Cries of mourning for slain Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani echoed in one of the Western world’s capitals this weekend.
Dozens of Muslims in London honored Soleimani as a martyr in a memorial service at a Shiite cultural center this weekend, the Daily Mail reported. The leader of the elite Quds force unit of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was killed in an American drone strike last week, drastically escalating tensions between the U.S. and the Middle Eastern nation.
Iran has promised to retaliate, but it remains to be seen how and when they will strike.
Soleimani: The martyr?
The Trump administration has called Soleimani — the mastermind behind Iran’s foreign operations throughout the Middle East — a terrorist who was behind the deaths of hundreds of Americans. Western leaders including Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson have also made clear that they aren’t mourning the Iranian leader, the Times of Israel notes — but the Islamic Centre of England in London doesn’t seem to have gotten the message.
The Centre, which describes itself as “one of the most widely visited and highly active Shia Islamic Centres in Europe,” sent out a message of condolence to Iran for the killed general. Its director, Seyed Hashem Moosavi, also praised Soleimani on Friday for being “consistently present on the battlefield with the devils and the diabolic powers of the world” until he was killed “at the hands of the most wicked members of human race.”
A throng of Muslims later “squeezed” into the center to pay tribute to Soleimani, the Daily Mail reported. Outside the center, an imam delivered a eulogy for the general, whom he likened to a martyr.
“We are lucky enough to live in a time where we can see, touch, and feel a man like Qassem Soleimani and we hope and we pray and we work hard to make sure that there will be many more Qassem Soleimanis,” the imam said. “We aspire to become like him, we are jealous and we want the same thing for ourselves.”
British imam says Muslims should ‘aspire to be like’ barbaric terrorist Qassem Soleimani in tribute to ‘martyred’ general at London Mosque: No one calls out the Muslim community for hailing a savage mass murderer. https://t.co/KeKSmriBzT pic.twitter.com/kSWDomByoM
— Pamela Geller (@PamelaGeller) January 6, 2020
The world on edge
The killing of Soleimani, who was a national hero in Iran, led to an outpouring of grief as hundreds of thousands took to the streets of Tehran to lament the loss of the slain general, The Guardian reported. Meanwhile, members of Iran’s parliament chanted “death to America” and vowed to get revenge against President Trump, whom Iran called a “terrorist in a suit,” according to the New York Post.
In a speech Friday, Trump said that he had Soleimani killed not to start a war, but to prevent one, and that Soleimani was planning “imminent” threats against Americans at the time of his death. Nevertheless, Soleimani’s killing has put the world on edge as many wonder whether a new Middle Eastern war is in the offing.
America and Iran continued to trade threats throughout the weekend, as Trump warned that he would target as many as 52 sites “important to Iran” if the nation dared to retaliate. Meanwhile, the 2015 Iran deal is officially defunct after the regime vowed to stop following the terms of the agreement, Fox reported, bringing the U.S.–Iran conflict into yet uncharted territory.
No one knows when or whether war will break out, but in the meantime, it is certainly shocking that mourning for Soleimani isn’t just happening in the Islamic Republic.