By: Issam Khoury
The emerge of Salafi personalities within Al-Fatih Al-Islami institute and its benevolent association, didn’t surprise the seculars in Syria, especially that most of those who executed the explosion of Palestine branch on the airport road used to frequently call on it and sleep in the students’ hostels in this institute, while the Syrian authority was embracing and encouraging the activities of this institute and takes into consideration the requests of its Sheikhs who were well known as being religiously moderate and of being discontent with the Muslim Brethren movement and al the other currents branching out of it
This institute, through hosting a lot of extremist students and through creating the atmosphere for Islamic discussions, while claiming that these discussions were moderate, has allowed the development of communication among the Muslims in the region of Bilal Alsham and the exchange of experience concerning the reality of the Muslims each in his country. This made the general atmosphere of most of the discussions and lectures within the concept of what is known as the religious national method, concentrating mainly on the Arabic issue.
This led quite many of the Arab nationalists who were apostated of their secular parties towards Al-Islam, heading towards this institute and its benevolent association, which bears a lot of the social political Islamic concepts for the religious and a lot that is unclear or that is disconceptual next to the Syrian authority, that always declares its awareness and knowledge of all that goes on.
However, Al-sheikh Husam Aldeen Farfour has been profited by the appointment of Al-sheikh Abed Alfatah Al-bazam, who is known of being close to the political authority in Damascus and of being highly educated in the jurisprudence legality sciences, as the director of the institute. This matter enable the institute to make distinct communication with Al-Azhar University in Cairo which increased the number of categories targeting the institute towards the regions of the African Horn, especially of the Somali, Ariterian and Sudani students studying in Syria, especially that Al-Sheikh Albazam is the Mufti of Damascus city since 1993 and till the present day.
This has provided a varied date base for the political authority in Damascus, which lead to the flourishing of the institute and its association in a very distinctive way, as the case was with all the common Syrian religious schools, which might be called “the religious Syrian authority schools”.
Personalities that have changed the direction (concept) of the institute:
- Mohammad Huseyn Al-khaled “the prince of AL-Kaaida organization in Syria who has the following titles:” Abu Faysal, Abu Ayman, Abu ali.
- Abu Obeyda ‘the contact link between Al-Kaaida organization in Iraq and Syria.
- Mohammad Huseyn Obeid ‘the security responsible in the organization of Fatih Al-Islam //of the Palestinian Nationality//.
- Shihab Kaddour, called as ‘Abu Hureira’ //of the Lebanese Nationality//.
- Salem Alshahhal an inviter in the city of Tripoli.
- Zakariya Afash ‘of AL-Kaaida organization inhabiting Aleppo city in Syria’.
- Anas Othman ‘a dental laboratory of the Syrian Nationality’.
- Abed Alhaleem Raad ‘of the Syrian Nationality, works in smuggling’.
- Sameer Alayoubi “of Tripoli and called as Abu Abed Alrahmas”.
- Abu Bandar Aljazaairi “a title of a leader in Al-Kaaida of the Saudi Arab Nationality”.
- Abed Alghani Jawhar and called as “Abu Jawhar, a bomb expert”.
- Khaled Huseyn Alzbeydi “of the Syrian Nationality”.
- Hammam Fares Kasini “called as Anas, of the Syrian Nationality”.
- Abed Alrahman Mohammad Awad “prince of Fatih Al-Islam organization in Lebanon and is called as Abu Mohammad”.
‘Aldunia’ TV channel, a Syrian channel claiming to be independent, has showed a tape presenting an act of the execution of exploding the targeted airport road the branch of Palestine in Damascus in November mentioning the recently mentioned names and descriptions. It was clearly declared that their meeting point to construct their operation base within the Syrian lands started out of the institute of Al-fatih Al-Islami in Damascus, where they got to know each other more through the religious meeting that where held in the institute, some of them even slept there. Despite the important names that have been mentioned “like the prince of AL-Kaaida organization in Syria or the prince of Fatih Al-Islam organization in Lebanon, the Sheikhs of the institute were unable to know these names or to provide them in the information they present to the Syrian security devices prior to the incidents. This matter has demonstrated a dangerous precedent concerning the role of the widely spread religious schools and institutes in Syria.
The reasons of the increase of AL-Salafiya inside the institute:
The Salafi currents have the ability and the real legality in merging in any sort and shape of the Islamic discussion. The concept of Al-Jihad has allowed them to make use of the discussion for the sake of the invitation and gaining approvance and out of this perspective a lot of expert Salafies in terms of sciences and legality might surpass both legally and religiously over those who attend the legal religious schools, specially that the concept of success reaching higher religious grades has a lot to do with the relation between the trainer Sheikh and the trainee student. Due to the fact that most of the social values have become spoiled, the concept of success in these schools has also become connected with the general criteria of corruption, which led to the graduation of quite many of the students who are incapable of getting into any sort of serious legal discussion with any religious personality who masters religion or even with a strict person with a little knowledge in religion.
Both of the Sheikhs Albazam and Farfour have encouraged discussion within their legal association and institute as a result of their self pride through their high expertise in legal sciences. However, the Syrian authority and through making use of these two personalities through out many social religious and national occasions has distant them of pursuing real discussions within their associations. The religious associations in Syria suffer from central decision making as a reflection to their political partnership with the central authority in Damascus, which led to the absence of rational judgment in all of the Syrian religious associations and the increase of corruption inside them the matter that converted a lot of their objectives towards the standards of gaining money, for these schools and institutes have an income that equals the budget of the Syrian state from the Mosques and followers and any sort of payment concerning the social affairs is ruled by the official decision and the amount of money rates that is distributed among the heads of the schools and the other sides who have credited them to work on any project whether social, cultural or educational within the Syrian lands.
Thus, what happened inside the institute of Al-Fatih Al-Islami is an incoming matter in all of the other religious institutes and schools that could cease down every other and then but eventually it will explode changing the social reality in Syria from moderate Islam
towards Salafi Islam
The report in Arabic: