Armenian Culture, Science and Education Development Foundation

Lebanese Sunni Muslim Leader Speaks out on Armenian Genocide and Turkey’s Founder Ataturk

Culture.AM Lifearm

During the April 24 Friday prayer, Lebanese Sunni Muslim theologian and Imam of Al-Quds Mosque in Sidon Sheikh Maher Hammoud focused on the Armenian Genocide.  As Armenianlife.com reports, according to ermenihaber.am and Turkish news outlet islamianaliz.com, Sheikh Hammoud noted: “the genocide that took place in the Ottoman Empire should not be tied with Islam because while facing years of decline, the Ottoman Empire was also under outside influences.”

“When talking about Armenian Genocide, first and foremost it should be underlined that Islamic religion was not the responsible entity,” stated Sheikh Hammoud.
Corroborating Sheikh Hammoud’s observations, numerous Armenian orphaned survivors have testified that devout Muslim Arabs, Kurds, and Turks saved many Armenians from imminent annihilation.

Armenians worldwide feel indebted to good-hearted and compassionate Muslims coming from devout Sunni, Alevi, Shia and other Muslim denominations.

Referring to the founder of Republic of Turkey and its first president Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the Sunni Muslim leader pointed out that Ataturk “came to power as a direct result of Armenian Genocide.” He went on to condemn Ataturk for having “destroyed the Islamic values after coming to power.”

“Ten years after coming to power, Kemal initiated the elimination of Arabic-written Ottoman language, and introduced Latin alphabetical letters. Subsequently, he imposed the extinction of many Islamic customs,” lamented Sheikh Hammoud.

The Lebanese Arab Sunni Muslim religious leader insisted that “during World War I, even though Armenians sided with Russia, such reality does not justify the crime committed against Armenians by the leadership of Young Turk regime.”

Sheikh Hammoud is born in Saida (Sidon) in October 1953. He is one of the founders of the Islamic Group in Saida in 1971 and governed it till 1979. He was also the founder of the Association of Muslim students in Saida.

Formal mosque preacher and imam since 1979, Sheikh Hammoud is also credited for his role in extinguishing sedition in Lebanon and the region.

Sheikh Hammoud is widely seen as a genuine servant of humanity and Islam and the people of Islam and its true values. Many Muslims hailing from all segments of Islam consider him as a devout Muslim, a kind and compassionate man, a family man, a man of letters, a man of truce, a man of patience and a guide for the Islamic Ummah and its values.

One can fairly state that Imam Hammoud is an ambassador for humanity and a deserving heir to Hussein bin Ali, the king of Arab countries and Sharif of Mecca (1854 – 4 June 1931).

In 1917, at the height of the 1915-1923 Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Empire and its successor Turkey, Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca, issued an edict in favor of genocide-stricken Armenians. He addressed his ‘Letter from the Court’ to fellow Muslim leaders and princes in Middle East asking them to take care of the Jacobean Armenians and to help them and protect them as they protect themselves, their fortune and their sons. Also to facilitate what they need either in their stay or travel, because they are free non-Muslims enjoying Muslim protection. Those are who Prophet Muhammad makes his will to take care of, and the one who doesn’t do so will be his (Muhammad) adversary till Judgment Day. Sharif Hussein said: “This is one of the most important orders we ask you to do.”

Unlike Turkey’s belligerent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Sheikh Hammoud plays an important role in bringing together the different sects of Islam and in fostering good rapport between Christians and Muslims in Lebanon and Middle East.

He is a champion of tolerance and mutual acceptance among the people that make up the social fabric of the region.

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