2 Us Troops 15 Others Killed 17

2 US Troops, 15 Others killed

17 persons died in violent attacks in Iraq on Thursday, including two US troops.

Al-Hayat reports that Grand Ayatollah met with the Chaldean Patriarch. The grand ayatollah urged Christian Iraqis to vote, and condemned attacks on Christian churches by what he called “takfiri” forces. The practice of declaring some Muslims to actually be “kafirs” or infidels is controversial in mainstream Islam, since it is often felt that if someone claims to be a Muslim, the claim should be accepted. The militant, radical Muslim fundamentalists often declare other Muslims to be unbelievers. But this is the first time I have seen condemnation of takfiris in relation to non-Muslims. Sistani seems to be implying that it is even wrong for Muslim Iraqis to consider Christian Iraqis “infidels.” Of course, mainstream Islam does accept the truth of Jesus as an envoy of God, and the Koran says that Christians are closest in love to Muslims. So perhaps the statement isn’t surprising; but it struck me as distinctive.

Britain outlined the precise steps and stages envisaged in the movement of Iraq toward elections in January of 2005. This is the first time many of these steps have been spelled out publicly.

The FBI is investigating how Halliburton got its bids to work on Iraqi petroleum facilities.

Vice President Dick Cheney is the former CEO of Halliburton. The company is also being investigated concerning money that has gone missing.