Following are excerpts
from a Friday sermon in Damascus delivered by Sheik Osama Al-Rifa'I,
which aired on the Al-Jazeera network, on June 17, 2011:
harsh and brutal treatment, by the security forces and the army, of
whoever goes on a peaceful demonstration, or any other demonstrations…
We see their brutality, and we see them shooting live bullets, leaving
a trail of casualties and lost lives, and shedding much blood on the
land of this country. Every day, we lose many martyrs from among our
people, and along with them, we are gradually losing the blessing of
Oh brothers, how have
we come to this? Why doesn't the government – and the regime in general
– deal with these people in a manner that is not violent and brutal,
and without using an iron fist? Why didn't they employ a little gentleness?
Why don't they withdraw the military and security forces from the streets,
and allow the people to demonstrate peacefully?
We have not seen, in
any of the demonstrations in our country, demonstrators bearing arms
against the army or the security forces. Why are they being beaten so
harshly and brutally, in a way that is not only painful, but might injure
or even kill? With our own eyes we have seen many cases of peaceful
demonstrators being beaten on the head with hard clubs. They were beaten
so "generously" that the blood flowed from their heads, and
then they were dragged to the bases of the security forces, to be finished
This way of dealing with
the current situation in our country does not improve matters, but only
aggravates and exacerbates things. It is impossible for a regime that
desires peace and security in its country to treat its people in such
an unbearable manner, which breaches a chasm between the people and
the regime. We may have already reached the point where it is very difficult,
or even impossible, to bridge the enmity and hatred between the two
The accountability for
all this in this world and in the world to come – as will be attested
to by history and the entire nation, but first and foremost, by Allah
– lies with the security forces and the regime of this country.
Who sent these people
to demonstrate? Was it America? France? Britain? Bouazizi in Tunisia,
who reached the point where he set himself on fire in front of all the
people – was it America or the Western conspiracies that drove him
to do so, or was it unbearable injustice that drove him to this act?
The same holds true for
the peaceful demonstrations, which were waged in order to make demands
that are legitimate, as admitted by even the officials in our country.
These demonstrators were not sent by the East, by the West, by conspiracies,
or by armed gangs. They took to the streets because of the injustice.