Sadrists and Sunnis make peace - call for US withdrawal
From L-R: Shiite cleric Hazem al-Aaraji, Essam Kazem al-Rawi, a Sunni member of Muslim Scholars Association, Abdel al-Salam al-Kubaissi, spokesman of the MSA, and senior officials of the Shiite firebrand Moqtada Sadr movement Fadel al-Shara, Abdel Hadi al-Daraji and Salah al-Obeidi attend a joint press conference at Sunni Abu Hanifa mosque in Baghdad.(AFP/Amar Karim)
turkishpress: The movement of firebrand Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, alleged to have played a role in the anti-Sunni violence over the last few days, publicly made peace with political and religious Sunni leaders on Saturday.
Four sheikhs from the Sadr movement made a "pact of honor" with the conservative Sunni Muslim Scholars Association, calling for an end to attacks on places of worship, the shedding of blood and condemning any act leading to sedition.
The agreement was made in the particularly symbolic setting of Baghdad's premier Sunni mosque Abu Hanifa where the Shiite sheikhs prayed under the guidance of prominent Sunni imam Abdel Salam al-Qubaissi.
The meeting was broadcast on television and the religious leaders all "condemned the blowing up of the Shiite mausoleum of Samarra as much as the acts of sabotage against the houses of God as well as the assassinations and terrorization of Muslims".
The statement made reference to the key concerns of both communities with the violent aftermath to the attack on the Samarra mausoleum which saw more than 119 people die.
The sheikhs also condemned "those who excommunicate Muslims" a reference to the "takfireen" or Islamist extremists like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi who justify killing fellow Muslims by declaring them non-Muslims.
"It is not permitted to spill the Iraqi blood and to touch the houses of God," said the statement, adding that any mosques taken over by another community should be returned.
The meeting also announced the formation of a commission to "determine the reasons for the crisis with a view to solving it", while also calling for a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops. Read more