Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Can we allow this conspicuous silence to continue?

Excerpts from Ayatollah Sayyed Muhammad Hussain Fadlallah's Friday prayer khutba on August 13, 2004:

In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

. . . Iraq is once again drowning in a river of blood in the wake of the US bombing. The US forces used sophisticated aircraft and attacked civilians with artillery and missiles and bombed those who refuse the occupation, which hides behind the official Iraqi cover. Attacks are being directed against the holiest place in Iraq; namely, holy al-Najaf, which houses the tomb of Imam Ali (AS0 and the 1,000 years old Wadi al-Salam Cemetery where the faithful are buried. They are attacking the Islamic seminary, which is over 1,000-year old, under the pretext of imposing law.

We do not support anarchy in this holy city, which the believers visit from various parts of the world. We do not support lawlessness in dealing with the city's conditions. However, we must study the background of these events, which led to the current difficult complications, and the controversial US provocations in several security situations. Is the current phase in Iraq at present appropriate for resorting to violence by the interim government? Has this government enough power to impose its will - a power that is not an Iraqi power but an international power under US leadership? The Iraqi people consider these forces an extension of the occupation even if they are covered by a flimsy sovereignty? Why did this government not learn a lesson from the tyrant regime, which bombed Al-Najaf and attacked the tomb of Imam Ali (AS) without respecting its sanctity? Does this government want to be the latest to bomb the holy places but by US hands this time?

How were the occupation forces given the right to bomb any place in the holy city, wittingly or wittingly leading to attacks against the holy tomb? Muslims in the world have moved against the Jewish threats to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, why should they not rise up now against the US and official Iraqi threats to the tomb of Imam Ali (AS)? The Iraqi people consider this official license to bomb Al-Najaf and its sacred places a result of US pressure to confront the current that rejects occupation - pressure which is aimed at promoting the chances of the current president in the forthcoming US elections. The issue is not that of dealing with an illegal development by force but is a threat to all the free and independent voices so that all the people will submit to the occupiers and the Iraqi voters would be forced to elect the figures that are submitting to the occupation.

We want holy al-Najaf to be the city of peace. Based on our legal Islamic position and responsibility, we issue a fatwa banning any cooperation by any means with all those who are committing the crimes of violating the sanctities of this holy city. We call on all organizations to move and stop this bloodshed because the neutral position was interpreted by a US officer to The Washington Post as 'a green light for us to do what we have to do' as he put it. The newspaper commented by saying that the official explanation is demonstrated by the smile of the US military commander. Can we allow this conspicuous silence to continue? . . .


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