Press Release: The Rebuilding of the Cemeteries of Jannatul Baqi in Medina
The Honorable Secretary Ban Ki Moon
The United Nations
First Avenue at 46th Street
New York NY 10017
Dear Secretary Ki-Moon:
We the undersigned hereby respectfully Petition the above Honorable Dignitaries for the immediate reconstruction of the holy shrines located at the famous cemetery known as Jannatul Baqi in Medina, Saudi Arabia.
Literally ‘Al-Baqi’ in the Arabic language means a ‘tree garden’. It is commonly known as ‘Jannatul Baqi’ or the heaven due to its sanctity as in it are buried many of the last Prophet of Islam, Muhammad’s relatives and companions.
This includes Prophet Muhammad’s son Ibrahim who died in infancy along with his beloved daughter Fatima Zahra. His dear grandson, Imam Hasan, great-grandson, Imam Zainul Abideen, great-great grandson Imam Al-Baqir, and great-great-great grandson Imam Jafar are all buried here. Other relatives buried here include the aunts of Prophet Muhammad such as Safiya, Aatika, as well as Fatima binte Asad who was the mother of Imam Ali.
Other prominent family members include the cousins of Prophet Muhammad such as Aqil ibne Abu Talib and Abdullah ibne Jafar Al-Tayyar and his uncle, Abbas ibne Abul Muttalib.
As a result, Jannatul Al-Baqi has become a well-known place of great historic and religious significance to many Muslims around the world. It is a special place they hold close to their hearts, is a part of their identity and something that they cherish greatly. It is reported that nearly seven thousand companions of Prophet Muhammad were buried there.
Earlier many of the graves were raised with elevated and beautiful striking domes atop it, and prominent walls around it. Renovations and extensions had continued throughout the century.
Until that unfortunate time came about when the Wahabi’s rose to power in the early nineteenth century when everything changed with the Muslim world being violently destabilized. These extremists and fanatics used Islam only as an underhanded tool and means to achieve their own illegitimate and inhuman goals that had nothing to do with any religion or humanity. They had no regards for humanity let alone Islam as their main aim was wealth and power at any and all cost. The Wahabis immediately desecrated and destroyed the sacred tombs as they displayed only disrespect and discontent to the martyrs, family and companions of the Prophet Muhammad who were buried there as the world silently and helplessly watched. Any Muslims who disagreed with them were branded as infidels and were subsequently targeted and killed.
On April 21, 1925, a dark day that lives in the minds of the Muslims, all the Mausoleums in Jannatul Baqi were disgustingly destroyed and demolished by King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud. It is as if he wanted to destroy history in the process and leave behind no legacy of a Prophet. In that same year, he also demolished the tombs of the special personalities at Jannatul Mohalla which is located in Mecca, and where Prophet Muhammad’s mother, wife, grandfather and other ancestors are buried. Only the Mosque of the last Prophet was spared for some reason.
The destruction of the sacred sites in Saudi Arabia by the Saudis, as initiated by Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab, continues even till today. The only reason for the destruction by the Wahabis is to erase history and defame Islam at any cost. They have no respect or regards for civilization, history or religion. The destruction of these sites that are linked with early Islam has been occurring mainly in the Hijaz region of western Saudi Arabia, particularly around Mecca and Medina. The destruction and demolition has focused on mosques, burial sites, homes and historical sites that are associated with Prophet Muhammad. It is unfortunate, heartbreaking and pathetic that while the world protects and improves its ancients sites and places through various means including the UNESCO World Heritage Program, Saudi Arabia on the other hand, is hell-bent, on erasing significant religious and historical early Islamic period, as the world watches silently taking no action to protect the history.
According to Dr Irfan al-Alawi, the executive director of the Islamic Heritage Research Foundation, Saudi Arabia has already lost 400-500 sites as direct result of these fanatics in power. Another renowned Saudi expert on the region’s Islamic architecture, Dr Sami Angawi, has expressed his concern to Reuters news agency that both Mecca and Medina are historically almost finished. And that is the reality, The Shias of the world continue to mourn the dark day that the House of Saud purposely and disgustingly demolished the holy Shrines that once proudly stood in the Jannatul Baqi cemetery. Shias remember this horrible and unjust day by calling it Yaume Gham which means the Day of Sorrow. Shias will continue to vehemently protest and denounce the Saudi government’s illegal and immoral demolition of these sacred Shrines.
It must also be noted that the atrocities of the Wahabis and Taliban, both similar groups with similar roots and similar motives but different names, is by no means limited to only to Saudi Arabia or the Shias. Unfortunately, they have wreaked havoc and terror worldwide and have engaged in instilling fear in the innocent hearts and minds of those who disagree with their way of life while creating destruction on civilization. It was the Taliban who destroyed the Buddhas statues of Bamiyan. It was the Wahabis who attacked us on 9/11. And the list is endless. In fact, back in 2001, the White House had released a report documenting the atrocities committed by the Talibans.
In Nina Shea’s report, an international human rights lawyer, the former director of the Center for Religious Freedom at Freedom House and has served as a Commissioner on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, she describes to the US Congress how the Saudi textbooks teach that Jews and Christians are the enemies and the apostates such as Shias and others who reject the Saudi Wahabi doctrine should be killed.
We request the United Nations, Human Rights Organization and UNESCO to quickly intervene in the Saudi Government’s brutal, aggressive, inhumane and anti-human laws and tactics targeting a section of Muslims mainly Shia Muslims and other minorities.
The fact remains that Saudi officials target the Shias mainly because they don’t follow the Wahabi ideology; whereas every human being is free to practice their faith. This is despite the fact that in the Quran, it clearly states that there is no force in religion. Yet, as they trample theses verses and the laws of humanity, the Wahabis are forcing their self-made rules and their disgusting interpretation of Islam on every Muslims and non-Muslims. The Shias in Saudi Arabia have no rights or standing whatsoever in society which includes but are not limited to: they are not allowed to pray in congregation; they are not allowed to take government jobs; and they are not allowed to hold any religious gatherings while being constantly prosecuted for no crime of their own other than following a different religion.
The Human Rights groups should shed more light on the deplorable situation in Saudi Arabia and bring their inhumane and radical acts in front of the International Community.
The fact remains that as per the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948, as a result of the experience with WWII, it was agreed by all nations that all humans globally have certain rights and due regards must be granted regardless.
Two notables Articles of the Declaration are as follows:
· All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
· Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
We the undersigned hereby strongly request the United Nations, the Human Rights Organization, UNESCO, and Muslim Heritage Organization to strongly oppose the Saudi Government’s oppressive actions in targeting the Muslim Heritage which had been there standing since fourteen hundreds years but razed to the ground by a few fanatics, radical extremists and self-proclaimed protector of Islam, and to allow the Muslims to erect the mausoleums as they stood prior to 1925, to allow Muslims to worship freely, to treat Non-Wahabis with certain rights and respect, and with full dignity, and to enable all minorities with the rights, justice and freedom they are all entitled to.
CC: The Secretary General of the United Nations Mr Ban Ki-Moon,
Mr. President Barack Obama
Mr. John Kerry Secretary of State
The United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights Ms Navanethem Pillay
The Deputy Director, UNESCO Mr Kishore Rao
The Chief of Section, Etats Arabes UNESCO Ms Veronique Dauge
The Consulate General Saudi Arabia
The Consulate General United Stated of America
Mr. Ziad Aldrees, Ambassador Saudi Arabia to UNESCO
Mr. Tariq Almohiza Cultural Consultant UNESCO
Mr. David Killio, Ambassador US Mission to UNESCO (Dept. of State)
Mr. Matthew Sudders UK Delegation to UNESCO
H.E. Mr. Isao Kiso Ambassador, Permanent Delegation of Japan to UNESCO
Saudi Arabia Press Services