First Published: 2004-03-19

 
Iraqis stage anti-US demonstration
 

Iraqi Sunnis, Shiites stage joint anti-US protest calling for end to American occupation on eve of war anniversary.

 

Middle East Online

What have the Iraqis gained from this occupation, asked one imam

BAGHDAD - Up to three thousand Iraqi Sunni and Shiite Muslims staged a joint protest here Friday calling for an end to "American occupation" of their country, on the eve of the first anniversary of the US-led war.

They took to the streets in a peaceful march after weekly midday prayers, saying they were opposed to US military presence in Iraq as well as the deposed regime of former leader Saddam Hussein.

"No to Saddam. No to the Americans. Yes to Islam," the worshippers chanted before leaving the Kazimiya mosque, which is home to the mausoleum of Imam Mussa al-Kazem and is the holiest Shiite shrine in Baghdad.

During the service, imam Saeed Hazim al-Araji deplored the situation in Iraq and blamed the post-war situation on the US troops deployed in the country.

"Some Iraqis speak of liberation but most consider that it is an invasion and we are against this occupation," Araji said in his sermon.

"What have the Iraqis gained from this occupation," he asked, listing among the current woes the detention by US troops of Muslim clerics and "10,000 Iraqis" and roadblocks that cripple life in the country.

"We are all time-bombs at the service of the Hawza (the Shiite religious authority)," the imam told the worshippers, urging them to join ranks "with our Sunni brothers" and protest against US presence in Iraq peacefully.

The Americans, he said, "are violating Iraq".

The Shiite worshippers left the mosque and headed for the neighborhood of Azamiya across the Tigris River to link up with Sunni protesters gathered outside one of their mosques.

There they mingled, holding up placards in Arabic and English denouncing "American terrorism".

"Human rights have disappeared" said one sign. Another called for the "end to destruction" in Iraq and a third condemned the "indiscriminate" firing of US troops on suspects in the Iraqi capital.

"Before the war, Iraq had no links whatsoever to international terrorism," Sunni cleric Jawad al-Khalissi said.

"Occupation brought international terrorism to our land," he added, blaming the US presence in Iraq for nearly daily bombings and attacks that have rocked the war-battered country since major combat was declared over last May 1.

Khalissi also denounced the US military for detaining thousands of Iraqi and said: "The Americans refuse to allow journalists to visit thousands of Iraqi prisoners and won't allow them (detainees) to have access to lawyers".

The Shiites, who were the target of deadly attacks on March 2 in Kazimiya, blamed the US troops for the lack of security in the country.

The protesters also denounced an interim constitution signed on March 8 by the US-appointed Governing Council and called for speedy elections in Iraq.

 

Iran-backed bomb attack foiled in Jordan

Iran nuclear talks enter in final straight

Carrot and stick as ‘Islamic Sate’ seeks to win over Sunni tribes

7 Iraqis killed in accidental warplane bomb

A year after Gaza war, Shijaiyah still trying to recover

In Saudi Arabia, number of security prisoners climbs again

'Islamic State' targets Iraq town in wave of bomb attacks

Egypt arrests Brotherhood members over plot to disrupt shipping at Suez Canal

Egypt reveals number of Sinai militants killed in last five days

‘Islamic State’ seizes Syria town of Ain Issa from Kurdish forces

Crunch talks to seal Iran nuclear deal begin in Vienna

Warplanes target headquarters of Saleh party in Yemen capital

Egypt to reconsider parts of anti-terrorism draft law

Morocco journalist on hunger strike in Geneva told to return home

Near Gaza Strip, Israelis live in fear behind concrete walls

Tunisia declares state of emergency after beach massacre

After Tunisia beach massacre, tourists switch to other destinations

Deadly US raids target ISIS stronghold in Syria

Concern and grief as Britain remembers 2005 terror bombings

Iran nuclear talks: Will Ministers score diplomatic success?

Erdogan moots possibility of snap election

Coalitions of Syria rebels battle regime forces in Aleppo

Lawlessness in Libya poses real danger for Tunisia

Hezbollah backs Syria army in major assault on border city

Syria mosque explosion kills at least 25 Nusra fighters

Egypt President in Sinai after jihadist attacks on security forces

Yemen Huthi rebels ‘attack’ various areas in Saudi Arabia

No guarantee of success as Iran nuclear talks inch closer to lasting deal

Egypt ‘in state of war’ on second anniversary of Islamist ouster

Ansar al-Sharia denies killing of Abu Iyadh in US air strike

Rockets from Sinai strike Israel

Palestinians arrest 100 Hamas members in West Bank

Erdogan inaugurates public mosque in palace

Islamists form alliance in battle for Aleppo

Top Tunisian jihadist reportedly killed by US strike in Libya

Emir attends joint Shiite, Sunni prayers in Kuwait

Hamas denies involvement in Sinai attacks

4 Qaeda suspects killed in US drone attack in Yemen

'Series of errors' behind Air Algerie crash in Mali

Ankara has no plans for imminent intervention in Syria

21 killed in clashes, strikes in Yemen's Aden

GCC states vow united stand against IS mosque bombings

Palestinians protest one year after teenager burned alive

Egypt vows to wipe out 'dens of terror'

Tunisia arrests eight in connection with beach massacre