Attack of the Body-Snatchers

(New York Post) Amir Taheri - Hajar bin Udai, a companion of Prophet Muhammad, is regarded as the first Shiite martyr. Before the current conflict in Syria, more than a million Shiite pilgrims a year, mostly from Iran, visited the sumptuous Iranian-built shrine in the Damascus suburb Marj Arda where Hajar was said to be buried. Last week, Sunni militants operating under the name of Jabhat al-Nusra attacked the shrine, dismantled the gilded fence around the grave and claimed to have disinterred the corpse. The militants are followers of Ibn Taymiyyah, the medieval Islamic theologian whose work inspired Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab, the founder of the Wahhabi movement, which opposes the building of shrines at places of burial on the grounds that this is a diversion from exclusive attention to God. Over the centuries, its followers have destroyed thousands of shrines and graveyards in the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, Jordan and Syria. Radical Sunni groups across the Muslim world have been celebrating the demolition of Hajar's shrine.

2013-05-14 00:00:00

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