in the West Bank; their version of the story had it that Iran’s Red Crescent Association sent Palestine blood bags and such; however they rejected the offerings on the grounds that the blood was Shia blood and they would not accept the possibility that Shia blood flows in their veins. Such lies were intended to incite Iranian people’s feelings against the Palestinians,” Ayatollah Araki asserted.
“The Shirazi circle and others spread gossip which are figments of the US and Zionist intelligence systems; the Shirazi circle has carried out their duty especially well to inspire the intelligence systems’ trust and with it the flow of resources,” he said. Ayatollah Araki soundly rejected rumors in the media that Hamas and other resistance groups actually support the Takfirists; “their line of command mandates its members to remain inside Gaza as its primary mission; even then, Hamas is implicated in operations in Sinai and other parts of Egypt, despite the organization’s manifest claim to the contrary; furthermore, extremists do not even require Hamas’ logistical support. In disparate cases, a few Palestinians do join the extremists, just as it happens in Iran and in Chechnya, cases which are not related to the central command of Hamas,” he emphasized.
“Currently, the Syrian Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood) have renounced the extremist Al-Nusra Front and ISIL. They have no relation to the organization’s branches in Jordan and Hamas in the Gaza Strip; Ikhwan lacks the internal solidarity which would be expected of a religious organization, and its affiliated groups in Egypt and Turkey act with a great level of autonomy, depending on the political conditions of the host country. They show similar sentiments in some issues; however, they act independently (of one another),” said the former head of London’s Islamic Centre.
He then went back to the Shirazi circle and their callous indifference to the desperate situation and crimes in Yemen committed by US’ ally, Saudi Arabia; “no one could remain apathetic upon seeing the plight of Yemeni civilians caused by Saudi airstrikes; however, the circle has adopted a policy of silence. Neither does the group react out of a sense of duty against similar acts by the US and British in the region. On Iraqi issues, they turn a blind eye to foreign troops. However they are quick to implicate Iran in crimes and terrorist acts targeting Iraqis,” he said.
“A fourth characteristic of British Shiism of the Shirazi circle is that they are virtually illiterate in important matters of fiqh and Islamic sharia. For example, to cite a single case; a prominent figure amongst the circle asserted that all hadith collected in voluminous Bihar al-Anwar of Allama Baqer Majlisi (Safavid era and later) are authentic, an assertion Allama himself would have not imagined to claim. The number of unauthentic and highly controversial reports in Bihar is beyond such a claim. This assertion would have allowed the circle do as they wish by fabricating novel readings of hadith (as pejoratively termed ‘innovations in sharia’) in purportedly justifying emerging issues in the Islamic world, but actually to justify their own unorthodox interpretation of the sharia,” Ayatollah Araki told Mehr News.
“The Shirazi circle has always generally avoided accurate interpretations of the main line of history such as the Battle of Karbala and Imam Hussein’s (as) real objectives; they have also put little effort to defending the Imam’s rationale of the event through publishing pamphlets and statements; today, the Sunni mainstream line of thinking have cast serious doubts to this rationale; however, such doubts have failed to trigger a response amongst the Shirazi circle, despite their claim to Shiism and the glorification of the Battle (of Karbala) itself,” Ayatollah objected.
“The circle’s antics on special Shia occasions work to make the highly respected rituals of the religion seem ridiculous in the eyes of the non-Muslims; for example, they walk bare-footed, walking across a field of thorns or fire; such practices have nothing to do with Husseini (as) rituals, but are set to deviate all those who would seek Shiism as the true version of Islam,” he said.
“The nature of the circle has been more or less exposed by their very own conduct; the events surrounding the death of Sheikh Hassan Shahateh (an Egyptian Shia figure) revealed that people of a purely lower social class killed the Sheikh due to a provocation; but who was behind the crime? Yasser al-Habib, an associate of Sadiq Shirazi’s, and who acts as his mouthpiece, and is a foster-child of the circle, was a major player in this gruesome scenario,” Ayatollah Araki accounted. “The story goes that one week before the martyrdom of the Sheikh, Fadak TV (another Shirazi affiliate) interviewed him, trying, desperately with a blatant, though successful, attempt to record a disparaging remark toward Sunni sacred figures voiced by the Sheikh, which was provocative in a Sunni-majority country, and precipitated public anger and the events which ensued; a banner in the Sheikh’s neighborhood was hanged which said provocatively, “why do you sit indolent, while some figures desecrate your [Sunni] sacrosanct beliefs in the daylight,”” he lamented.
“A similar case is the Shirazi circle’s misguided and extremely gross conduct in creating unbridgeable gaps between Shia and Sunnis as is provided by in case of Abdolmalik Rigi; it was found in his interrogation file his measures to incite the simple young Sunni people of Sistan and Baluchistan by presenting them audio of speeches by Sadiq Shirazi’s entourage, who have no qualms in desecrating Sunni canonical beliefs; in Iraq as well, the circle is behind interfaith strife; for example in Baghdad, extremist Shias engaged in insulting behavior towards the shrine of Abu Hanifa (one of the quartet of Sunni scholars or ‘imams’), to which the response was a series of suicide attacks on Shia neighborhoods,” he emphasized.
“Fortunately, such provocations do not tantalize ISIL to attempt crossing Iranian borders; all the players in the country are coordinated towards strict control of the situation inside; among the players are also Sunni religious leaders as well; so far, we have not seen significant development inside the country in terms of major recruitment by ISIL. With a cursory examination, you readily come to Shia TV and the family of the Shirazi circle which actively spreads hatred, angers young Sunni people around the world and makes them step closer to join ISIL with the intention to fight whom they believe are ‘the rafidhis in Iran and Iraq;’ on the other hand, Sunni TV brainwashes Sunnis against Shia communities in the region, parallel to the Shirazi circle’s machinations to spread interfaith hatred and dismay,” Ayatollah Araki told Mehr News.
“The Unity Conference only focuses on influential leaders, and so far, it has succeeded in wielding a huge impact on the mentality of such leaders; analysis suggests a good measure of success for the Conference and reports by famous enemy media outlets such as the BBC focusing on the Conference; the BBC waged a considerable attempt to minimize the effect of the Conference, but to no avail; such media reactions from, for example CNN indicate the scope and depth of the impact the event spreads across the Muslim and non-Muslim world; Al-Arabiya reacted harshly and disparagingly to the Conference as well; no such reactions would have been seen about a similar conference held in Al-Azhar University. This is because their scope of influence is far less compared to the Unity Conference held in Tehran. We have also seen reverberations in the way world received the Conference. Religious leaders acknowledged the impact the Conference had on its audience; this is not the only activity (carried out) by the Proximity Forum; the Conference acts only as a place for voicing the official position on major issues in the Islamic world. This is the raison d’être of the Conference,” he concluded.