A number of Yemeni scholars called in a meeting with President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi on May 29th to “quickly remedy the inflammatory situation in the conflicted Abyan province” in which the government troops are trying to recapture areas taken by al-Qaeda linked militants during the one-year of anti-government protests.
The scholars, led by Abdulmajeed al-Zindani, who is accused by the U.S. Treasury department as a Globally Designated Terrorist, said that: “Its [Abyan] sons called in a letter addressed to Yemeni scholars to put an end to the bloodbath and murdering people…”
The scholars, whose majority is comprised of the Islah Party - the largest opposition group to former President Saleh’s party - called for “quickly setting up a joint committee of political, scholar, and tribal people to communicate with all parties, leading to end bloodshed and achieving the stability and the establishment of security in order to prevent foreign intervention”.
The scholars said that “there may not be any rebellion or lifting up arms against the state or attacking others from Yemen’s territory.”
They said that Hadi was to abide by Sharia law as a requisite for the scholars to back him up. “Any legislation that is not in accordance with or violates Sharia Law should be banned,” said the scholars, upon their meeting with Hadi on May 29th.
Scholars said that subjecting Sharia Law to vote is “forbidden by God”, maintaining that there must be an “Islamic reference” that should be set up by scholars to “define the truth and reject all that contradicts Islam”.
According to the scholars’ statement published by the Saba News Agency, the scholars called for an end to the bloodbath in places of armed conflict in parts of Sana’a and the Amran province.
Islamists and al-Qaeda-linked militants have been fighting with Republican Guards based in Arhab district, some few miles North of the capital Sana’a.
In response to the increased separation sentiment shared by groups of the southern movements, scholars warned against any separatist movement “under any name or pretext, whether it’s Federation or any other [systems]”.
“To ban any organization exercising suspicious acts that violate Islam provisions and revile values and ethics of the Yemeni Muslims,” the scholars’ statement said. The scholars also highlighted “not to be drawn behind what is promoted by the enemies of Islam.”
On March 25th, an interview of the U.S. ambassador to Yemen, Gerald Feierstein, was published in the Pan-Arab newspaper al-Hayat, in which Feierstein expressed the Obama administration’s concerns over “suspicious elements of Islah Party”.
“…there are elements of the Islah party and namely Abdul Majeed al-Zindani identified by the United Nations as a supporter of terrorism, which we have great concern about.
We have been clear to raise these concerns with the leadership of the Islah Party and we were clear with them that the presence of Abdul Majeed al-Zindani, his supporters, and his followers in the party is causing a problem for us and the rest of the international community,” added Feierstein.
The scholars asked for a timetable for the implementation of their demands and assigned four people to be working as a liaison committee to follow up with Hadi. After keeping a low profile over the past couple of years, al-Zindani, has jumped into the spotlight again when he sided with the protesters last year, calling for establishing an Islamic Caliphate.