Ahl Al-Bayt World Assembly
The Ahl al-Bayt World Assembly (Persian: مجمع جهانی اهل البیت) is an international non-governmental organization (INGO) that was established by a group of Shiite elites under the supervision of the great Islamic authority of the Shiites in 1990 to identify, organize, educate and support the followers of Ahl al-Bayt.
Establishment and first conference
One of the most important goals of the Iranian government after the success of the Islamic Revolution was to foster unity among Muslims across the globe. In order to reach that goal, the Ahl al-Bayt World Assembly was established in 1990. Its first conference was held on May 21, 1990. More than three hundred scholars and Muslim elite, mostly Shiite, attended. At the end of this conference, through a letter, the participants asked Ayatollah Khamenei to establish the Ahl al-Bayt Assembly and he accepted. Its statute ordained Tehran as the main center of this INGO.
According to Abdul Karim Soroush, the establishment of the Assembly was a counter-offensive of traditionalist Shiite Clerics inside the powerful elite against Tehran`s Ecumenical Society (Persian: مجمع تقریب مذاهب) because they suspected it was developing tendencies to encroach upon the Sunnis.
The following topics were discussed at the first conference:
- Ahl al-Bayt and their scientific and cultural heritage;
- Ahl al-Bayt's role in leading the Ummah;
- Ahl al-Bayt's role in the unity of the Ummah;
- Ahl al-Bayt's practical role in the maintenance of Islam;
- Ahl al-Bayt and services of Islamic Revolution influenced by their teachings;
- Human values and ideals of Ahl al-Bayt and the methods to implement them in social life;
- The situation of the followers of Ahl al-Bayt and ways to support them and raise their dignity.
The General Assembly has a group of Islamic scholars and religious and cultural figures of the Islamic world as its members. According to the statute, the General Assembly is held every four years. The first was held in February 1994 and was attended by more than 330 members of this Assembly from 61 countries as well as scholars and researchers from different fields and Muslim countries.
Some elite members of the General Assembly are or have previously been members of this council. According to the statute, members of this council are chosen by Vali-e-Faqih for five years. The council is responsible for the adoption of policies, programs, the budgets' assembly and supervision of the Executive Assembly.
The first General Secretary of this assembly was Ayatollah Mohammad-Ali Taskhiri, from 1990 until 1999. The second General Secretary was Ali Akbar Velayati., followed by Ayatollah Mohammad Mahdi Asefi. Hojjat al-Islam Mohammad Hasan Akhtari, a former Iranian ambassador to Syria, is the current General Secretary of the assembly.
The Secretariat is divided into the Department of Cultural Affairs, Department of International Affairs, Department of Executive Affairs, Department of Economic Affairs, Office of the Secretary General and the Planning and Supervision Office.
The following goals are declared in the statute:
- Revival and expansion of Islamic culture, protection and defense of the Quran, tradition of Prophet Muhammad and Ahl al-Bayt;
- Defense of the rights of Muslims, especially Shiites;
- Strengthening Islamic unity in the face of the propaganda of enemies of Islam;
- Preservation of the cultural heritage and honors of the Islamic civilization;
- Development, improvement and reform of the cultural, economic, social and other aspects of followers of Ahl al-Bayt.
- Condemning the assassination of a group of Hezbollah's warriors;
- Condemning the assassination of a group of Sunni Scholars of Basrah;
- Condemning the Fatwa of Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah Al ash-Sheikh about the destruction of churches;
- Condemning the destruction of the Prophet's birthplace in Mecca;
- Condemning the death sentence of Shaikh Nimr;
- Condemning the arrest of Shaikh Ali Salman;
- Condemning the Shia massacre in Shikarpur.
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