Sistani Fatwa On Insurgency Trans

Sistani Fatwa on Insurgency

trans. J. Cole from


You know the cruel methods that the Occupation Forces are employing in the continuing clashes for several days in areas of Baghdad and in several provinces in the west, center and south–which have led so far to the deaths of numerous victims among civilians. Likewise, unfortunate actions have been engaged in, which have exposed a number of governmental centers and institutions to plunder and looting. Some armed groups have taken over others of them, creating a condition of chaos and collapse of security in a number of cities. The situation continues to go from bad to worse, so what is your position toward what is occuring?

From the Office of Grand Ayatollah Ali Husaini Sistani:

We condemn the methods of the Occupation Forces in dealing with the events that have occured, just as we cricitize the transgressions against public and private property and all acts that lead to the collapse of order and prevent the Iraqi authorities from fulfilling their duties in serving the people. We call for the use of wisdom in treating this situation, through peaceful means, and for avoiding any escalatory step that will lead to more anarchy and bloodshed. It is the duty of the political and social forces to participate in an effective manner, and to put an end to these tragedies. God grants success.

16 Safar 1425/ 7 April 2004


Sistani attempts to take a middle position. He condemns the United States for its “methods.” He also, however, condemns the Sadrists for their excesses. In both cases, he feels that the two parties have acted unwisely and have caused chaos and damage to property. Sistani’s juridical tradition, like Hobbes, evinces tremendous fear of public disorder and condemns all actions that produce a breakdown in security. Thus, he sees the US as reckless in having gone after Muqtada, and as having used disproportionate force. But he sees the Sadrists likewise as hotheads who have helped provoke anarchy and bloodshed.

The US needn’t take any heart from Sistani’s fatwa, which seems to equate the US military with the Army of the Mahdi insofar as both have acted unwisely, used unseemly methods, and been responsible for a breakdown in public order.

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