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Salamiyah and surrounding areas shaded in yellow. Map: Adapted by Simerg from a map produced by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please click for enlargement.
LETTER FROM PUBLISHER
In a special post on January 30, 2013, we had mourned the death of numerous members of the Jamat who were brutally killed in Salamiyah, Syria, by suicide bombers. Simerg had paid tribute to these Jamati members with a thoughtful poem (republished below), and sincerely hoped and prayed that peace would return to Syria.
For those not familiar with Ismaili history, the groundwork for the establishment of Fatimid Caliphate over a thousand years ago was laid in Salamiyah — such is its importance and place in Ismaili history. The 11th Imam, al-Mahdi, set out from Salamiyah in the late ninth century for the long 3,500km caravan journey to Sijilmasa in North Africa, as a first step in establishing the Caliphate. For over 1200 years, Salamiyah (pop. 187,123, by 2004 census) has been home to tens of thousands of Ismailis, who have lived peacefully, side by side, with Sunni and other Shia Muslims as well as the non-Muslim communities. Indeed, the Ismaili Imamat projects in Syria are designed for the well-being and progress of the entire Syrian nation.
The recent beheadings of Westerners, as well as deeply humiliating treatment, torture and beheadings of Shia and Sunni Muslims opposed to IS (Islamic State), including the burning of a Jordanian air pilot captured by ISIS militants, indicate that the ISIS acts of barbarism are not likely to cease.
We now report with utmost dismay, sadness and profound sorrow that during the last 2 weeks, Ismailis along with members of Sunni and other Shia communities have become victims of IS terror once again. The website of the US Secretary of State, Mr. John Kerry, reports in a new release dated April 3, 2015, that “ISIL recently massacred over 40 people in Mabuja in Hama province – reportedly Ismailis and Alawites, including women and children”. 
The Canadian Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Rob Nicholson, in his statement issued on April 2, noted that “…the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIL] has demonstrated its contempt for the sanctity of human life through its March 31 attack on the Syrian town of Al Maboujeh, on the outskirts of Salamiyeh. Reports indicate that over 40 people, mostly civilians, were killed, and that dozens more were injured. An unknown number of civilians were also reportedly abducted by the terrorist group. As ISIL continues its campaign to seize territory in Syria, innocent people such as those in Salamiyeh are at risk. Al Maboujeh is largely populated by religious and ethnic minority communities, including Christians, Druze, Alawites, Sunni Bedouins, Shi’a Ismailis, among others, who have been systematically targeted and persecuted by ISIL terrorists.” 
A view of Salamiyah. Photo: Wikipedia.
The website SYRIA DEEPLY, which provides an overview of the latest news, says in a summary that “according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, ISIS militants had killed Alawite, Ismaili and Sunni residents of Mabouja by ‘burning, beheading, and firing on them’.”
It further notes in its dispatch that “IS has been moving westward across Syria in a bid to eventually take Salamiyah, a town east of Hama city” (see map above). The report includes a statement by an anonymous IS militant to Reuters that the Hama campaign is aimed eventually to take Salamiyah. “The ultimate goal is to liberate Salamiyah and Hama but it will not happen before Islamic State is 100 percent ready.” 
This is very worrying for all residents of Salamiyah, and everyone around the world who have family members in and around Salamiyah and elsewhere in Syria.
As a united and a deeply loyal community under Mawlana Hazar Imam’s leadership, we deeply feel for our Syrian brothers and sisters, especially when lives are lost in such senseless acts by IS. We reassure the Syrian Jamat of our concern for them, as well as our deep affection and love for them. Mawlana Hazar Imam himself has articulated that as Imam “his first concern is for the security of his followers.” 
We pray for the souls of all those individuals who have lost their lives, and assure the Syrian Jamat of our constant prayers for their strength of faith and courage at such a difficult time in their history. We sincerely offer prayers that peace returns to their homeland soon. This can only occur when political leaders who are opposed to each other come together for the greater welfare of people of Syria. Dialogue, which has failed in the past, is the only solution for peace and long-term stability in the country. Compromise is an essential component in this process towards stability and peace.
YOUR FEEDBACK: We invite our readers to offer their solidarity with the Ismaili jamat in Syria and the people of Syria by expressing their sorrows and feelings by clicking on Leave a Comment or in the comment box below. If you encounter any difficulty in submitting your comment, please email your comment for publication to Simerg@aol.com, subject “Syria.”
SALAMIYAH AND SYRIA
“Peace Will Be Again”
BY ELIA BADRUDIN
Salaam , al Salaam, O salaam
to all of humanity, Peace
al Salamiyeh , KNOW that Peace will be again.
the heavens will smile on you again.
all humanity which speaks for Peace
has promised that
the planet has your place
al Salamiyeh, more than a thousand years before
prayers were seeds of this ground
a grassland lying on Syrian steppes
a fertile plain of hope
a soft quiet spawning the golden age
a diverse Ummah immersed with the Fatimids…
you’ve nurtured yourself for the heavens here
and it is not all gone today.
you are not lost to us; neither sand grain lost to the sky.
as hearts are the stronger carrying yours
as anguish is balanced with resolute prayer
transformed, you will return, al Salamiyeh
the world is not asleep.
we are an entire Ummah living together in al Salamiyeh
the world has not left you
nor any other facing terror —
“you may feel alone
but you are not alone”
does not your date tree stand strong in windstorm?
and your smile not nourish your child?
He is “Always with you, Always with you”
and the world will not sleep.
not dogma, not terror,
there’s no martyrdom in suicide!
whosoever taketh life of another..
the bestiality of his own cowardly nature
who will betray your homeland and ours
has fallen to the brainwashing of his idols
and their very own envy
not even an animal kills but of hunger
leave them to their desolate running.
only, the ends of the earth are round
and of the heavens, eternal.
where will they go?
and the world will not sleep
all day and all night
across our globe
Ismailis holding hands with every other faith
for all of Syria and for all your families.
“you are not alone, you are never alone”
our seven days, a satado,
are seven ages of pain vanquished
are hearts awry yet steadfast
and hope takes root in this action
then Time too will make space..
and these fools will not rule
fear not the evils, for though they have drained innocent blood,
their souls and hearts are for His Taking
Salaam , al Salaam, O salaam
to all of humanity, Peace.
Date posted: Sunday, April 5, 2015.
Last updated: April 5, 2015 (quote from a letter from Muslim scholars to ISIS).
Note: The poem by Elia Badrudin was originally published on January 30, 2013 following the deaths of several Ismailis from a suicide bomb attack in Salamiyah.
We invite our readers to offer their solidarity with the Ismaili jamat in Syria and the people of Syria by expressing their sorrows and feelings by clicking on Leave a Comment or in the comment box below. If you encounter any difficulty in submitting your comment, please email your comment for publication to Simerg@aol.com, subject “Syria.”
 English text of complete letter to ISIS at http://www.lettertobaghdadi.com/14/english-v14.pdf.
 Voices: “The Power of Wisdom” – His Highness the Aga Khan’s Interview with Politique Internationale
Great Moments in Ismaili History: The Establishment of the Fatimid Caliphate by Jehangir A. Merchant.
Please note that Simerg is an independent initiative. It is not affiliated with any organizations or institutions, and thus the views expressed here are those of the authors.