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June 17, 2011 Clip No. 2988

Syrian Sheik Osama Al-Rifa'i Slams Syrian Regime in a Damascus Friday Sermon

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:

Preacher: The 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 security.

[…]

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 off later.

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 sides.

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.

[…]

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