06/04/2004, 00.00
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Imam Al Kabbangi speaks against Al-Sadr, Iran and the Wahhabis

Najaf (AsiaNews) - The moderate Shi'ite Imam, Sadreddin Al Kabbangi, was very clear today in his words criticism of Shi'ite fundamentalists at the Mosque of the Mausoleum of Ali in Najaf.  This was his first address following the attack he suffered last Friday and the first since the formation of the new Iraqi government.  The Imam was very critical of Shi'ite clerics in Iran and said "the Shi'ites of Iraq are being invaded by Baathists and Wahhabis."  Raising the tone, the moderate Imam called on the Shi'ite faithful to make themselves be heard. "What is the point of your silence when our clerics are threatened by militiamen armed with missiles?" he said, referring to the presence of Al-Sadr's militia in the sacred cities of Najaf and Karbala.  "How can you accept the killing of Ulemas and attacks against the tomb of the Imam Ali?", he said, whle adding, "all this happens in the name of war against the Americans at a time when matters have nothing to do with hatred against the Americans."  Furthermore, the Imam harshly criticized the Iranian satellite broadcaster, Al-Alam, "which defended Saddam Hussein to the end and now defends the Baathists and passes off what is happening in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq as operations of "Islamic resistence".

 A prompt reply arrived from the followers of Moqtada Al-Sadr, who were present and armed at the entrance of the mosque.  Dozens of Al Sadr supporters entered the mosque and prevented the moderate Shi'ite Imam from completing his address.  Crying "Moqtada, Moqtada, Moqtada," the young supporters of the radical Imam Al Sadr, wearing t-shirts on which "Al Mahdi" was written, began chanting "Allah, Mohammed, Ali, give us victory!"  Imam Al Kabangi tried to continue his address; it was clear however that the noisy crowd was drowning out his words, so he decided to abandon the pulpit.

 Sheik Al Kabbangi escaped from an attack largely believed to have been plotted by Moqtada Al Sadr, on last Friday, May 28.  Hundreds of people marched immediately following prayer services today in Najaf to protest against the attack against Al Kabbangi.  The protesters began their march from the offices of the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution, chanting slogans in favour of Muslim unity. (PB)

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See also
Security reasons cut size of delegation from national conference to Najaf
Violence to stop al-Sistani's march on Najaf
Al Sistani and Al Sadr: two differing visions of Iraq
Sunni and Shiite scholars appeal for halt to Iraq carnage
Al-Sistani forces al-Sadr to lay down his weapons


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