Hundreds attend funeral of cleric killed in bombing
BEIRUT (LEBANON) – Hundreds of mourners including Syria’s religious affairs minister participated in a funeral in Damascus on Friday conducted for the state’s top Muslim cleric, killed in a bombing near the capital.
Sheikh Mohammed Adnan Afiouni, the Sunni Muslim Mufti of Damascus was close to President Bashar al-Assad, and had died on Thursday when his car was attacked with an explosive device in the countryside near Damascus.
Afiouni played an important part in the reconciliation efforts of the government with armed groups who had taken control of several Damascus suburbs during the country’s nine-year-long civil war.
Waeil Olwan, a political scientist and scholar in the Istanbul-based al Jusoor think tank, said, “He helped to consolidate (the Assad family) grip on power during the fight against the Muslim Brotherhood and later the Salafi trends.”
Syria’s Minister of Endowments Mohammed Abdul Sattar al-Sayed was among the umpteen number of worshippers who gathered for Afiouni’s funeral.
Afiouni was the head of the Cham Islamic Centre to fight Terrorism and Extremism.