Muqtada: Proud to be an Outlaw;
Al-Ha’iri: Americans are making War on the Shiites
Ash-Sharq al-Awsat: According to Shaikh Qais al-Khazali, the leader of the Army of the Mahdi in Baghdad, Muqtada al-Sadr was delighted to be called an “outlaw” by US civil administrator Paul Bremer. He attributed to Sadr these words: “If Bremer means that I am an outlaw according to the American legal code (ash-shari`ah al-Amirikiyah), then I take pride in it. If he means divine and rational law, then Bremer himself does not know those laws, and he is the one who is breaking them.” He added, “The situation now is closer to calm, and elements in the police who had withdrawn from their posts have informed us that they have now returned to them, just as we have indicated our readiness to help guard them.”
Al-Khaz`ali maintained that the storming of govenrment buildings on Sunday had been spontaneous on the part of grief-stricken crowds who had heard about the arrest of Yaqubi and the presence of coalition troops at Muqtada’s house.
In a statement distributed Monday, Muqtada demanded guarantees that the Coalition troops would leave Iraq. He demanded a constitutional government chosen by the Iraqi people.
Meanwhile, Grand Ayatollah Kadhim al-Ha’iri, now resident in Qom in Iran but the major clerical successor to Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr (Muqtada’s father), warned the Americans against “these reckless actions” on Monday, referring to the crackdown on the Sadrists. He complained that seminary students had become the targets of the Occupation authorities. He said he knew from the beginning that the Americans had not come to Iraq to liberate it from darkness, and now his conviction had been proven correct. He complained that the Americans had begun “making war on this community [the Shiites], dishonoring them, imprisoning their clerics and believers, killing their children, and striking at their ancient intellectual positions. “This is all taking place in the name of freedom and democracy.”