The USG Open Source Center summarizes and translates a recent statement of Shiite clerical leader Muqtada al-Sadr, issued two weeks ago, insisting that the suspension of military operations by his Mahdi Army is still in effect.
‘Muqtada al-Sadr Says Freeze on Al-Mahdi Army’s Military Action Still in Effect
Iraq — OSC Summary
Sunday, October 28, 2007
The Mujahidin Al-Amarah News Network (formerly visible at (http:// al3marh. net/ news/%20 but now gone blank). . . — which reports on Al-Sadr trend’s activities and statements and other events in Iraq, was observed to post the following statement on 23 October:
The following is the full text of the report:
Office of the Martyr Al-Sadr (May God sanctify his secret)
Your Eminence Hojjat ol-Islam val Muslimin Al-Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr (may you live in glory), can you please answer our questions and queries. May God reward you.
1. Is the decision to freeze the Army of Imam al-Mahdi (may God speed up his return) still in effect because some parties are circulating news that the freeze stopped after Id al-Fitr?
In the name of God Almighty: Yes, it is still in effect and it can be extended if we deem this to serve an interest. It is absolutely not true that it has been lifted. In fact, some hostile parties are spreading this news to tarnish the reputation of this heroic ideological army, which proved its obedience to its leaders by implementing the freeze in the best manner possible except by some of those who took it upon themselves to obey the enemies and who ignored the freeze order by their hawzah (religious seminary). We appeal to all to implement this decision on all levels. Otherwise, a disobedient person would be dismissed from this heroic ideological army. The army has no place in it for disobedient persons. Our lord and master, Imam Al-Mahdi (may God speed up his return) wants obedience and faith, and not disobedience and rebellion.
2. If the freeze did not stop, we would like to inquire about some actions, which some units of the Army of Imam Al-Mahdi have continued to carry on, including some financial, tribal, and social affairs and others.
In the name of God Almighty. This question can be answered on two levels:
First, this freeze includes the “military” aspect in particular and some aspects, which I will mention implicitly, God willing. It does not include the ideological and cultural aspects. As we know, jihad is two parts: cultural and military. We are facing a (Jewish-American) attack on our beloved Islam. Therefore, dear brothers, you should make yourselves immune to these attacks so as to make Islam immune as well. This cannot be done by attack, disunity, disintegration, disobedience, rebellion, unilateral action, differences, and other similar negative phenomena that have spread among you. It is done by piety, rectitude, purity, ethics, faith, modesty, fraternity, and worship, and not by seeking mundane pleasures, polytheism, and parties.
Second, concerning what was mentioned in the question about the financial, tribal, and social aspects, if any individual wants to intervene in these things, he cannot do that by using his affiliation to the Army of Imam Al-Mahdi. Otherwise, he will be disobeying higher orders.
3. In the current period, in which the Army of Imam Al-Mahdi has been frozen, what are the responsibilities that they can carry out?
In the name of God Almighty. The dear brothers in the Army of Imam Al-Mahdi have the full powers to go about their social affairs, such as making visits, forming friendships, helping the needy, and attending to the needs of the believers in a manner that does not conflict with the tolerant Islamic shari’ah and that does not break the freeze. They may also seek to educate themselves religiously, ideologically, scientifically, and ethically by conducting lessons, lectures, seminars, and examinations under the supervision of the cultural commission that is affiliated with the Office of the Martyr. They may also carry out any peaceful action that reflects their love of their religion and homeland and their endeavor to achieve its unity, land and people.
I also advise you to refrain from any action that could hurt the reputation of this beloved army. Its reputation is a trust that you bear. Do not fear the blame of anyone while implementing the above. God is able to grant you victory. Be like a solid structure, while each one of you offers advice to the other and loves the other so that the enemy will not be able to infiltrate you. Beware of those who stir up sedition and the infiltrators among your ranks. I advise you and myself to fear God in secret and in public and to carry out religious duties and abandon what is forbidden and to conduct religious rituals, such as congregational prayer, the husayniyah sessions, and many others.
5 Shawwal 1428 (corresponding to 16 October 2007)