RealNews

Iraqi clerics use prison as rally cry

As the prison abuse scandal gripped Washington yesterday, Sunni and Shi’ite religious leaders alike joined in prayer and invoked the images of abuse in their Friday sermons to rail against the US occupation in a rare show of unity, suggesting that the revelations from the Abu Ghraib prison could inspire a unified anti-American strategy among traditionally divided Iraqis. “What kind of superpower makes male and female prisoners go naked?” asked Ahmad Hassan Taha, a leading Sunni cleric, whose words blasted through loudspeakers atop the mosque’s minaret and echoed through several blocks of the Adamiyah neighborhood. “It shows how stupid this occupier is. These photos will inflame this region,” he said, addressing thousands of worshipers who jammed the sidewalks outside the Abu Hanifa mosque for prayers. At the prayer service in Baghdad’s heavily Sunni Adamiyah district, the worshipers included thousands of Shi’ite supporters of the radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who has been mostly besieged in the southern city of Najaf, which is surrounded by US troops. The Shi’ites crossed Baghdad to pray with Sunnis, hoisting Sadr’s portrait above their heads and chanting between prayers: “Yes, yes, Mahdi!” — a reference to Sadr’s Mahdi militia, who are fighting American forces. Full Story

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