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Imam Refuses to Hold Prayers for Assassinated Journalist

Nusra Front-linked sheikh refuses to pray for journalist Khalid Eissa who died while in a coma following an assassination attempt days ago
Imam Refuses to Hold Prayers for Assassinated Journalist

Activists on social media sites angrily circulated news that the sheikh Mohamed Zatout refused to pray for the journalist Khalid al-Eissa, who was killed following an assassination attempt in his place of residence in Shaer in Aleppo earlier this month.

According to activists, the sheikh, who is close to Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front, refused to hold funeral prayers for Eissa. Both Eissa and Zatout hail from the town of Kafr Nabl in the Idleb countryside of northern Syria.

When asked by Khalid’s uncle, Hamdoun al-Rahal, the reason for his refusal to pray, Zatout said: “Please do not embarrass me… I cannot pray for him.”

Activists described Eissa’s death as an “assassination” while some blamed the Nusra Front for his death.

Eissa’s residence was hit with an explosive device on June 17, wounding him in the head and sending him into a coma. He died on Thursday evening.

Syrian activists mourned Eissa’s passing on social media, while a post from the journalist’s mother, Ghalia al-Rahal, which was circulated widely by Syrians, read: “A martyr, my life? Your name is martyr now…. God bless you, may you enjoy your new name… Your name is martyr… You’ve secured heaven for me before I die… You’re watching out for me in this world and the next… Are you at peace, my life? God bless you… May God be satisfied with you through my satisfaction… We grew together, you and I, you were closer to me than my soul was… Stay close to me… Keep your spirit with me… It is enough that your pure spirit visits me… Make me feel your presence… You are no longer flesh and blood… You are a spirit… And you will remain spirit.”

Several hashtags were circulated in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, most prominently #Khalid_al-Eissa and #Khalid_al-Eissa_the_beautiful_martyr. The number of tweets circulated on the issue reached over 20,000.

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author

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