Iraq Clerics Call for Stronger Security Forces, National Reconciliation

The USG Open Source Center rounds up Friday prayers sermons shown on Iraqi television this week:

Round-up of Iraqi Friday Sermons 23 Nov
Iraq — OSC Summary
Saturday, November 24, 2007

Major Iraqi television channels – Baghdad Al-Iraqiyah, Baghdad Baghdad Satellite Channel, Baghdad Al-Sharqiyah, Baghdad Al-Furat, Cairo Al-Baghdadiyah, and Baghdad Al-Diyar – are observed on 23 November to carry the following reports on Friday sermons:

Al-Iraqiyah:

Within its 1700 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 Dr Ahmad Abd-al-Ghafur al-Samarra’i, head of the Sunni Waqf Bureau, said that the terrorist Al-Qa’ida organization is breathing its last. In a Friday sermon at the Abu-Hanifah al-Nu’man Mosque, Shaykh Al-Samarra’i called on the Iraqis to unite their word and stand for the sake of completely eliminating the terrorist groups and consolidating security in the country.”

Shaykh Al-Samarra’i says: “From the Abu-Hanifah al-Nu’man Mosque, it pleases me to salute the zealous men of Al-A’zamiyah, who suffered a great deal. It is time to restore their health, nurse their wounds, break their shackles, and restore smile to children.”

The report adds: “Dr Al-Samarra’i said that the takfiri (holding other Muslims to be infidel) plans have been exposed and foiled thanks to the Iraqis’ awareness, patience, and unity against all conspiracies.”

Al-Samarra’i says: “Some sides have been paid to foment sectarian seditions among the Iraqi people and create differences among the Sunnis, Shiites, Arabs, Turkomen, Kurds, and Muslims and non-Muslims. However, we say that the Iraqis are one body and they are united. All Iraqis are now aware of the game and the conspiracy.”

The report says: “In a Friday sermon today, [Shiite] Shaykh Hamid al-Sa’idi, imam and preacher of the Buratha Mosque, stressed the importance of achieving solidarity and closing ranks to face challenges. At the same time, he stressed the need to upgrade collective action to rally round the national constants with the aim of overcoming the current circumstances.”

Shaykh Al-Sa’idi says: “We should be armed with awareness in order to foil the plans of all troublemakers, those who seek to mislead the people, and all those who wreak havoc on earth to obstruct the great march of this good nation.”

Baghdad Satellite Channel:

Baghdad Baghdad Satellite Television in Arabic – television channel believed to be sponsored by the Iraqi Islamic Party – at 0912 GMT is observed to carry the following Friday sermon from an unidentified mosque in Baghdad. Shaykh Dr Harith al-Ubaydi delivers the sermon:

In his Friday sermon, the preacher says that Almighty God’s creatures are two groups, “one goes to Paradise and another goes to hell.” He adds that God “tests people according to their faith.” He says that anyone who “succeeds” in this test will go to Paradise and the one who “fails” will go to hell. The preacher then elaborates of God’s “rewards to martyrs.”

Al-Sharqiyah:

Within its 1700 GMT newscast, Baghdad Al-Sharqiyah Television in Arabic – independent, private news and entertainment channel focusing on Iraq, run by Sa’d al-Bazzaz, publisher of the Arabic language daily Al-Zaman – is observed to carry the following report on today’s Friday sermon by [Shiite Sadrist] Shaykh Abd-al-Hadi al-Muhammadawi, imam and preacher of the Al-Kufa Friday sermon:

“Shaykh Abd-al-Hadi al-Muhammadawi, imam and preacher of the Al-Kufa Friday sermon, warned Nuri al-Maliki’s government of continuing its targeting of the Al-Sadr Trend in Iraq’s southern governorates. He stressed that every action has an equal reaction. Al-Muhammadawi, who is a prominent leader in Al-Sadr Trend, which is led by Iraqi man of religion, Al-Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr, addressed Al-Maliki’s government by saying that this is your last chance to stop oppressing the Al-Sadr Trend and to halt the storming and arrest campaigns.”

Al-Muhammadawi says: “You are put to a test today. We called for stopping these storming and arrest campaigns against our sons. We tell you that this is your last chance to stop chasing and oppressing our sons and to halt your attempts to weaken the Al-Sadr Trend. Every action has an equal reaction. So, do not use double standards and do not be hypocrites.”

He adds: “After terrorism was defeated, this government has devoted its time to the Al-Sadr Trend. It is implementing the occupier’s plans of attacking and weakening the Al-Sadr Trend. It launches a barbaric and fierce onslaught against our sons in the various governorates.”

Al-Furat:

Within its 1700 GMT newscast, Baghdad Al-Furat Television Channel in Arabic – television channel affiliated with the 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 need to learn lessons from the religious and political life of Imam Al-Rida, may God’s peace be upon him. The preachers praised the clear improvement in the security situation all over the country and the return of the refugees and the displaced to their areas.”

Shaykh Salih al-Haydari, imam and preacher of the Al-Khillani Mosque, says: “They have returned to their country and people after they have made sure that the security situation began to improve.”

Shaykh Hamid al-Sa’idi, imam and preacher of the Buratha Mosque, says: “We need to strengthen, develop, and rehabilitate our intrinsic powers and then submit another official request for a clear, transparent, and reasonable dialogue between the government and the multinational forces in order to define powers.”

The channel carries an episode of its weekly “Friday Sermons” program at 1808 GMT, as follows:

Shaykh Salih al-Haydari, imam and preacher of the Al-Khillani Mosque, says: “These days, all Iraqis, with all their trends, sects, religions, and faiths; and all the sincere Iraqis, who constitute the majority, view Iraq with great hope which brings peace closer to them. The people these days can see that the security situation is improving from better to best. They are very delighted and happy while seeing that terrorism has been defeated and that conflicts have decreased significantly. They can also see that the honest and good people began to move in the arena for the sake of joint action in the interest of Iraq and its people.”

He adds: “Those who had left Iraq out of fear of killing, destruction, and terrorism have begun to return to Baghdad in particular. They began to return in large numbers. Hundreds of families have returned over the past days from the places in which they lived away from home. They have returned to their country and people after they have made sure that the security situation began to improve.”

Shaykh Hamid al-Sa’idi, imam and preacher of the Buratha Mosque, says: “The most important issue one can monitor in the Iraqi file is the improvement in the security situation. This significant improvement in the security file is considered an advanced achievement. The stronger this achievement becomes, the more achievements will be made.”

He adds: “Our security theory is based on the following elements, which we have emphasized and still emphasize: The first element is the participation of the popular forces, which we called popular committees. Some sides expressed fear that these popular committees would turn into new militias that would affect security. However, it became clear later that security was achieved thanks to what was called the awakenings of tribes and the popular committees.”

He says: “The second element is modernizing and rehabilitating the security forces. We have been calling for modernizing and rehabilitating the Iraqi security capabilities, taking into consideration that the people of the country know about its affairs better than anyone else and that the Iraqi policeman is more capable to deal with the sons of his people.”

He adds: “The third element in which we believed and in which we still believe and seek to achieve is national accord. There must be serious efforts to achieve national accord on the highest level possible. Iraq, dear brothers, can only be ruled based on partnership due to the sectarian and ethnic diversity and due to this vast geographical area. Therefore, there must be a realistic and real participation of the components of the Iraqi people in order to be able to run our affairs and so that the components of these people can live in peace, security, and stability. This necessitates holding dialogue among all components and setting the necessary rules and the standards to which we should resort. We have the right to say that we are all brothers and we are all the sons of this homeland and that there is no difference between a Shiite and a Sunni or between the Arab, Kurdish, Turkoman, and others. This is a sound statement. However, using these terms as slogans will never take us to the safe shore. What takes us to the safe shore is that all sides should recognize all sides.”

Al-Sa’idi adds: “We need to strengthen, develop, and rehabilitate our intrinsic powers and then submit another official request for a clear, transparent, and reasonable dialogue between the government and the multinational forces in order to define powers and draw a road map for the future developments. Iraq should not remain under the hegemony and provisions of chapter seven, which restricts the sovereignty of the government and the state. We admit that we were governed by this decision due to the circumstances that we have passed through and the lack of development in the security file.” He says: “We can call this liberating the political will and expanding the powers of the government.”

Shaykh Dr Ahmad Abd-al-Ghafur al-Samarra’i, head of the Sunni Waqf Bureau, says: “The voice of the Iraqi people is raised from the mosque of the greatest imam today. This voice says God is great O my country. Today, the Iraqi tribes have risen, the factions of the mujahidin were valiant, and the preachers raised their voices from their pulpits and stood as one man against the criminals, the corrupters, slanderers, the misled, and those who, based on suspicion, killed and executed people and shed their blood. They stood against those who insulted the people of the inexperienced and insolent ones who targeted the people and allowed the shedding of the blood of the sons of Iraq. They have killed thousands of innocent people and beheaded scores of scholars. They issue fatwas (religious rulings) only on shedding the blood of people. All sides agreed to have one word in order to save the blood. Our blood was shed, our people were killed, our installations were destroyed, our hospitals were brought to a halt, our schools were closed, and our houses were demolished. Until when will this destruction and damage continue? I am honored to meet with the honorable people of Al-A’zamiyah, taking into consideration that their delegation visited me a month ago. They used to look at the tragedies of Al-A’zamiyah. They asked me: Are you pleased with what is taking place in Al-A’zamiyah? Can’t you see our suffering? Can’t you aid us and stop our bleeding by people who wreaked havoc on our land? I told them: May God bless you, I am with you and I am your brother. So, provide me with your men and I will provide you with the elite of my men and the best of my weapons. We agreed to sit together. We spread our maps, set the zero hour, and gave its youth the name of the lions of Al-A’zamiyah. Thus, the two groups met and God granted victory to us. Victory was achieved by the sons of Al-A’zamiyah.”

Al-Sayyid Yasin al-Musawi, imam and preacher of the [Shiite] Al-Abbasiyah Shrine, says: “The fourth round of talks is expected to be held among Iraq, Iran, and the United States to discuss the Iraq issue. This issue has a positive effect on the region in general, and on these three states in particular.”

He adds: “We believe that this dialogue is in the interest of these three countries. Based on this, we hope that these talks will be a continuation of the previous rounds in terms of tackling the tragic conditions of the Iraqi people. The tragedy has reached a climax.” . . .’

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