Muslim Scholars Must
Condemn Iraqi Sectarian Violence
Washington, DC: The Muslim Public Affairs
Council condemns the heinous and seemingly endless barrage
of anti-Shi’a attacks taking place in Iraq on a daily
basis. In the span of the last three weeks alone, over 1,500
Iraqis have been killed in a series of terrorist attacks
that have crept from public spaces into holy sites and mosques,
says an MPAC announcement. It adds:
… insurgents dragged five Shi’a Muslim schoolteachers
and their driver into a classroom, lined them against a
wall and gunned them down. Elsewhere, a suicide attack and
roadside bombings killed 10 Iraqis. On Sept. 14, more than
a dozen explosions ripped through the Iraqi capital in rapid
succession, killing at least 152 people and wounding 542
in a series of attacks that began with a suicide car bombing
that targeted laborers assembled to find work for the day.
The one-day death toll was believed to be the worst in the
capital since major combat ended in May 2003. Also on that
day, at least 112 people were killed and more than 200 were
wounded in the heavily Shi’a neighborhood of Qazmiya
where day laborers had gathered shortly after dawn. The
Qazmiya district also was the site of a bridge stampede
involving tens of thousands of Shi’a pilgrims on Aug.
31 that killed 950 people.
Earlier this month, al-Qaeda’s leader in Iraq, Abu
Musab al-Zarqawi, allegedly declared “all-out war”
on Shi’as and vowed to kill anyone participating in
the Constitutional referendum. Such Muslim-on-Muslim violence
is a betrayal of the teachings of the Qur’an, which
state, “But whoever deliberately slays another believer,
his requital shall be hell, therein to abide; and God will
condemn him, and will reject him, and will prepare for him
awesome suffering” (4:93). Iraqi politicians, including
deputy speaker of the National Assembly Hussain al-Shahristani,
as well as Sunni and Shi’a religious religious leaders
in Iraq have denounced the attack as “barbaric and
gruesome.” However, internationally-recognized Muslim
leaders and scholars have been startlingly silent. MPAC
calls once more upon on all the religious leaders, regardless
of their denominational persuasions, to demand that adherents
of Islam -- in unambiguous terms -- not commit such a heinous
crime in the sight of God.
For its part, the US government has done little other than
issue warnings that Sunni Arab insurgents are likely to
increase their attacks ahead of the Oct. 15 national referendum.
As the occupying force, the US military holds a non-negotiable
responsibility to secure the lives of all Iraqi citizens.