Syria has a new Grand Mufti, Sheikh Ahmad Badreddin Hassun. In his first statement he has strongly criticised the kidnappings and suicide bombings in Iraq.
He said he is working with all Muslim sects to prevent the growth of fundamentalism.
“I am in contact with the Sunni and Shiite associations of Ulama (Muslim scholars) in Iraq to ask them to avoid kidnappings, because (it) is a crime that distorts Islam,” he said.
His words come days after British Prime Minister Tony Blair called on British Muslim leaders to block the path to fundamentalism, in the wake of the London bombings.
The Sheikh was appointed after the death of his predecessor Sheikh Ahmad Kaftaro – a Kurd. Hassun studied at the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, and has been Aleppo’s Mufti since President Bashar Al-Assad came to power in 2000.