The Mufti of Damascus, Sheikh Adnan Al-Afyouni, was killed as a result of “the explosion of an explosive device planted in his car” in the town of Qudsaya northwest of the capital on Thursday evening, according to the Syrian Ministry of Endowments.
Al-Afyouni is described as a cleric close to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and he played a pivotal role in implementing the settlement agreements that the government concluded with the opposition and fighting factions in the countryside of the capital, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The Syrian authorities did not directly accuse certain parties over the opium assassination.
Who is the opiate sheikh and what are the circumstances surrounding his assassination?
The Syrian Ministry of Endowments described Sheikh Al-Afyouni in its official obituary to him as “one of the most prominent scholars of Syria and the Islamic world,” and he is the general supervisor of the “Al-Sham International Islamic Center for Countering Extremism.”
Sheikh Adnan Al-Afyouni was born in Damascus in 1954, and received his initial education in its schools before moving to study at the Islamic Institute for Call and Guidance.
He later continued his religious studies at the College of Islamic Call, Damascus Branch, and graduated from it. He also pursued his postgraduate studies in this field at the College of Graduate Studies at Omdurman Islamic University. From them, he obtained diplomas and masters degrees in Islamic sciences with distinction.
He moved in various positions in the field of religious guidance work, and worked as a religious teacher in a number of mosques in Damascus and its countryside.
He worked as a member of the Guidance and Counseling Committee in the Directorate of Endowments for Rural Damascus, a member of the Committee for Examination of Imams, Preachers, and Religious Officials in the Directorate of Endowments for Damascus, as well as a preacher, imam and director of the Institute for Holy Quran Memorization in the Companions Mosque in Qudsaya.
He also worked in the field of education, so he held the position of Director of Qualifying Education to teach Arabic to non-native speakers, and a teacher at the College of Islamic Call in the College of Fundamentals of Religion and the College of Sharia and Law, as well as holding the position of Assistant Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sheikh Ahmed Kaftaro.
In May 2019, Al-Afyouni was assigned to oversee the management of what was called the “Al-Sham International Islamic Center for Countering Extremism,” a center that defines itself as including departments for the training of imams and preachers, for Sharia sciences, monitoring and treatment of extremist ideas, a section for combating extremist thought and another for scientific research. However, Syrian opposition circles accuse the center of being a front for the regime and accuse Al-Afyouni near it.
Al-Afyouni had led the Eid al-Adha prayer amid a rare public appearance at the time of President al-Assad on September 12, 2016 in the Saad bin Muadh mosque in the city of Daraya, and after about three weeks of the Syrian army’s control of the city, which had been besieging it for more than four years, following an agreement with The opposition factions in it.
“Darayya, with its living example, calls all Syrians,” he told Al-Assad and the prayers. “You have no choice but to reconcile and leave the fight.”
The Al-Afiouni assassination came as a surprise after it became rare for Damascus to witness similar incidents, after government forces have managed, since 2018, to control neighborhoods in the capital that were under the control of the opposition militants or ISIS, and Eastern Ghouta, which for years was the most prominent stronghold of the armed opposition factions. Near the Syrian capital.
No party has yet claimed the opium assassination.