Dubai: Members of the rebel Free Syrian Army have allagedly desecrated and exhumed the 7th Century grave of a companion of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).
Pictures of the desecrated and emptied grave allegedly in a mosque north of Damascus were posted on the facebook page for the Adra unit of the Free Syrian Army. The mosque is located in the town of Adra, which the page alleges is controlled by the Free Syrian Army.
One of the pictures showed the tomb broken into, and another showed an apparently empty grave.
The caption under one of the pictures read: “This is one of the Shiite shrines in Adra which the heroes of the Free Syrian Army exhumed and reburied in an unknown location since it had become a centre of polytheism”.
The pictures prompted angry responses on the facebook page, with the page account administrator responding to one critic by saying: “If you don’t like it, come fight in the place of the Free [Syrian] Army”. In another response, the administrator for the facebook account said: “The Free [Syrian] Army does this out of the principle that no one but God should be worshipped. The Shiites worship graves, not God”.
According to the facebook page, the shrine lies in an area controlled by the Free Syrian Army.
Many of the reactions on social media were sectarian in nature, envoking early Islamic schisms between Sunnis and Shiites. On Twitter, hashtags were created to mark the event which were used by hundreds to condemn it. Some said that even if praying at graves was forbidden, it did not justify the graves’ desecration. Others faulted Shiites for condemning the event while “remaining silent on the killing of Syrian people”.
Hajr Bin Adi was a supporter of the prophet’s cousin Ali Bin Abi Talib, who was an adversary of the Muawiya Bin Abu Sufyan, the founder of the Umayyad caliphate that ruled from Damascus for almost a century.