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In a recent meeting, a diverse group of Muslim leaders convened to deliberate on pivotal challenges and prospects confronting the broader Muslim community in the U.S. Central to the discussions were themes surrounding the role of the Muslim American communities in the United States, Europe and around the world.

The distinguished attendees included Dr. Hassan Abbas, Professor of International Security Studies at National Defense University and author of "The Prophet's Heir: The Life of Ali Ibn Abi Talib"; Lutfe Hasan, Chairman/CEO of the Apex Group of Companies; Mehdi Hasan, renowned author of "Win Every Argument" and host of MSNBC's The Mehdi Hasan Show; Dr. Azmat Husain, President of UMAA; Mr. Rahat Husain, Executive Director of Shia Muslim Foundation; His Excellency Rashad Hussain, the United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom; Mr. Farooq Mitha, Director of the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP); and Dr. Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi, Chief Imam and Director-General of the Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society.

The convergence of such dynamic personalities underscores a collective dedication to navigate, address, and shape the multifaceted challenges and opportunities facing the broader Muslim community, including Sunni and Shia around the world. Their synergistic approach reinforces the vital importance of representation, dialogue, and active participation in the socio-political landscape.

AUGUST 24, 2023 - WASHINGTON, D.C. — Taking a pivotal step in addressing the concerns of the Shia diaspora in the U.S. pertaining to the prevailing situation in Pakistan, esteemed leaders from the American Shia community recently convened with Pakistan's Ambassador, His Excellency Masood Khan.

The high-profile dialogue, hosted at the Pakistani Embassy, was graced by notable figures such as Mr. Ali Shah Bukhari, Secretary of Mohammadia Center; Sheikh Abdul Jalil Nawee, Resident Alim of Idara Jaferia; Mr. Azmat Husain, President of UMAA; Maulana Sayed Sulaiman Hasan, Resident Alim and Trustee of Al- Asr Masjid; Mr. Rahat Husain, Executive Director of Shia Muslim Foundation; Mr. Waseem Naqvi, Trustee of Imam Ali Center, and Mr. Adil Rizvi, Secretary of Idara Jaferia.

The core discussion centered around the deep concerns over sectarian challenges in Pakistan, notably the disproportionate impacts on the Shia community. Emphasis was placed on the potential implications of the 'Tauheen a Sahaba Bill and Law' and its possible misuse, drawing connections with the recent unfortunate events linked to blasphemy laws.

During the dialogue at the Pakistani Embassy, a pivotal moment was the hand delivery of a comprehensive letter from SMF to Ambassador Masood Khan formalizing the content of the meeting itself.

Commenting on the significance of the dialogue, Mr. Azmat Husain, President of UMAA, expressed, “Our community's deep-rooted connection to Pakistan drives our desire for its harmony and progress. We ardently hope our insights resonate and contribute towards a unified Pakistan.”

Echoing this sentiment, Mr. Rahat Husain, Executive Director of Shia Muslim Foundation, stated, “Our intent is clear - to cultivate a dialogue that culminates in positive, tangible outcomes. We have immense respect and optimism for Pakistan's trajectory, and addressing these pivotal concerns is essential for that envisioned path.”

Ambassador Khan recognized and acknowledged the insights shared during the discussion, and thanked the attendees for presenting their concerns. The Ambassador vowed to continue dialogue and to present these concerns to top officials in Pakistan's government.

WASHINGTON D.C.: The Shia Muslim Foundation (SMF) profoundly condemns the violent act carried out on the significant Shāh Chérāgh shrine in Shiraz, southern Iran. This unwarranted attack led to the tragic loss of an innocent life and left eight individuals injured.

The Shāh Chérāgh, which translates to "King of the Light" in Persian, is a prominent religious and historical site located in the central part of Shiraz. It stands as the mausoleum for Ahmed bin Musa and his brother Muhammad, both direct descendants of Imam Mūsā al-Kādhim (peace be upon him). Ahmed bin Musa, while on his journey to meet his brother Imam Ali Rida (peace be upon him), is believed to have been martyred by the Abbasid caliph al-Ma'mun in Shiraz.

The significance of the Shāh Chérāgh is deeply rooted in Shia Islam's history. It was identified as a religious site when a radiant light was observed emanating from a grave. Upon investigation, the grave revealed a warrior with a ring engraved with "The Pride belongs to God, Ahmad son of Musa," confirming its importance as the final resting place of the sons of Imam Mūsā al-Kādhim (peace be upon him).

Historical records indicate that in the 9th century, Sultan Mir Ahmad, a brother to Imam Ali Rida (peace be upon him), was laid to rest beside the tomb of his own brother, Muhammad. Its prominence as a pilgrimage destination grew in the 14th century when Queen Tashi Khatun authorized the construction of an adjoining mosque and theological school.

Rahat Husain, Executive Director of SMF, stated, "The unprovoked attack on such a vital symbol of our faith is deeply saddening. We express our solidarity with the victims and their families and call upon leaders worldwide to denounce these heinous acts unequivocally."

Given this distressing event, and in conjunction with President Biden's recent acknowledgment of the importance of Ashura, the SMF underscores the imperative of fostering global awareness and respect for Shia landmarks and their profound historical significance.

We earnestly implore the global community and individuals of all faiths to unite in opposing such acts and to collaborate in upholding the sanctity and respect for religious landmarks.

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