05 May 2004


More information you won't get on television: the Christian Science Monitor has a fascinating long article about the story of militant Iraqi cleric Moqtada Sadr.

It turns out that Sadr's opposition movement dates back all of the way to his father's opposition to the Ba'ath regime under Saddam, so his political credentials and determination are unshakeable. And he is an Islamist, whose ultimate goal is a cleric-led government like in Iran.

For his supporters, the stand-off with the Americans is evidence that he's on the right path. ''The tyrants always fear the ones who are most just, must good,'' says Ali Yassawi, sitting in the movement's main office in Sadr City, the sprawling Baghdad public housing quarter that is a hot-bed of Saddriyun, or Sadr supporters. ''At first I wasn't sure about Moqtada, but just like the father, our enemies are fighting against him. This proves he's on the right path.''
While the family fought Hussein, and now stands against the US, their oppositionist position has always had one objective: To bring the rule of wilayat al faqih, or the rule of the jurisprudent, to Iraq, patterned after Iran's theocracy. ''In difficult situations like the ones we faced under the regime of Saddam Hussein, people will always look for leaders who stand up for their rights,'' says Imam Hazim al-Araji, a cleric close to Moqtada. ''The Sadr line showed themselves to be the ones willing to stand up to [the] regime, and suffered for it. The people really respect this.''

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