Iraq Arabic News Summary, February 3, 2008

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Iraq Arabic News Summary, February 3, 2008

Summarized in English by Nathaniel Rabkin

Adnan al-Dulaymi: Iraqi Government Barred Iranian Ambassador From Visiting Me

Sunni politician Adnan al-Dulaymi says that Iraqi army troops stationed near his home in Baghdad’s Adl neighborhood prevented the Iranian ambassador to Iraq from visiting him on January 31. According to Dulaymi, the Iranian ambassador, Hasan Kazemi-Qommi, called him on January 30 to arrange a meeting at Dulaymi’s office. However, according to Dulaymi “I preferred to invite him to meet me at my home and lunch with me, and so we prepared an Iraqi lunch befitting him and invited some friends to attend.”

However, on the 31st, Kazemi-Qommi called Dulaymi to say that he had spent the last forty minutes arguing with Iraqi army troops stationed outside Dulaymi’s home, trying to convince them to let him pass. The ambassador asked Dulaymi to get in touch with “highly placed authorities” who might help ease the situation, but Dulaymi refused, because “the result was already known, that the authorities would persist in the siege which they have emplaced on me.”

Dulaymi also said that he has met with the Iranian ambassador three times in the past, twice at Dulaymi’s own headquarters in Adl and once at the home of Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim. According to Dulaymi, at each meeting the ambassador invited him to visit Iran. Dulaymi says that he rejected all of this invitations, but that if another were extended now, he would accept it, noting that “Iran is a neighboring Islamic country which we are tied to by a long history,” and also noting that “Iran has great influence on affairs in Iraq and on the Iraqi government, since the ruling Shi’ite parties came from Iran and were sheltered there.”

Adnan Dulaymi, who leads Iraq’s largest Sunni political group (The Iraqi Accord Front), has often been accused of having ties to insurgent groups. In November, his home was raided by Iraqi security forces and several of his guards and relatives were arrested after a car bomb was discovered near his home. Dulaymi’s opponents considered the incident proof of his terrorist connections, but Dulaymi denied any connection to the bomb and accused Shi’ite political parties of persecuting him.

Source:

Muidd Fayadh, al-Sharq al-Awsat, “Iranian Ambassador Prevented from Visiting Dulaymi; the Leader of the IAF Complains: I am Besieged,” February 1, 2008.

 

At Baghdad Conference, Senior Sunni and Shi’ite Clerics Condemn Terrorism and Sectarianism.

Sunni and Shi’ite clerics met in Baghdad on Sunday and endorsed a 13 part platform condemning sectarian violence. Although not the first meeting of its kind, this conference was notable for uniting a large number of Iraq’s most prominent Muslim religious leaders, including ISCI associated preacher and parliamentarian Jalal al-Din al-Saghir, Sadrist spokesman Salah al-Ubaydi, Najaf cleric Muhamamd Bahr al-Uloum, the head of the Sunni Endowment (Waqf) Abd al-Ghaffour al-Samarrai, the head of the Shi’ite Endowment (Waqf) Salih al-Haydari, and two Sunni Sheikhs from the Anbar province: Ahmad Abbas al-Muhanna and Thamir al-Dulaymi.

The conference grew out of an earlier meeting of Iraqi Sunni and Shi’ite Muslim religious leaders gathered in Mecca for the Hajj pilgrimage in the fall of 2006.

The platform which the conference produced called on religious leaders to educate their followers to view Islam as a religion of life, and to view all Muslims as a single religious community. It also called on religious leaders both in Iraq and beyond to issue religious rulings against the practice of takfir, or the excommunication of professing Muslims. Takfir is the religious doctrine which al-Qaeda uses to justify its attacks on supporters of the Iraqi government.

According to Abd al-Ghaffour al-Samarrai, the head of the Sunni Endowment, more such conferences will be held in the future in other locations throughout Iraq, with the next one set to take place in either Sulaymiyah or al-Anbar.

Key quotes from conference participants:

Mahmoud al-Issawi, preacher of the Shi’ite Abd al-Qadir al-Kaylani mosque: “The American forces and regional actors are responsible for the sectarian strife in Iraq.” Salah al-Ubaydi, spokesman for the Sadrist Current: “The responsibility for Iraq’s suffering lies with all of its rulers and politicians.”

Sheikh Mahmoud al-Samidai: “Today, there is no difference between Omar and Ali [the first Sunni and Shi’ite leaders respectively], nor between this sect and that sect. There are no curses hurled at the companions of the Prophet [such cursing is a ritual practice amongst some Shi’ites], and no tossing about of the label “rejectionist” [Rafidah, a Sunni epithet for Shi’ites]. Iraq is one and its people are one.”

Abd al-Ghaffour al-Samarrai, head of the Sunni Endowment: “We have asked the Muslim scholars to make known the Sharia’s judgement about those who blow themselves up . . . the ball is in the court of the Muslim scholars, and we will hold Muslim scholars everywhere responsible for the spilling of Iraqi blood if they do not make clear the Sharia’s judgement about those who kill themselves and kill the people of Iraqi.”

Sources:

Aswat al-Iraq, “Conference of Muslim Scholars in Iraq Concludes by Condemning Terrorism,” February 3, 2008.

Jawdat Kazim, al-Hayat, “During a Conference Organized by the ‘Association of Muslim Scholars of Baghdad’: Sunni and Shi’ite Clerics Call for a United Message, an End to Takfiri Religious Rulings, and an End to Militia Activity,” February 4, 2008.

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