A lecture by Shaykh Sayyid Muhammad al-Yaqoubi, Syrian scholar.
When the Syrian National Council was formed, there were high hopes that it might hasten the end of Bashar al-Assad's regime and bring peace and freedom to the country. Despite great bloodshed and sacrifice and the support of the outside world, little seems to have changed. The regime is still using violence to retain its hold on power and the opposition remains divided. There seems little hope of a better future for many Syrian citizens.
Shaykh Sayyid Muhammad al-Yaqoubi, was among the first to publicly speak out against the Government last year and encourage the uprising. After criticising the regime during a Friday sermon, he was removed from his post and has since been forced to live in exile in Morocco. He remains, however, a respected figure and powerful moderate voice in his country. Shaykh al-Yaqoubi discussed his country's hopes for freedom and his own efforts to unite Syria's opposition movement to ensure a peaceful transition to democracy.
Shaykh Sayyid Muhammad al-Yaqoubi was born in Damascus and is from a family of scholars. As well as being a high-profile figure within Syria, he has been invited to attend conferences and speak in many countries in the Middle East and Europe. Together with several tribal leaders and political figures, he recently formed 'The National Bloc' which held dialogue with the SNC in Bulgaria and signed a joint Statement in the wake of the Houla massacre. Shaykh al-Yaqoubi is also an executive member of 'The Union of the Syrian Youth for Freedom' and head of the Shar'a office in the 'Military Council of Damascus'.