Thursday, June 14, 2007

Voices From the Middle East: Part II: Grand Ayatullah al-Sistani Statement on Second Samarra Bombing

" Once again evil hands returned to violate the sanctity of the Askari shrine in Samarra by targeting the remaining minarets of this holy site. This heinous crime just shows the extent of the perpetrators’ hatred towards the household of the Prophet [Muhammad], may God bless him and his family, and their relentless efforts to ignite the sectarian fire between the citizens of beloved Iraq.
The religious Marja’iyyah [Twelver Shi'i religious council of grand ayatullahs in Iraq] expresses its extreme anger and condemnation at this evil attack. It greatly regrets that the responsible authorities have not fulfilled their obligation in protecting this sacred Shrine and calls upon the beloved faithful, during these trying times, to be patient and exercise restraint and avoid any revenge action against innocent people and places considered holy to others. We hope the government will take the initiative to implement its promise and take swift procedures to provide the required protection for the holy shrine and its reconstruction. There is not power except the power of God The High and Mighty."
Note: Retaliatory attacks against Sunni Arab Iraqis and their mosques by Shi'i militias continued today unabated despite calls from al-Sistani, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (a Shi'i Arab), and other religious leaders for calm. The authority wielded by al-Sistani and his colleagues has been seriously weakened as Iraq descends further into a bloody inter-sectarian civil war. Shi'i militias such as Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army and its splinter groups (such as Mahmoud Sarkhi al-Hassani's movement) and the Badr Corps of the Supreme Islamic Council in Iraq (formerly the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq) have ignored calls against retaliatory violence against Sunnis. Shi'i attacks on Sunni Arabs, once reserved for attacks on insurgents and militants connected with al-Qa'ida in the Land of the Two Rivers, has become increasingly random over the past year as thousands of Iraqis have been murdered in the streets.

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