AMS, Sadrists forbid Fallujah Fighting as “Mortal Sin”
The Iraqi Islamic Party lead by Muhsin Abdul Hamid, has been among the few Sunni Muslim groups willing to cooperate (even if rather lukewarmly) with the Americans. It is now threatening to pull out of the Allawi caretaker government. The IIP had also been the main force urging Sunni Arabs to participate in the elections scheduled for January, and had been opposed in this stance by the Association of Muslim Scholars. That the Iraqi Islamic Party is now contemplating leaving the Allawi government raises the question of whether a mass Sunni Arab boycott of the elections is in the offing, thus fatally weakening the legitimacy of any new government.
Az-Zaman: The Association of Muslim Scholars forbade Iraqis to participate in the attack on Fallujah with the Americans. In a communique, the AMS said that for Iraqis to take part with “raiding forces” in the assault on a city, the population of which is Muslim (such as Fallujah) would be considered the most mortal of mortal sins. The Sunni AMS told Iraqis, “You sinned when you participated with occupation forces in the assault on Najaf, and beware lest you repeat this same sin in Fallujah. Remember that the Occupation is emphemeral.”
The radical Shiite Sadr movement issued a statement forbidding the participation of Iraqi troops in the attack on Fallujah, as well. The statement said, “We direct an appeal at the men in the Iraqi forces, whether national guards or others, the majority of whom are Muslim, calling upon them to refrain for commiting this enormous sin under the banner of forces that do not respect our religion or any principles of basic humanity, and we ask them to view this war as illegal.” It called a “ploy” the assertaion that the attack was merely on foreign fighters at Fallujah.
The convergence of views among the more militant Sunni Muslim clerics of AMS and the radical Shiites of the Sadr movement has been seen before, last spring during the initial US assault on Fallujah and during the US attack on Mahdi Army militiamen in Najaf. Most Shiites, however, are still reluctant to take major risks to support the Sunnis of Fallujah, many of whom had supported Saddam and his anti-Shiite pogroms.