Shiite, Sunni Clerics in Iraq Condemn Israel, US;
Muqtada: 9/11 Divine Retribution on US
AFP reports that both Shiite and Sunni Muslim preachers on Friday continued to protest against the assassination of Hamas clerical leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, “burning Israeli flags and accusing the United States of remaining silent over the killing.” (On Friday, the US vetoed an attempt by a majority of the UN Security Council nations to condemn Israel for the murder of Yassin.)
In the holy city of Najaf just south of Baghdad, Shiites held a street protest outside the Imam Ali mosque, as called for by Shaikh Sadr al-Din al-Qubanji, the local representative of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. He said that they should march to honor the martyrdom of Yassin.
They chanted, “Death to Israel, death to America! Your blood, Sheikh Yassin, will liberate Palestine!”
SCIRI is a putative ally of the United States, promoted by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, which has a seat on the US-appointed Interim Governing Council.
The more radical (!) young cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, also referred to the assassination in his Friday sermon in Kufa, next door to Najaf: “The attack on Sheikh Yassin is an attack on Islam and America is responsible for this aggression by remaining silent.”
al-Sadr railed against the U.S. presence in Iraq, urging the worshippers to “seek the spread of freedom and democracy in the way that satisfies God.” They have planned and paved the ways for a long time, but it is God who is the real planner – and the proof of this is the fall of the American Twin Towers.” Referring to the attacks that killed 3000 innocent Americans, he said, “As we say, ‘The rain starts with a drop.'”
Al-Sadr termed Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon the “biggest terrorist of all” for taking out Yassin, a leader of an organization that has massacred innocent Israeli children, women and students with suicide bombings. He added that Sharon “has committed this dirty crime and killed one of the greatest of Islamic mujahedeen . . . This was once again a dirty crime against Islam.”
He said the US was an accomplice in the assassination, according to CNN. Then he “led worshippers in chants: “No, no Israel! No, no to the Jews! No, no America! No, no to terrorism!”
AFP adds that also in al-Kazimiyah mosque in Baghdad, hundreds of Sadrists demonstrated, “marching out of the shrine while carrying a symbolic coffin for Yassin wrapped with a Palestinian flag.”
‘ “No, no to Israel. No, no to occupation,” shouted the protestors, many carrying portraits of Yassin and Sadr. When they reached Sadr’s nearby offices, a group of youngsters burned two Israeli flags before trampling them, an AFP correspondent said.
Muqtada’s conviction that September 11 was a divine judgment against a godless United States is eerily similar to the views of American evangelist Jerry Falwell.
With regard to the Sunnis, AFP reports ‘ At Baghdad’s conservative Sunni neighborhood of Aadhamiyah, Sheikh Ahmed Hassan Taha al-Samarrai, told worshippers at Abu Haneefa Mosque that Yassin was “the beating heart of the struggle in Palestine.” “Despite the fact that the late Sheikh Yassin was a disabled old man who could not move … he made the Crusaders — the US administration — and its masters (the Jews) feel anxious.” At the Umm al-Tubul mosque in southeast Baghdad, Sunni Sheikh Abdel Sattar al-Janabi, said: “The Jews who killed Sheikh Yassin in Palestine are the same group who are killing the Iraqis.” “We shall not be afraid from them. No faithful can be afraid from his enemy if his heart was filled with faith,” he said. Protests have been held in Iraq on a near-daily basis to denounce Israel’s assassination of the Palestinian Islamic leader Monday. Members of Iraq’s US-appointed interim Governing Council had expressed fears that the killing of Yassin, who was respected around the Arab world, would fuel violence in their own war-torn country. ‘
As I argued on Tuesday, Sharon’s murder of Shaikh Yassin has stirred up Islamist forces against the US in Iraq in a wholly unnecessary way. The fighting in Fallujah that took so many lives Friday appears to have begun with Sunni insurgents doing operations in memory of Yassin. It is incredible to me that Bush is still willing to meet with Sharon in Washington on April 15, and has protected Sharon from a UNSC condemnation.