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Thousands Of Shiites To Form Human Chain In Najaf Guarding Shrine, Sadr
August 13, 2004 | Jay Deshmukh

Posted on 08/13/2004 12:44:29 PM PDT by HAL9000

BAGHDAD, Aug 13 (AFP) - Thousands of Shiite Muslims vowed Friday to flock to the holy city of Najaf to form a human chain around the revered Imam Ali shrine after militia leader Moqtada Sadr was reportedly wounded in battle.

In a peaceful demonstration outside the heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses the US embassy and some government offices, the Shiite men, women and children vowed to guard the shrine and shield Sadr in the fighting at Najaf.

"We are a group of 500 women, many of whom are young students, and we plan to go tonight to Najaf and be part of a large human chain that we will form surrounding the shrine and also Sadr," said 20-year-old Rajaa Khayum, a resident of Sadr City, the Shiite stronghold of northeast Baghdad.

Dressed in a traditional abaya, Khayum said hundreds of Sadr supporters would leave in groups Friday evening and participate in the holy war, but in a peaceful way.

"We do not have arms, but our bodies will be armour for the Imam Ali shrine and Sadr. We will take the bullets of the Americans and are ready to die martyrs for our religion and its son, Moqtada."

The gold-domed tomb of Prophet Mohammed's son-in-law Ali held by Sadr's Mehdi Army has for centuries made the city of Najaf a place of pilgrimage for Shiites seeking his blessing.

The religious importance of Najaf to Shiites, who make up the majority in Iraq, was highlighted in early April 2003 when US troops invading Iraq entered the city of half a million.

They were confronted by hundreds of angry civilians who blocked soldiers from approaching the shrine, which is off-limits to non-Muslims.

A spokesman for the Shiite Muslim militia leader urged thousands of partisans in Baghdad to march to Najaf on foot after Friday prayers.

"As we gather here, outside the headquarters of the agent of the occupation who have brought nothing but death and destruction to this country, we order you to march to Najaf on foot," said Sayed Hazem al-Araji.

The besieged holy city lies 180 kilometers (110 miles) south of Baghdad.

Khayum, along with dozens of other women and thousands of men gathered outside the Green Zone, were dancing and shouting slogans in support of Sadr and his militant Mehdi army.

Demanding an immediate stop to the fighting at Najaf, Khayum said the Iraqi and US forces should quickly exit the city.

"The government calls Sadr an outlaw. How can he be?" asked Khayum's friend Aayam Mohammad, who had come to the demonstration despite a shoulder injury, while a young supporter sprinkled rose water on the sweating crowd.

Mohammad was also headed to Najaf later Friday.

"He (Sadr) is son of this land, of this religion. It is (Prime Minister) Iyad Allawi who is the outlaw, an American spy. He and his ministers should quit and also exit Najaf without any more bloodshed."

As the crowd gathered, dozens of American soldiers and Iraqi national guards took positions outside the gates of the convention centre in the Green Zone.

"Go away, go away. Stand far. Don't come close," one gun-toting soldier said.

"We are not here to fight. We are here to give a message to the government and the Americans that they should quit Najaf," said Mortada Mohammed, a 25-year-old student of French literature.

"I challenge the coalition forces. Let them call Sadr an outlaw again and see what happens."

Pro-Sadr demonstrations were held across Iraq, while in the main southern city of Basra, a Sadr aide called on Iraqi police and national guards to join the ranks of the Mehdi army.

"Either you are with us or against us," warned Sheikh Ahmed al-Maliky, the deputy governor of Basra, as more than a thousand faithful gathered for weekly prayers held on the street in the city centre outside Sadr's office.

Thousands of Shiites also marched towards Najaf from Kufa, while demonstrations supporting Sadr were being held in most key cities of Iraq.



TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: alsadr; iraq; najaf; sadr
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1 posted on 08/13/2004 12:44:32 PM PDT by HAL9000
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To: HAL9000

Target rich opportunity.


2 posted on 08/13/2004 12:45:46 PM PDT by evad (You cannot start with a false premise and arrive at a valid conclusion)
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To: HAL9000

that means move in and arrest his a$$ now... isn't it nice how they helped clear up the solution to this problem...


3 posted on 08/13/2004 12:46:20 PM PDT by go star go
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To: HAL9000

Non-violent protest!!! What a concept!! Are the Arabs human after all? Let's go to the Barbariancam and see.....


4 posted on 08/13/2004 12:46:29 PM PDT by zarf
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To: HAL9000

Gee, how 1960's'ish! They must be reading the DNC playbook for the RNC convention.

And they must be funded by Thraaaaayzzaaaaa!


5 posted on 08/13/2004 12:46:33 PM PDT by stockpirate (Kerry and The Taxocrates must be defeated! "Kerry wasn't in Cambodia before he was in Cambodia.")
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To: HAL9000
Target Rich Environment.
6 posted on 08/13/2004 12:47:18 PM PDT by Doomonyou (Molon Labe! FMCDH!)
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To: evad

Ready on the right, Ready on the left, Marines you may commence firing when your target appears.


7 posted on 08/13/2004 12:47:20 PM PDT by MP5 (The memory is seared, seared in my mind)
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To: HAL9000


Where is that "Not this sh*t again!" poster?


8 posted on 08/13/2004 12:49:08 PM PDT by kittymyrib
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To: evad

MMMmmmmm.... I love the smell of Napalm in the morning!


9 posted on 08/13/2004 12:49:57 PM PDT by Paloma_55
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To: HAL9000
hundreds of Sadr supporters would leave in groups Friday evening and participate in the holy war, but in a peaceful way.

Finally, a more "sensitive" war !

10 posted on 08/13/2004 12:50:14 PM PDT by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
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To: Goetz_von_Berlichingen

Shades of bridges in Serbia.


11 posted on 08/13/2004 12:50:38 PM PDT by Askel5 ( Cooperatio voluntaria ad suicidium est legi morali contraria. )
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To: HAL9000

Source?


12 posted on 08/13/2004 12:52:19 PM PDT by No Longer Free State
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To: HAL9000

How about four marines and a tank punch a holes in this ring and we'll see how long it remains non-violent.


13 posted on 08/13/2004 12:52:30 PM PDT by Dilbert56
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To: HAL9000

Alowing Sadr and his "militia" to live and fight another day would be disastrous for the US.

We need to end this crap now.

Let them have their "religious freedom," but we cannot allow them to engage in war.


14 posted on 08/13/2004 12:52:55 PM PDT by Guillermo (It's the 99% of Mohammedans that make the other 1% look bad.)
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To: HAL9000

Wouldn't a large dose of tear gas be effective in getting the terrorists holed up in the mosque to 'scurry like roaches'? Then it's target practice.


15 posted on 08/13/2004 12:53:13 PM PDT by airborne (Death From Above)
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To: HAL9000

This is the result of the US fighting a "PC" war; did we learn nothing from Nagasaki? How many marines good and true are going to have to die so we don't offend the "Arab street"? And how damn long is this crap going to go on?


16 posted on 08/13/2004 12:53:14 PM PDT by 45Auto (Big holes are (almost) always better.)
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To: evad

Wow, shooting ducks at a gallery!!!


17 posted on 08/13/2004 12:53:41 PM PDT by fish hawk
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To: Paloma_55
>>MMMmmmmm.... I love the smell of Napalm in the morning<<

Singed Shiite..
a mideast delicacy.

18 posted on 08/13/2004 12:55:10 PM PDT by evad (You cannot start with a false premise and arrive at a valid conclusion)
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To: evad

It was a BIG SCREW UP not to take him. Who the hell is running the show over there?


19 posted on 08/13/2004 12:56:11 PM PDT by funkywbr
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To: HAL9000

These turds are nukin futs!


20 posted on 08/13/2004 12:57:02 PM PDT by Renegade
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