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August 4, 2013

UK govt urged to stop supporting Al-Qaeda-linked groups

National

August 4, 2013

LONDON: Pakistani Shia organisations have called on the British government to stop funding Al-Qaeda inspired fighters in Syria who have attacked the shrines of the Islam’s holiest figures including the shrine of Hazrat Zainab (AS), the granddaughter of Prophet Muhamamd (Peace Be Upon Him).
At least 1,000 men and women gathered outside 10 Downing Street on Saturday and protested for five hours seeking an end to the secret and open support Britain has been providing to groups in Syria - some of them extremely radical and sectarian - who have been fighting the government of President Bashar Assad. The demonstration was organised by the Anjuman Ghulaman-e-Hazart Abbas (AGHA) Northampton and joined by several community organisations. Protestors chanted slogans demanding protection of the holy shrines and held mourning procession.
Syed Nasir Abbas Jafri demanded why the British government was using the taxpayers’ money to support groups which are opposed to diverse Muslim thoughts as well as the Western country and want to eliminate everyone who doesn’t believe in their ideology. Jafri said that attack on the shrines of the Holey Prophet’s companions and family has sent shock waves across Muslim communities in the world and rocket attacks on the holy shrine of Bibi Zainab (AS) is particularly very worrying because the whole conflict is taking a sectarian shape and that will mean warfare in every Muslim country.
He said that it was Britain’s right to support any political group it wanted for its own aims in the region but supporting terrorist organisations and giving them a free hand to attack other Muslims was akin to encouraging terrorism. He demanded that British government was in touch with extremist groups in Syria and must seek guarantee from them that they will not attack shrines, which are respectable to Muslims from all over the world.
He said that Britain had become home to sectarianism as many mosques in Britain are now dependant on

funding from some powerful Middle Eastern countries.
The protestors said that Hazrat Zainab (AS) was respected by all groups and sects of Islam and even non-Muslims have accepted her high status and personality. They said that several British nationals are also engaged in fighting alongside Syrian opposition but the government and media was treating them as a hero. They said it spoke volumes about the double standards of the British government’s foreign policy. A petition presented to Prime Minister Cameron’s office reminded that terrorists in Syria have killed thousands of Muslims and Christians. The petition said that same mindset is involved in sectarian killings in Pakistan and “it is the same mindset we saw on the streets of London by way killing British soldier Drummer Lee Rigby”.
The petition stated that preservation of holy shrines was a basic human right, which be respected everywhere and those who demolish the holy places should not be supported “directly and indirectly”.