Human Rights

Conference in Karbala Brings Religious Figures Together to Counter Extremist Ideology


The Imam Hussain Shrine in Karbala has hosted clerics and academics from 25 different nations in order to support on coexistence and countering extremism.

The Holy Shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala hosted a gathering of faith leaders to discuss ways of countering extremist ideology. The gathering was part of the sixth International Imam Sajjad Festival, named after the fourth Shia Imam, and represents one of a number of gatherings of religious leaders after the defeat of ISIS that is aimed at combatting extremism.

Alongside Shia figures, Christian leaders and prominent Sunni scholars, including Sheikh Mohammed al-Nouri from the Rabbat al-Mohammedi Association in Fallujah, were also present at the gathering.

Representatives from 25 Arab and foreign countries were also present, including individuals from the Iraqi diaspora, with the meeting used as an opportunity to promote unity and foster dialogue among different religious and ethnic groups.

Interactions between the people of Karbala and Fallujah have traditionally been low, but this gathering represents another step in the growing sense of Iraqi unity among different segments of Iraqi society. Such unity has also been evidenced by last year’s water campaign organised across Anbar Province, where Fallujah is located, for the people of Basra during its water crisis.

“Inviting other Islamic sects and other religions to participate in such a conference is the first and correct step in establishing a wider circle to influence all human beings, not just Muslims,” said Sheikh Mohammed al-Nouri. “The Imam Sajjad International Festival is a conference that introduces the great approach of the prophet’s family regarding the rights and duties.”

Other participants similarly called for people around the world to heed the message of the festival and emphasised the importance of messages that promote tolerance and coexistence.

“From here we must start and introduce the world to the Islamic message, the principles of Islam, animal rights, father rights, son rights, and child rights,” said Alaa Dhia al-Din, the head of the Imam Hussein Museum. “These issues are very important especially in the West. Therefore, it is a very important festival and we hope it reaches the whole world.”