Wave of Killings at Sunni Mosques
Reuters reports on a wave of killings at Sunni mosques. Both worshippers and Sunni clerics have been killed. Some of the mosques attacked are in poor, largely Shiite neighborhoods, and some suspect Shiite militias are the culprits. (The more radical Sadrists are being spoken of without being named, I suspect).
az-Zaman says that the wave of killings has been condemned by Muhammad Bahr al-Ulum, himself a Shiite cleric, who is the current president of the Interim Governing Council.
The day before yesterday, the Mosque of Badriyah al-Dulaymi in Sadr City was targetted by heavy gunfire and a rocket propelled grenade, killing one of the worshippers. Two days before that, the mosque had been attacked and a worshipper killed, as well. The mosque of Fandi al-Kubaysi in the al-Shurtah al-Khamisah district, the Amiriyah Mosque in Fallujah, the al-Hajjah al-Badriyah mosque in the Awr quarter, and the Qiba’ mosque in the Sha`b quarter have all been attacked.
Bahr al-Ulum strongly condemned “these sinful and cowardly actions against God’s houses and his servants.” He added, “We know very well that their purpose is to shake the national unity and to provoke public turmoil among the children of our one country and our one religion.”
This is a language of Islamic ecumenism that is more unusual than you might think. For a major Shiite cleric to refer to “our one religion” as between Shiites and Sunnis, and to speak of Sunni mosques as “God’s houses” is very different from the kind of rhetoric one hears from the more radical Sadrists, condemning Sunnis for supporting Saddam or for demoting the Shiite Imams by favoring the early companions of the Prophet.
Although such attempts to provoke religious violence are nowadays often blamed on the al-Tawhid organization of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, it seems more plausible that these are local neighborhood faction fights.