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Makkah Imam Urges Iraqis to Cool Their Guns
JEDDAH, 25 February 2006 — Sheikh Saleh Al-Taleb, the imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, yesterday condemned the attacks on mosques in Iraq and warned against flaring up inter-Muslim violence in the country.
“It is not in the interest of Iraqis to rush to blame people, or take revenge,” Al-Taleb said in his Friday sermon which was televised around the world.
Iraq has seen reprisal attacks and around200 deaths after the bombing of a major religious site in Samarra on Wednesday raising fears of a civil war in the country.
Al-Taleb condemned the Samarra bombing and the revenge attacks that followed saying, “These are conflicts whose fire is lit by criminals.”
“How can an attack on the graves of believers be avenged with attacks on the houses of God? How can a violation of tombs of the Prophet’s descendents be met with burning the Book of God, killing Muslims and preventing prayers?” he told hundreds of thousands worshippers gathered in the huge mosque complex.
The imam said the attacks will serve only to provoking an all-out civil war in the country and the rush for retaliation is not to the benefit of an already weak Iraq.
He pointed out that the perpetrators of the attacks are not known and therefore counterattacks against gravesites and mosques serve no other purpose than making innocents suffer.
Al-Taleb said that Iraqis at this critical stage should exhibit restraint to bring forward the interests of the public. He urged the Iraqi people to stay away from anything that would weaken their country.
“Your brother Muslims around the world are urging you to put down your weapons and settle this matter peacefully,” said Al-Taleb.
Wednesday’s bombing, which destroyed the famous dome of the1 ,000-year-old mausoleum where two ninth century Shiite imams were buried, prompted global condemnation and appeals for calm.
Tens of thousands of Bahrainis took to the streets of Manama yesterday denouncing the bombing and the violent clashes that ensued. Shiite leader Isa Qassem, who led the demonstrations, called for unity between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq, warning that any deterioration in relations could impact outside Iraq.
In Kuwait City, thousands rallied for the second day running yesterday calling for Muslim unity. “No to extremism and terrorism, yes to Islamic unity,” read one placard.
Speakers also warned of a conspiracy to incite a sectarian rift among Muslims in order to make them forget Jerusalem and their occupied lands.