Liaison office of Grand Ayatullah Sayyid Ali Al Sistani (L.M.H.L) in London, Europe, North and South America.

The speech of victory from the representative of the High Religious Authority in the Hussaini Holy Shrine of the Holy city Karbala, delivered by his Eminence ‘Allahmah Shaykh 'Abdul-Mahdi al-Karbala’i (26 Rabi ' Awal 1439 AH) (15 Dec 2017 AC)

In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate

O Brothers and sisters:

A few days ago, the last part of the Iraqi soil was officially liberated from the occupation of the terrorist ISIS, and on this occasion we have to emphasize the following:

O Honourable Iraqis!

After more than three years of fierce fighting, having sacrificed the precious and beloved ones, while having faced various obstacles and challenges, you have achieved victory against the mightiest terrorist group that has targeted Iraq; its shining past, present and bright future! You have triumphed through your strong will and firm determination to defend your country, your dignity and your sacred holy sites! This victory was achieved through your great sacrifices, as you had put yourselves, your beloved sons and all that you had to be sacrificed for this valuable country! You have indeed created the greatest images of heroism and sacrifice! You have written the bright future of Iraq –with illuminating letters- something which will remain for generations to come as a source of pride and dignity in Iraq’s modern history! The whole world will be surprised being brought to a standstill with respect and honour in front of your rigid resistance, patience and firm faith in the just cause of your struggle until you achieved this great victory. Many were in doubt, and thought that you would never achieve this great victory, but you have achieved it, made it a reality through a relatively short period of time! Indeed you have defended the dignity and honour of this country and maintained its unity, both with regards to its soil and people; as such you deserve to be called the great nation!

Oh, you fighters, Oh, you heroes of the armed forces, regardless of all your different titles and groups!

The Supreme Religious Authority, which has issued the ‘Fatwah’ for the holy defence, as a collective responsibility, and which mobilized all its forces and potentials to support the combatants and assist them in their struggle, and has mobilized the noble sons, professors and students of the Shi’ah Advanced Seminary, to the battlefronts in order to support the fighting forces, while dozens of them were martyred in this way, this authority does not see anyone more eligible to be given this honour than you and your contribution. Nor is the glory to be related to anyone other than you in accomplishing this important historic achievement. Without your great response to the ‘Fatwah’, with its historic appeal, your heroic struggle in the battlefronts having remained steadfast in a legendary manner for more than three years, this bright victory could never have been achieved.

Indeed this victory is caused by you and belongs solely to you, and you arethe ones, who deserve to celebrate it, so we express our congratulations -first- to you while our -second- congratulations go to our nation! Blessed are those precious arms that you fought with and blessed are those laps in which you were nurtured and raised you! You are our pride, our glory when we compare ourselves with other nations.

What a pleasure for Iraq, and what a pleasure for us! Indeed you have sacrificed your souls, for the sake of Allah (swt) defending your country, your nation and the holy shrines. We won’t be able to thank you, but Allah Almighty (swt) will reward you with the fullest reward, and we only pray to Him to increase His blessings on you and reward you with His best reward for the benefactors.

Oh Brothers and sisters,

Today we recollect, with great admiration and homage, our noble and righteous martyrs who have lost their pure blood to liberate the oppressed of this motherland! They are, indeed, great models of self-sacrifice and redemption.

We are reminded of the generous families of the martyrs: their fathers, mothers, wives, children, brothers and sisters, their beloved ones, who have suffered the shocking irreversible pain of separation, but remained patient with emotional endurance.

We recall with pride and honour our dear injured soldiers, especially those who have been permanently disabled! They are–indeed- the living martyrs, whom–due to the will of Allah Almighty (swt)- shall prevail as witnesses to the heroism of a whole nation that have faced the evil of the world’s worst terrorist group, and who have won over them with the sacrifices of their children.

We recall with appreciation and great gratitude all Iraqi esteemed citizens who contributed to steadfastly support the fighters on the fronts. They were, indeed, the best supporters for them, having created one of the finest images of the harmony and co-operation of a nation with all its parts and groups in defending their honour and dignity.

We recall with best thanks and appreciation to all those who played an active and supportive role in shaping this great victory! We include, for example, amongst others, the academics, the intellectuals, the doctors, the poets, the authors and media professionals.

We also extend our thanks and appreciation to all the brothers and friends who have stood with Iraq and its people in this struggle against terrorism! We thank them for their support and whatever they have provided and offered! We beseech God Almighty (swt), to protect each and everyone from all evil and to bless them with peace and prosperity.

However, there are many points we must emphasize here and now, as follows:

First: This victory over ISIS does not mark the final battle with terrorism and the terrorists! Rather this battle shall continue and carry on as long as there would be people who have been misled to espouse the extremist thought and ‘Takfir’, which does not accept peaceful coexistence with others, who disagree with him in opinion and belief. As long as there would be groups, who do not hesitate to kill civilian innocents, of children and women, and destroy the country in order to reach their malicious goals, or even, misleadingly, think that these acrimonious acts would bring them closer to Almighty Allah (swt), the war is not yet over. Beware of inaction while dealing with this continuous danger, or ignoring the opportunists of hidden and sleeping terrorists cells that are waiting for appropriate chances to destabilise the security and stability of the country!

The fight against terrorism must be accomplished by addressing its intellectual and religious roots and drying up its financial and media sources, eliminating its human factors.

It requires action to be taken in accordance with thoughtful land professional plans in order to achieve the desired results. Despite the fact that security, information gathering and intelligence work are the keys to counter-fighting terrorism, they must be joined with spreading awareness and working hard to reach correct information in order to replace falsehood! One must reveal the truth about the danger of the terrorist ideology and how it is extremely deviated from the pure Islamic faith! Spreading this teaching should be accompanied in parallel with the promotion of the discourse of moderation and tolerance throughout Iraqi communities that may fail victims, due to contaminating thoughts! We should also work hard to improve the living standards and the conditions of the liberated areas. We must re-built the destroyed cities in order to assist those people, who have fled their homes; so that they can confidently return and be re-housed with dignity, and to ensure that their constitutional rights won’t be compromised, to avoid repeating past mistakes in dealing with them.

Second: The Iraqi security and intelligence service is desperately still in need of many heroic men. Like those who have supported the army and the Iraqi Federal Police over the past years. Those courageous men have fought beside them on various fronts and have done valiantly in the toughest and cruellest conditions. They have proved that they are the people of uncompromising fighting in defending the Iraqi soil, the families and the sanctities. They have achieved extraordinary results, which have surprised everyone both internally and internationally. More specially, we are referring to the brave youths, who have participated in various military and intelligence operations and have acquired important combat and technical experiences. They were, indeed, exemplary with discipline, courage, national pride and ideological motivation that cannot be weakened, retrogressed or ground to a halt.

It is necessary to 1) continue using and utilizing those important individuals within the constitutional and legal frameworks that restrict arms within the state control and 2) chart the course for the proper role for these heroes to participate in the defence of the country and to strengthen their present and future ability in safe guarding security, and being ready to struggle against any new attempts by terrorists, who aim at destabilizing Iraq and oppressing the people of Iraq and its sanctities.

Third: the noble martyrs, who ascended to Heaven after spilling their precious blood on Iraqi soil, are no longer in need of anything we could possibly provide for them, personally! Indeed they have reached elevated seats of sincerity to be blessed and honoured by Almighty God (swt)! However, the bare minimum needed to express our gratitude is to properly take care of their families, i.e. their widows, and orphans as well as the injured amongst the survivors. To care for and/or to provide a dignified standard of living i.e. housing, health care, education, living expenses and others is a national and moral duty upon each and every one of us. A nation cannot succeed without taking care of the families of their martyrs, who have sacrificed their lives. This task primarily, the duty of the Government and the House of Representatives, aims at allocating sufficient financial provisions ensuring the families a dignified standard of living, for the families of the martyrs fallen fighting terrorism, and to be prioritized overall other items of the general budget.

Fourth: The war against ISIS terrorists has left us with tens of thousands of wounded soldiers and injured heroes, who were involved in combat operations! Many needing medical care, while others, suffering permanent injuries, others severely disable, such as those with quadruple paralysis, lost of eyesight or with amputated limbs, will all need to be cared for by others! This is because all Iraqis owe them a huge debt for their safe existence! For without them Iraq could not be freed, the terrorists couldn’t be defeated and the lives and sanctities would not have been spared from desecration or even total destruction! Therefore providing their survivors with dignified standard of living and the means for their comfort in the best possible way, in order to alleviate their suffering- is a important duty! It is a duty and obligation for the Government and the House of MP’s to provide them with necessary financial allocations, outweighing other expenses that are not so important.

Fifth: Most of those who have been actively involved in the military defence -over the past years- have not participated in it for the sake of any worldly reward, nor achieving any elevated status. They have run to the battlefronts in response to the appeal from the High Religious Authority, and to fulfil the national duty. They were driven by their sincere love for Iraq, Iraqis and to defend their Iraqi wives, sisters and mothers and save them from being abused by the terrorists.

As such, their intentions were pure from any worldly gain, hence they have gained great respect from all, reaching lofty status in the hearts of various Iraqi circles with support that transcends any one political group or movement. It is necessary to maintain this high prestige and well-deserved reputation and any selfish or opportunist attempt to exploit this for partisan political gains is doomed to failure, and shall, ultimately, squandering this sacred blessing, dragging it down to a low level, just like all other respectable endeavours, in the past, that were demeaned and extinguished on account of the mistakes and shortcomings of those who attempted to usurp them.

Sixth: A serious and effective move to confront corruption is the priority for the next phase! Fighting against corruption must take place within the financial and administrative sphere through activating legal frameworks and launching practical and realistic plans! These steps must take place away from formality and routine procedures.

The long-delayed battle against corruption is no less fierce than the battle against terror, if not, even harsher. The honourable Iraqis, who have been in the battle against terror, are certainly able –with the help of Almighty God (swt)- to struggle against corruption and to be victorious too, as long as they manage this struggle professionally and diligently.

We ask Almighty God (swt) to take the hands of everyone for the good of Iraq and its nation, indeed He is listening, fulfilling their prayers!