DAMASCUS, March 22 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian government stressed Friday that the deadly blast that rocked a mosque in the heart of the capital Damascus and killed a prominent Muslim scholar a day earlier bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida.
The "terrorist" act which targeted scholar Mohammad Said Ramadan al-Bouti bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida and its allies, Syria's Foreign Ministry said Friday in a letter addressing the head of the UN Security Council and the UN Secretary General.
On Thursday, a suicide bomber blew himself up inside al-Iman Mosque in Damascus while al-Bouti was lecturing tens of worshipers, killing 49 people and wounding 84 others. Syria accused the opposition fighters of blasting the mosque to liquidate al-Bouti, known for his anti-terrorism stances and criticism of the radical rebels.
After al-Bouti's death, the rebels' Free Syrian Army denied responsibility for the attack, saying they "don't target the houses of God." However, pro-opposition tweets on Twitter have shown great deal of gloating over the death of al-Bouti and branded him as "the Mufti of Assad."
Al-Bouti's last lecture was delivered last week when he called on Syria's grand mufti to declare the general mobilization to back the Syrian troops in its battles against "mercenaries."
"We are invaded in every inch of our land, in our bread, in our lives, women, children sanctities and honor,'' he said.
In its letter, the ministry stressed that this "terrorist act indicates the obscurantist and takfiri thinking which those sides seek to spread by all means in Syria and the world to destroy the values of tolerance and moderation on which Islam is based."
The Syrian government is determined to rid the country of terrorism in order to protect the Syrians, said the ministry, calling on the UN Security Council to condemn "this heinous crime" and to send a clear message that the international community is determined to fight terrorism regardless of its justifications.
After the ministry's letter, the UN Security Council condemned the mosque bombing "in the strongest terms."
In the press statement, the 15-nation body reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations was of the most serious threats to international peace and security, and that any acts of terrorism were criminal and unjustifiable, "regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed."
It said the Security Council members reiterated their determination to combat all forms of terrorism, in accordance with its responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations and their condemnation of all acts of violence against civilian populations.
The Russian government also condemned the blast, saying that it has no doubt Thursday's bombing was conducted by forces confronting the religious moderate, tolerant and patriotic leaders of Syria.
Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad announced a two-day public mourning in Syria in memory of al-Bouti, and the country's victims, vowing to revenge their killing.
Assad also sent a letter of condolence to al-Bouti's family, in which he said that al-Bouti was killed to "mute the voice of Islam. "
Also, the Syrian government said in a statement that the " coward and malicious act which targeted Scholar al-Bouti will not pass without punishment."
Al-Bouti, 84, was a professor in the Islamic sciences. He is one of the main Muslim scholars in the Islamic world. He joined al- Azher and held a PH. D in Islamic law. The prominent sheikh's funeral will be held on Saturday.
DAMASCUS, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday condemned a mosque attack earlier in the day that killed a prominent Islamic scholar and 42 others in the capital Damascus.
Mohammad Saed Ramadan al-Bouti, 84, was delivering a lecture at al-Eman Mosque in central Damascus' district of al-Mazraa when a suicide bomber detonated himself from inside the mosque. At least 84 others were wounded. Full story
UNITED NATIONS, March 22 (Xinhua) -- The U.N. Security Council on Friday condemned a mosque bombing that killed a prominent Islamic scholar and more than 40 other people in the Syrian capital Thursday.
"The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attack in a mosque in Damascus, Syria, on 21 March, causing over 40 deaths, including a senior Muslim cleric, and dozens of civilians injured, " said a statement read to the press here by Vitaly Churkin, the Russian U.N. ambassador who holds this month's presidency of the council. Full story