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Renowned British lecturer provokes reaction of Grand Ayatollah Sistani’s representative

A letter bearing the signatures of some prominent British personalities was disseminated via social media requesting Sheikh Safdar Ja’far, President of the World Federation of Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Muslim Communities (KSIMC), to ensure that unity in speech is observed within Shia community because a lecture delivered in this center on the first of Muharram has caused distress for certain Ulama.

London’s council of Ulama has issued a letter urging the World Federation of KSIMC to address the issues raised as a result of the comments made by a Shia preacher in the KSIMC of London.


A number of prominent British personalities have signed a letter which lashes out at the content of a lecture delivered on the first of Muharram.

In their letter, without mentioning the name of the speaker in question, London’s 8-seat council of Ulama chaired by Sayyid Murtadha al-Kashmiri and Sayyid Hashim al-Musawi, representatives of Grand Ayatollah Sistani and the Leader of Iran in the UK, have asked the president of the World Federation of KSIMC to make sure these words do not create division among the faithful and disturb the unity in their speech.

The letter also states that a group of people had decided to mount a protest in front of the KSIMC of London, but the situation was prudently managed, which could have otherwise led to unfavorable consequences.

In an official response to this letter, the President of the World Federation of Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Muslim Communities (KSIMC), Sheikh Safdar Ja’far, wrote:

We received your letter through social media.

It’s a given that we, the Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri community, have attached particular attention to faith issues over the past 150 years and have constantly aligned with guidelines from the Maraji’.

He further noted that: We hold over 3000 majālis (mourning ceremonies) in the world during Muharram each year and ensure that no disrespect is ever shown towards the esteemed Maraji’.

How did it all start?

Sayyid Ammar Nakshawani, a popular speaker in the west, spoke critically about remarks labeling certain Shias as English in one of his lectures this year at the outset of Muharram. He criticized Ayatollah Khamenei and media platforms affiliated with him for using such divisive labels, complaining that they segregate Shias into the English and Wilayat-Faqihi Shia, and by doing so the leader of Iran is not only subjecting the Shias of England to serious attacks but also causing bitter civil conflicts between the devotees of the Wilayat-Faqih regime and the followers of Grand Ayatollah Shirazi. The Shia community in England, he further added, consists mainly of expatriates from Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, India, etc. as well as new converts from England, not special agents of MI6 or any other intelligence service.

Pursuant to this talk, Britain’s council of Ulama released a statement to put pressure on Sayyid Ammar Nakshawani. Pressures continued until he was forced to make official apologies to all members of the council and to give special respect to all Shia Ulama in order to maintain his role in the majālis of the country.

It’s worth mentioning that, in December 2016, the leader of Iran described some of the Muslims and Shias as the English and American categories. He then equated the English Shia group with the American Sunni type, likening them to the two blades of a scissors. He has spoken about English Shiism 15 times over the past 6 years.

The 8 members of Britain’s council of Shia Ulama, who have allegedly been disturbed by Nakshawani’s criticism against divisive moves, had previously issued a joint statement in response to the release of the movie “Lady of Heaven”. In protest to the production and promotion of this movie, Sayyid Murtadha al-Kashmiri participated in a gathering of protesters from Sunni leaders of the UK, who were displeased with the cinematic depiction of a tiny portion of the dark history marked by the Saqifa coup, and said:

We condemn this movie and regard it as unethical.

The most significant representative of Grand Ayatollah Sistani in Europe also described the presence of Sunni Muslims and people of other faiths in England as a blessing for which he must praise Allah the Transcendent.

However, acting as member of the 8-seat council of Ulama in London, he considers the criticism against Ayatollah Khamenei’s divisive words and contentious labeling of some Shias as the English Shia category to be insulting. This labeling initiative has created troubles and massive division between political Shias adhering to the Iranian regime (known as the Wilayat-Faqihi Shia) and apolitical Shias around the world.

The so-called English Shia stigma has turned into an instrument to slander against the opponents and critics of the Iranian regime, and particularly followers of Grand Ayatollah Shirazi across the world; an aged issue just as old as the current Iranian government, affecting numerous personalities including revered Ayatollahs Shariatmadari, Khoei and Sistani!

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