Sowing Discord Among Muslims Betrayal of Islam: Al Azhar

People inspect the inside of a mosque following a bombing in Kunduz province northern Afghanistan, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021.

Calls mount for urgent action to protect mosques and worshippers in Afghanistan

Kabul: Al-Azhar University, Sunni Islam's highest seat of learning, has expressed its "strong condemnation of the treacherous terrorist bombings" in Kandahar, Afghanistan saying that those who kill worshipers in God's homes have "sold their religion for a cheap price in the world, and that they will receive their fullest punishment in the hereafter."

Egypt based Al Azhar emphasized that "harping on the differences of Islamic sects, and exploiting them to shed blood and intimidate the innocent is a betrayal of the teachings of Islam."

"The pioneers of sedition in the fields of politics exploit the differences among schools of Islamic thought to sow discord and strife among Muslims. They forget that these Islamic sects have lived side by side under Islam for more than 14 centuries," it added.

More than 60 worshippers were killed in three back-to-back explosions that hit the Bibi Fatima mosque during Friday prayers, one of the biggest blasts in Kandahar city.

It came just a week after a bomb attack claimed by the Daesh terror group killed more than 150 worshippers and left score of others injured during Friday prayers at a mosque in the northeastern city of Kunduz.

Iran's Foreign Ministry condemned the attack stressing the need for Muslim unity to counter hostile divisive plots.

In a statement on Friday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry condemned the killing of Afghan worshippers in three back-to-back explosions during Friday prayers.

Iran warned of plots by the enemies to cause divisions and stressed the need for unity and solidarity among Shias and Sunnis and for rejection of violence and extremism in the name of Islam.

"This heart-wrenching incident and the past tragic events including the terrorist attack in Kunduz highlight more than ever before the need for beefing up security and boosting protection of Shia and Sunni worshiping places and other gatherings in Afghanistan. The Islamic Republic of Iran is confident that our Muslim brothers and sisters in Afghanistan will foil the divisive schemes of their enemies through solidarity, co-thinking and joint efforts."

In Lebanon, Hezbollah called on the Afghan authorities to secure the mosques and the worshipers, and not to leave them "an easy target to be preyed upon by the human wolves left behind by the United States to sow havoc and destruction in Afghanistan to avenge its failure after a long occupation."

It further expressed deep sorrow and regret for the pure blood shed by the terrorists, asking God Almighty to grant the righteous martyrs mercy, the wounded a speedy recovery, and the faithful Afghan people protection from every evil.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the terrorist attack in Kandahar was aimed at fueling religious rift and political conflict in Afghanistan.

"This is not the first terrorist attack targeting Shia Muslims in Afghanistan after the Taliban movement came to power. Obviously, the organizers of such actions aim to incite religious discord and escalate the internal political conflict," she said.

Zakharova said Russia condemns the attack and hopes that its perpetrators will be identified and held accountable.

In Iraq, Qais Khazali, secretary general of Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq resistance movement, called on the international community, particularly Muslim countries, to take immediate action to stop the carnage of Shias in Afghanistan.

Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, a subdivision of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) or Hashd al-Sha'abi, also called on Afghanistan to emulate the anti-terror movement in the Arab country to stop the Takfiri scourge.

In a post on his Twitter account, Abu Ala al-Walai, the group's secretary general, said "issuing statements will not help stop bloodshed" against Muslims in Afghanistan.

"We have experience in this field and therefore we advise them to organize their affairs, raise the level of caution and warning, and especially try to reproduce the experience of Hashd al-Sha'abi," he added.

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