Middle East


'Foolish Bremer'

Muqtada al-Sadr
Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr speaks with reporters in Baghdad, Oct. 14, 2004. Al-Sadr called on the coalition troops to schedule their withdrawal and vowed not to allow his militia to attack coalition troops (Photo: Marwan Naamani/AFP-Getty Images).

Muqtada al-Sadr, the son of a revered Shiite cleric killed by Saddam Hussein’s henchmen and now a radical Shiite leader himself, is engaged in a power struggle with Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the highest religious authority in the hawza (religious seminary) of Najaf. Al-Sadr has criticized the leadership of the hawza for the “quietist” approach it took toward politics after Saddam Hussein crushed the Shiite rebellion of 1991 and for its Iranian connections (Al-Sistani, for example, reportedly speaks Arabic with a heavy Farsi accent, and many senior Iraqi Shiite scholars spent much of the Hussein era in Iran). That Al-Sadr is publishing a newspaper called Al-Hawza is, in itself, an attempt to usurp the mantle of Shiite religious leadership. Here, Al-Sadr’s newspaper blasts the West and its representatives in Iraq as enemies of Islam.—WPR

Everyone knows that the West is a bitter enemy to Islam. And no sane man can believe that America supports Muslims’ interests.

So, do we even have to present any proof? 

Where to start? With the numerous insults heaped on religious figures, or comments belittling Muslims’ religion? Or the twisting of anything said by Muslims to make it sound like they support terrorism?

Someone once thought that he could serve his country, and because his faith was shabby, he fell into the trap of trying to get people from different religions to come together. Thinking that this was an easy mission to undertake and armed with good intentions, he laid out a plan for his project. Those who belonged to the West in religion and culture—although they were from this land—soon embraced him like devils, gave him whatever he desired, dressed him the best clothes, fed him the best food, and then sent him to the Pope. The Pope met him several times, although he meets only notables. He was also allowed to inaugurate a university for sciences and to do whatever he desired. [It is not clear to whom this refers. Former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, who is a Christian, met with the Pope in February 2003. Mohamed al-Rubeai, an Iraqi-born professor at the University of Birmingham, has been advising the U.S.-led government in Iraq on the reconstruction of Iraqi higher education.—WPR]

But they set a simple condition: When he teaches the Quran, he should not mention the verses about Christians and Christ—a simple condition, isn’t it?

Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III, [U.S. presidential envoy to Iraq], is not a Catholic follower of the Pope. Rather, he is a Zionist-Christian follower of U.S. President George W. Bush. Since Bremer is as foolish as the man who sent him, he thought that it would be easy to erase Islam from the spirits of 25 million people in Iraq and satisfy his and the West’s desire to erase Islam from the world.

Does this third-rate intelligence agent and terrorism specialist think he can erase the religion of God?

Bremer does not know more than the intelligence officers of the former regime who tried to pry Islam from the hearts and minds of men and women whose faith became even stronger in response.

Bremer is foolish because he missed the target and thought he could expunge Islam from the lives of people who lived with and by Islam for many long centuries. These people were defeated only when they strayed, to one degree or another, away from Islam.

What hurts me more is that he injected his poison amid Muslims—or those who seem to be Muslims—in Karbala, and nobody uttered a word against him. What hurts me more still is that the great religious authorities kept silent. The Prophet Mohammed said, “He who sees a bad deed must change it by force. If he cannot, then he must try giving advice. If he cannot, then he must try to change it with his heart.” And I am quite sure that these people, the religious authorities, cannot even do this.

Bremer has shown many signs of harboring hostility toward Islam. We have only heard him talk of using his veto twice, and both times were on questions relating to Islam. The first time was related to the [1959] personal status law, [which grants uniform rights to husband and wife with regard to divorce and inheritance and governs related family issues. A proposal to make Islamic law the foundation of Iraqi law would have mooted many of its provisions. Bremer and the Coalition Provisional Authority opposed the change partially out of a desire to avoid creating a Iranian-style Islamic republic in Iraq and partially because they feared it would diminish the status of women.—WPR]

Bremer did not object to the looting of Iraq’s fortunes and cultural heritage. He did not object to the gangs he brought under the name of parties, gangs that looted and sold relics and smuggled oil. These parties sold Iraq’s official documents and blackmailed those involved. Bremer did not object to political assassinations and the destruction of Iraq’s infrastructure. But when he hears a whisper of Islam or the Quran, he bellows that there is no Islam in the country of Islam.