AFP reports that on Friday an aide to junior cleric Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr lashed out at Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani over his silence at the attacks on Sadr City (a Shiite slum) by the US and the government of PM Nuri al-Maliki:
‘ “We are surprised by the silence in Najaf where the highest Shiite religious authority is based,” Sheikh Sattar Battat said, referring to Sistani.
“For 50 days Sadr City is being bombed … Children, women and old people are being killed by all kinds of US weapons, and Najaf remains silent,” he told the faithful at the weekly Friday prayers in Sadr City, Sadr’s stronghold. Battat said the Sadr movement has not seen any “reaction or fatwa (religious decree) from Najaf” criticising the government assault on Shiite fighters in Sadr City. ‘
Also, Sheikh Abd al-Hadi al-Muhammadawi said in his sermon at the Kufa mosque that the shedding of blood by the Occupation forces through air strikes on the people must cease. He said it was bizarre that these air strikes should take place with the acquiescence of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. “This is something that never was done by any dictator in the world.”