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A demonstration outside the Saudi Embassy in Athens demands revenge for the executed imam

06 January 2016 / 19:01:09  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova

Hundreds of Muslims living in Athens held a rally in front of the Saudi Embassy to express their discontent with the execution of Shia cleric Nimr Baqir al-Nimr carried out on the orders of the government in Riyadh.

The protesters shouted slogans against the policies of the Saudi government, accusing it of intolerance to the peaceful and democratic Shia clerics. Although the majority of protesters were Sunni, they firmly opposed "the practice of Saudi Arabia to send to prison those Muslims who profess Shia Islam."

In statements to the media, Sayed Mohammad Jamil, chairman of the Pakistani-Greek cultural association, said, "The murders of imams and muftis in Saudi Arabia concern not only Shia Muslims but the whole world. All Muslims in Greece are protesting against the execution and demanding revenge, justice and cessation of murders of peaceful and democratic people like Sheikh al-Nimr, who was a bridge between Shiites and Sunnis. He preached brotherhood, peace and love." Jamil defined the Saudi royal family as "terrorists who cannot accept democracy."

The protest was organized by the Community of Shia Muslims in Greece. Most of the participants were of Pakistani origin and the speeches and slogans were in the official language of Pakistan, Urdu. There were also Afghans among the protesters but no Iranians, contrary to expectations.

Community representative Ashir Haider called for unity between Sunnis and Shiites. "Today there are Sunnis and Shiites here, all Muslims, to oppose the actions of the Saudi dynasty. We are sending a powerful message to it that the division, which it is trying to impose, will not be accepted. We Muslims, Sunnis and Shiites, are united. The execution of Ayatollah al-Nimr was the greatest crime of the Saudi government. We insist on releasing Shiites, who are in prisons in Saudi Arabia. We call on the Greek and European societies, and the United Nations to intervene to stop the violence imposed by Saudi Arabia on the Middle East. We urge Saudi Arabia to stop supporting terrorism, stop driving fanatical extremists to kill ordinary Muslims," he said.

The protest continued with a prayer and slogans "Down with the al-Saud" and "We condemn the Saudi government for the execution" and ended peacefully.

The area outside the Saudi Embassy and the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates nearby were guarded by dozens of members of the Greek riot police forces.

Tags: SocietyProtestMuslimsSunnis and ShiitesEmbassy of Saudi Arabia in AthensExecution of Nimr Baqir al-Nimr
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