Here is my translation of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani’s fatwa or legal ruling issued on Sunday concerning the Israeli attacks on Gaza. Arabic text courtesy of Sawt al-Iraq. Sistani is the spiritual leader not only of Iraqi Shiites but of many other Shiites in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Lebanon and India. He is explicit in asking his followers to take practical steps to stop the Israeli attacks. Note that the Neoconservatives argued for putting the Shiites in control of Iraq on the grounds that, as a religious minority themselves, they would be more sympathetic to Israel, and as Shiites would have less empathy with Sunni and Christian Palestinians.
In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
The beloved Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip have, since noon yesterday, been subjected to a vicious attack and to continual strikes that have resulted so far in hundreds of victims being martyred or wounded.
This assault comes after a suffocating blockade to which this oppressed people has been subjected for several months. It had resulted in the creation of harsh humanitarian conditions as a result of lack of food, medicine, fuel and other necessities of daily life for the citizens.
Mere verbal expressions of condemnation and disapproval of what is being done to our Palestinian brethren in Gaza, and of solidarity with them, mean nothing before the immensity of this horrific tragedy to which they are being subjected.
The Arab and Muslim worlds are called upon, more than at any past time, to take practical steps in order to stop this continual aggression and to break this cruel blockade that has been imposed on that proud people.
We ask God, the Exalted, the All-Powerful to take the hands of all and lead them to that wherein lies goodness and righteousness. Verily, he is the All-Hearing, the Gracious.
The Office of Sayyid Sistani.
29 Dhi al-Hijjah 1429