Iraq Sermons this Week

The USG Open Source Center rounds up this week’s sermons at major mosques, mostly Shiite, in Iraq. The comments focus on the peace agreement between Abdul Aziz al-Hakim and Muqtada al-Sadr, whose militias had been fighting with one another; on the danger posed by the Sunni tribal militias called ‘Awakening Councils;’ on the recent statements of Sunni hardliner Harith al-Dhari calling for dialogue with ‘al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia; and on the need for parliament to rein in the US contractors in Iraq, such as Blackwater.

‘Round-up of Iraqi Friday Sermons 12 Oct
Iraq — OSC Summary
Sunday, October 14, 2007

Major Iraqi television channels . . . are observed on 12 October to carry the following reports on Friday sermons

Within its 1800 GMT newscast, Baghdad Al-Iraqiyah Television in Arabic – government-sponsored television station, run by the Iraqi Media Network – is observed to carry the following report on today’s Friday sermons:

“Shaykh Jalal-al-Din al-Saghir, imam and preacher of Friday sermon at the Buratha Mosque, called on the Iraqi Government to sign a security document with the United States in order to define the work of the US forces and the protection companies in Iraq so that the tragic operations, which claim the lives of scores of innocent citizens, will not recur, as happened in Al-Nusur Square and other areas.”

The report adds: “Shaykh Jalal-al-Din al-Saghir, imam and preacher of the Buratha Mosque and member of the Council of Representatives for the Unified Iraqi Coalition (UIC) [United Iraqi Alliance], began his Friday sermon today by commenting on the Baghdad security file, specifically the issue of arming some tribes and groups on the pretext of expelling Al-Qa’ida (from their areas). He warned against factionalizing these militias, as he put it. At the same time, he called for putting these groups under the command of the security forces.”

Al-Saghir says: “At the time, we said that one of the shortcomings of the security activity is that the popular effort was not used. The people were not allowed to protect themselves by themselves. This theory was rejected. They said that there are some problems in it and we accepted this. However, after this, we found out that this theory that was rejected was replaced by a more serious one. There are groups that include suspects and terrorists from one sect, from one group, and from various areas that are supplied with arms stronger than those of the security forces. Despite this, it is said that this is the awakening. Any security plan on recruiting these people should be balanced and equitable, and those volunteers should be put under the command of the security forces in the area.”

The report says: “In light of the talk about the security file, Shaykh Jalal-al-Din al-Saghir rejected the action of the US forces in the Jizan al-Imam area, where 25 citizens were killed. He called on the US forces to verify any information they receive. He urged the government to put an end to this by signing a security agreement with the United States.”

Al-Saghir says: “These militias, which were called the awakening groups, tempted the US forces into shelling this area intensively. I am astonished at the fact that such things can deceive such a superpower. At a time when it formed an investigation committee into the issue of the Blackwater Company, the Australian security company, or the Jizan al-Imam issue, the Iraqi Government should pay attention to the fact that these issues (word indistinct). It should seek a security agreement. It should define a security agreement with the multinational forces to regulate the powers and actions of this force.”

The report adds: “The imam of the Buratha Mosque said that the US forces have responded to the Iraqi Government’s request on dissolving the awakening groups in some of the Baghdad areas, and that these groups will be reorganized based on pluralism.”

The report says: “Shaykh Ala Abd-al-Wahhab, imam and preacher of the Martyr Yusuf al-Hassan Mosque in Basra, stressed the unity and solidarity of the Iraqi people at all times. In a Friday sermon, Shaykh Ala said it is impossible to discriminate among the groups of the one people who have been living in brotherhood and amity for hundreds of years.”

Shaykh Abd-al-Wahhab says: “We should bolster our unity, close our ranks, and live as brothers who love each other.” . . .

Within its 1700 GMT newscast, Baghdad Al-Furat Television Channel in Arabic – television channel affiliated with the [Shiite] Iraqi Islamic Supreme Council (IISC) led by Abd-al-Aziz al-Hakim, carries the following report on today’s Friday sermons:

“Friday preachers stressed the importance of the return of (Abd-al-Aziz) al-Hakim to the homeland at this time in particular when the country is passing through difficult circumstances and facing big challenges, especially since Al-Hakim enjoys balance and wisdom in making decisions. Other preachers praised the agreement that was signed by His Eminence Al-Sayyid al-Hakim and Muqtada al-Sadr. They described it as a great step toward protecting the higher national and Islamic interests, supporting the nation, and taking it to the safety shore.”

Shaykh Muhammad al-Haydari, imam and preacher of the Al-Khillani Mosque, says: “The security ministries, the Defense Ministry and the Interior Ministry, should give priority to some areas to which the displaced families return. Al-Saydiyah is a mixed area where there are Sunnis and Shiites. The US forces have armed more than 3,000 persons in Al-Saydiyah and given them licenses and salaries under the slogan of awakening to defend the area. They are all affiliated with one sect.”

The report adds: “The religious weight of Al-Najaf has qualified it to pinpoint the areas of disorder and strength in any signed agreement. Sadr-al-Din al-Qabbanji said that the recent agreement between Al-Hakim and Al-Sadr puts the Iraqi house in order and foils attempts to foment sedition between the two sides.”

Shaykh Sadr-al-Din al-Qabbanji, imam and preacher of the Al-Najaf Friday sermon, says: “The formation of joint committees to solve points of disagreement is an important step that took place this week between the components of the Shiite house. This pleases us. This means that the Shiite house and the Iraqi leaders always seek to achieve the unity of the Shiite house. We believe that the fatal blow to us lies in our division.”

The report says: “Shaykh Abd-al-Mahdi al-Karbala’i, imam and preacher of the Karbala Friday sermon, said that the only way out for the Iraqis is to live as sons of the one homeland. On the occasion of the blessed Id al-Fitr, Al-Karbala’i urged the people and officials to use the Id as an occasion to instill hope and to give precedence to the interests of the country over all narrow factional interests. Shaykh Abd-al-Mahdi al-Karbala’i called for casting away sectarian convulsions and conflicts and resorting to the language of amity and unity among the segments of the Iraqi society in order to overcome the Iraqi people’s crises. Al-Karbala’i called for not allowing the regional and international forces to interfere in Iraq’s affairs or implementing their special agendas in the Iraqi arena at the expense of the people.” . .

The channel carries an episode of its weekly “Friday Sermons” program at 2110 GMT, as follows:

Shaykh Muhammad al-Haydari says: “Reports and some international organizations said that the number of the displaced in Iraq is more than 2 million, and the number of those who left Iraq is also 2 million. This is a very large number.”

He urges the Iraqi Government and its ministries to “support the displaced.” He also urges the people to “support their brothers who were displaced.”

Shaykh Sadr-al-Din al-Qabbanji, imam and preacher of the Al-Najaf Friday sermon, says: “The formation of joint committees to solve points of disagreement is an important step that took place this week between the components of the Shiite house. This pleases us. This means that the Shiite house and the Iraqi leaders always seek to achieve the unity of the Shiite house. We believe that the fatal blow to us lies in our division. If we are united we will not be harmed. We praise God Almighty on this important achievement. We pray to God to bless this step on the path of reinforcing the Shiite house for which the others are lying in wait in order to destroy this house, which represents the majority.”

Al-Qabbanji adds: “In a way, the UIC represents the Shiite house. It represents the political authority of the Shiite component in Iraq.”

He says: “This man, Shaykh Harith al-Dari should ask himself how he resorts to Al-Qa’ida. The whole world is unanimous that Al-Qa’ida is a terrorist organization. I am not saying only the Shiites or Iraqis consider it as such, but the whole world is unanimous that Al-Qa’ida is a terrorist organization. It has carried out operations of killing and bombings all over the world. Neither the Sunnis nor the Shiites accept it. Only the terrorist groups accept it. The recent thing is that Harith al-Dari said this in the name of the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS), and we will verify later which Muslims it represents. The Sunnis in Iraq said that they do not support him or his statements, and Al-Tawafuq (Accord) Front, which represents the Sunnis in Iraq, said that neither Al-Dari nor his statements represent them. He is a man who is outside Iraq and who does not represent anything in Iraq. Despite this, he says I am the secretary general of the AMS. The Sunnis, Shiites, and all Iraqis have nothing to do with the actions of these groups.”

Shaykh Jalal-al-Din al-Saghir says: “We say that security in Baghdad has improved in a significant way. Every one can feel this.”

Commenting on the issue of the “awakening” groups, Al-Saghir says: “The task of maintaining security should take place by a national force that seeks to protect security away from favoring this or that sect. It should implement the law away from this or that sect or group.” He adds: “I am not speaking about any particular militia. All the militias that carry arms without the permission of the state are rejected. They are a plague that harms any country.”

Shaykh Hasan al-Zamili, imam and preacher of the Al-Diwaniyah Friday sermon, praises the agreement that was signed by Abd-al-Aziz al-Hakim and Muqtada al-Sadr. He says that “at this stage, this document is extremely important, and a strong blow dealt to the hypocrites who exercise political hypocrisy, and here I am addressing them, and to the enemies, opportunists, Ba’thists, and terrorists.”

Commenting on Harith al-Dari’s statements on Al-Qa’ida, Al-Zamili says that this man “was assigned a specific role in fomenting sedition and conflict among the sons of the one entity, homeland, and nation.” He adds: “He has been exposed. He defends Al-Qa’ida, the terrorists, and the takfiris (those who hold other Muslims to be infidel) who killed us. Therefore, we praise God Almighty and call on the sons of the people to unite in order to foil the plans of enemies, those who are lying in wait for us, and the conspirators; rebuild Iraq in the service of the wronged people; and achieve security and stability.” ‘

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