Smoke rises from Syrian shelling of Homs
Smoke rises from Syrian shelling of HomsReuters

The Grand Mufti of Syria, Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, has described the battle that is currently taking place in Syria as a “battle against our roots” and has claimed that the Arab Spring is nothing but a Western plot.

According to a report on Thursday in the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Hassoun said that “if Syria collapses, this will lead to the collapse of neighboring states, starting with Lebanon and ending with Saudi Arabia, through Jordan and Iraq; this is because the plan for the Arab and Islamic world is to ensure that no strong state remains, and for our people to kill one another.”

The Syrian Grand Mufti, the report added, said that “the West has authored the term ‘Arab Spring’ to contain the popular resistance [against Israel], in order to target the roots of the ummah and enslave us.”

Asharq Al-Awsat cited an interview Hassoun gave to the Hizbullah affiliated al-Nour radio station, in which he asserted that “what is happening in Syria today is not a process to topple the regime, but rather an operation to push Syria towards religious, cultural and ethnic fragmentation that will create centuries of chaos in the Arab world.”

He added, “This chaos will benefit the Zionist entity that has impudently announced the establishment of the first religious state in the entire region.”

Hassoun called on the Syrian opposition “not to be taken in by the Western project [the Arab Spring] and seize power [in Syria], thereby turning Syria into a democratic state in the western model,” adding that “this is a pipe dream.”

Hassoun also expressed his confidence that “Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is prepared to step down from power in the event that the opposition is prepared to enter dialogue and present a convincing [political] program to the Syrian people.”

He stressed that “we are not against the Syrian opposition…I have contacted the Syrian opposition abroad and, more than four years ago, called on them to return to Syria and conduct dialogue [with the regime].”

Asharq Al-Awsat quoted a spokesman for the Syrian National Council, Samir Nashar, who, responding to the comments issued by Hassoun, expressed his regret that “the Grand Mufti of the country is adopting the rhetoric of Bashar al-Assad and utilizing the same logic of conspiracy.”

Nashar told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the Arab Spring revolutions, including the Syrian revolution, are revolutions for freedom and dignity, rejecting the marginalization of Arab citizens.”