I.M.A.M. delegation and H.E. Sayyid Monir al-Khabbaz visit Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington

On November 29, 2016, a delegation from I.M.A.M. led by its Vice Chairman Sayyid M.B. Kashmiri, accompanied by a distinguished guest and Emissary from the Shia Islamic Seminary, His Excellency, Ayatullah Sayyid Munir al-Khabbaz, visited the Washington D.C. metropolitan area where they met with His Eminence Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, and Director Stephen Colecchi, from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

During their meeting, the esteemed attendants discussed a wide range of issues with emphasis on current affairs including:

  • Interfaith collaboration between the Catholic Church and Islam, specifically the Shi’a school of thought.
  • The protection of minorities in the Middle East, particularly the Christians of Iraq
  • Countering violent extremism in the United States, and how local Muslim communities are responding to the threat of extremism
  • Collaborating with the Catholic Seminary to have a scholarly exchange program with the Shia Islamic Seminary

At the end of their meeting, Archbishop Wuerl and Director Colecchi graciously thanked the I.M.A.M. delegation and His Eminence, Ayatullah Sayyid Munir al-Khabbaz for their visitation and expressed a desire to continue collaboration and dialogue on the issues discussed, to which the delegation and Sayyid al-Khabbaz acknowledged in kind.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl is the sixth Archbishop of Washington and serves on numerous national and international bodies. He is the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, chancellor of the Catholic University of America, Chairman of the Board of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Foundation, and Chairman of the Boar of the Papal Foundation. He serves on several Vatican Congregations, Councils and Commissions including those for the Doctrine of the Faith and for Bishops. He has also served as chairman of numerous committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The I.M.A.M. delegation meets with Director Stephen Colecchi, from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is an assembly of the hierarchy of the United States who jointly exercise certain pastoral functions on behalf of the Christian faithful of the United States. Its purpose is to unify, coordinate, encourage, promote and carry on Catholic activities in the United States; to organize and conduct religious, charitable and social welfare work at home and abroad; to aid in education; to care for immigrants; and generally, to enter and promote by education, publication and direction the objects of its being.

His Excellency, Ayatullah Sayyid Munir al-Khabbaz is a respected jurist, intellectual, writer, and speaker, from the Shia Islamic Seminary. He is the son of Sayyid Adnan of the Khabbaz family, whose lineage can be traced back to Imam al-Hassan ibn Ali ibn abi Talib, peace be upon them. He studied under great jurists such as Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Abu al-Qasim al-Khoei, Ayatollah Shaykh Murtada al-Burujardi and His Eminence, Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali al-Husayni al-Sistani, may God protect him. While in the Holy City of Qum, he studied under Grand Ayatollah Shaykh al-Wahid al-Khurasani and was a companion of Grand Ayatollah Shaykh Mirza Jawad al-Tabrizi where he became a member of His Eminence’s jurisprudential council. His Excellency Sayyid Munir al-Khabbaz reached the level of ijtihad and obtained the title of “Ayatullah” after giving lectures in advanced jurisprudence and its fundamentals.