Moqtada al-Sadr: Wikis


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Muqtada al-Sadr
مقتدى الصدر
Born August 12, 1973 (1973-08-12) (age 36)
Iraq Baghdad, Iraq
Residence Currently studying for Ayatollah at Qom, Iran
Political party Sadrist Movement
Religion Islam

Sayyid Muqtadā al-Ṣadr (Arabic: سيد مقتدى الصدر) (born August 12, 1973)[1] is an Iraqi theologian and political leader.

Along with Ali al-Sistani and Ammar al-Hakim of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, Sadr is one of the most influential religious and political figures in the country not holding any official title in the Iraqi government.[2]



He is often referred to as Sayyid Muqtada Al-Sadir. The title Sayyid (approx. Mr, Sir, Master) is generally used among the Shi‘a to denote persons descending directly from the Prophet Mohammad, through his daughter Fatima's marriage with Ali, which is thought to be the bloodline from which Islamic leadership must come. Thus a great deal of respect is paid by the Shi'as to the Sayyids throughout Shi'a society. The al-Sadr family has a clear and distinct lineage that can be traced directly to Muhammad.[3] The lineage is traced through Imam Jafar al-Sadiq and his son Imam Musa al-Kadhim, the sixth and seventh Shi‘a Imams respectively.

Muqtada al-Sadr's formal religious standing is comparatively low, at a mid-ranking Shia religious rank, perhaps reflecting his young age. However, in early 2008, Al-Sadr was reported to be studying to be an ayatollah, which would greatly improve his religious standing and strengthen his position vis-a-vis non-Sadrist Shia.[4]


Muqtada al-Sadr is the fourth son of a famous Iraqi Shi‘a cleric, the late Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr. He is also the son-in-law of Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir As-Sadr.

Muqtada al-Sadr is of Iraqi and Lebanese ancestry. His great-grandfather is Ismail as-Sadr. Mohammed Sadeq al-Sadr, Muqtada al-Sadr's father, was a well-respected figure throughout the Shi'a Islamic world. He was murdered, along with two of his sons, allegedly by the government of Saddam Hussein. Muqtada's father-in-law was executed by the Iraqi authorities in 1980. Muqtada is a cousin of the disappeared Musa al-Sadr, the Iranian-Lebanese founder of the popular Amal Movement.[5]


As Muqtada al-Sadr lacks the religious education and degrees required by Shi'a doctrines, he does not claim the title of mujtahid (the equivalent of a senior religious scholar) or the authority to issue fatwas (religious edicts). Before the assassination of his father, he was a student in the Najaf Hawza or religious seminary.

Muqtada al-Sadr refers those with religious questions to their own Marja (religious authority). Following his father's assassination he maintained his father's network of charities and social services.


Muqtada al-Sadr gained popularity among younger Iraqis following the toppling of the Hussein government by the 2003 invasion of Iraq, mostly owing to his status as his father's son, as he has no formal religious standing to interpret the Koran and relies for religious advice on an Iraqi cleric exiled in Iran, Ayatollah Kazem al-Haeri. It is common belief that al-Sadr wishes to create an Islamic theocracy in Iraq, although al-Sadr himself has on occasion stated that he wishes to create an "Islamic democracy." In April 2004 he initiated a revolt against the coalition of forces occupying Iraq.

In his sermons and public interviews al-Sadr has repeatedly demanded an immediate withdrawal of all US led coalition forces, all foreign troops under United Nations control, and the establishment of a new central Iraqi government, not connected to the Ba'ath party or the current Allawi government. He has declared that the Allawi government is illegitimate, and he refuses to cooperate with them; however, his disapproval waxes and wanes depending on the success of negotiations with the interim government. He envisions a Shi‘a-dominated government, much like Iran's, but independent from Iran.[6] He has met Khamenei and "told him that we share the same ideology, but that politically and militarily, I would not be an extension of Iran."[7]


Relation with Shi'as and Clerics

Al-Sadr commands strong support (especially in the Sadr City district in Baghdad, formerly called Saddam City but renamed after the elder al-Sadr). After the fall of the Saddam government in 2003, Muqtada al-Sadr organized thousands of his supporters into a political movement, which includes a military wing known as the Jaysh al-Mahdi or Mahdi Army).[8]. The name refers to the Mahdi, a long-since disappeared imam who is thought by Shii Muslims to be due to reappear when the end of time approaches. This group has periodically engaged in violent conflict with US and other Coalition forces, while the larger Sadrist movement has formed its own religious courts, and organized social services, law enforcement and prisons in areas under its control.

Relations with al-Sistani

Relations with the most powerful cleric in Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, have also been tense. Al-Sistani's approach of non-violent confrontation and negotiation rather than guerilla resistance is often in conflict with the radical young al-Sadr. Al-Sistani is said by observers to draw support from established, property-owning Shi'ites,[citation needed] while Muqtada al-Sadr's support is strongest among the uneducated urban poor, many of whom see him as their champion.


During the first siege of Fallujah in late March and April 2004, Muqtada's Sadrists sent aid convoys to the besieged Sunnis there.[9] His strongest support comes from the class of dispossessed Shi‘a, like in the Sadr City area of Baghdad. Many Iraqi supporters see in him a symbol of resistance to foreign occupation.[10] Naomi Klein, writing in the Nation, has called al-Sadr and his supporters "the single greatest threat to U.S. military and economic control of Iraq."

Occupation of Iraq

Some of his followers are alleged to be responsible for the assassination on 10 April 2003 of Imam Abdul Majid al-Khoei. Judge Raed Juhi, who conducted the investigation after the incident, issued arrest warrants against Sadr and two dozen others, but Sadr's warrant was placed under seal by the Coalition Provisional Authority.[11]

The allegation is based on the fact that the perpetrators used ropes to pull Abdul Majid al-Khoei and his aide's bodies across some alleys near the Shrine of Imam Ali in Najaf, and shouted slogans claiming vengeance for the assassination of al-Sadr.

There was a dispute over the keys to the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf. The mosque contains the tomb of Ali, the son-in-law of Muhammad and, according to Shi'a belief, heir to his legacy. It is among the most sacred Shi'a sites, and also the source of a considerable amount of revenue. The traditional hereditary holder of the keys, Haidar Raifee, fled for fear of his life after the fall of Saddam's regime. Some believed Raifee was an agent of Saddam's Ba'ath party, who had informed[citation needed] on countless Shi'a opponents of Saddam's regime.

Abdul Majid Al-Khoei, with the backing and protection of American and British armed forces, felt that he was in a position to broker a reconciliation between Muqtada al-Sadr and the hereditary custodian of the Shrine (or Kiliadar), Haidar Raifee. Al-Khoei escorted Haidar Raifee from hiding back to his post at the mosque. Al-Khoei was accused by many of taking orders from, and thus acting on behalf of, the American government. His support for the Ba'athist Raifee was used as a pretext for his murder by a Shi'a mob.

Witnesses have said that they were confronted at the mosque by an angry mob, some of whom shouted "Raifee is back". They called him an "animal" and threatened to beat him with their sandals (a traditional Iraqi insult.)[12] According to reports, al-Khoei fired his pistol in the air to get the crowd to back off. However, rather than retreating, the angry crowd surged at al-Khoei, Raifee, and the nearby civilians. The mob killed Raifee with bayonets and knives. Khoei was bound, beaten, and dragged by the mob to the doors of Sadr's headquarters. Eyewitnesses told the investigating judge, Raed Juhi, that when Sadr appeared at the door, he was asked by the mob what to do with Khoei. The witnesses reported Sadr answering, "Take this person away and kill him.".[11]

Muqtada al-Sadr claims that the murderers were not his followers, and that he in fact sent men to prevent al-Khoei's murder. The al-Sadr family sent and published official condolences to the al-Khoei family. The initial warrant against al-Sadr produced after U.S. forces decided to shut down his newspaper, Al-Hawza, alleged that members of the mob claimed to be there on al-Sadr's orders, and that he had instructed them not to kill al-Khoei inside the mosque. Al-Khoei's close followers publicly blamed former Ba'ath party members who also hated al-Khoei (in complete contradiction of his kindness to Raifee.) The charges against al-Sadr had been kept secret until his confrontation with US-led coalition forces, leading some to speculate[citation needed] that the charges were a politically-motivated pretext to remove Muqtada al-Sadr's considerable influence upon religious and political matters within Iraq.

In a press conference on 6 March 2010 ahead of the Iraqi parliamentary election, 2010, Muqtada al-Sadr called on all Iraqis to participate in the election and support those who seek to expel U.S. troops out of the country. Al-Sadr warned that any interference by the United States will be unacceptable. Al-Sadr, who has thousands of staunch followers across Iraq has consistently opposed the presence of foreign forces and repeatedly called for an immediate end to the occupation of Iraq.[13][14]

Opposition to the CPA

Shortly after the US-led coalition ousted Saddam Hussein and his Ba'ath regime, al-Sadr voiced opposition to the Coalition Provisional Authority. He subsequently stated that he had more legitimacy than the Coalition-appointed Iraqi Governing Council (IGC). In September 2003, he declared a shadow government, in opposition to the IGC officials, who were chosen by the US.

In April 2003 his followers, organized as the Sadr Bureau, began providing services throughout Sadr City. The services ranged from health care to food and clean water. Later in 2003, residents of Sadr City meeting in neighborhood caucuses elected neighborhood councils, and ultimately a district council to represent the Sadr City District. The Sadr Bureau, aided by the Mahdi Army, attempted to remove the new District Council by force of arms and occupied the District Council Hall for several weeks. Finally, Coalition forces removed them from the premises, and the elected District Council resumed their duties. Despite this action by the Coalition authorities, the Sadr Bureau and the Mahdi Army have continued to act within Sadr City almost unhindered by US and Iraqi forces. Members of the elected District Council have been continually threatened, and some have been attacked for their alleged co-operation with the Americans.

Al-Hawza and Rebellion

At the end of March 2004, Coalition authorities (759th MP Battalion) in Iraq shut down Sadr's newspaper, al-Hawza, on charges of inciting violence (as a side note, al-Hawza is also the name of the religious institution (of colleges), in Najaf, which was headed by Sadr's father). The Coalition authorities said false reporting, including articles that ascribed suicide bombings to Americans, could spark off violence.

Sadr responded by mobilizing many Shi'a followers to demonstrations, protesting at the closure of the newspaper, but the demonstrations escalated throughout the week in number and militancy. On April 4, fighting broke out in Najaf, Sadr City and Basra. Sadr's Mahdi Army took over several points and attacked coalition soldiers, killing dozens of foreign soldiers, and taking many casualties of their own in the process.[citation needed] At the same time, Sunni rebels in the cities of Baghdad, Samarra, Ramadi, and, most notably, Fallujah, staged uprisings as well, causing the most serious challenge to coalition control of Iraq up to that time.

Paul Bremer, then the U.S. administrator in Iraq, declared on April 5, 2004 that the militant cleric was an outlaw and that uprisings by the cleric and his followers would not be tolerated.[15] It emerged that, some months earlier, an Iraqi judge had issued an arrest warrant for al-Sadr on charges relating to the murder of al-Khoei. This had apparently been kept secret for some time but was now announced publicly by Bremer. Several senior U.S. politicians suggested that the revolt would push back the date for the transfer of power to the IGC, but the handover nevertheless occurred on June 28, 2004, two days ahead of schedule.

August 2004 hostilities

After the June 4th truce with the U.S. led coalition forces, Al-Sadr claimed to be taking steps to disband the Mahdi army. In a statement, he called on resistance members from outside Najaf to "do their duty" and go home. U.S. forces in Najaf were then replaced by Iraqi police. Al-Sadr told supporters not to attack Iraqi security forces and set himself up to become a political force, announcing his intention to form a party and contest the 2005 elections. He said that the interim government was an opportunity to build a unified Iraq. Interim President Ghazi Yawer gave assurances that al-Sadr could join the political process, provided he abandoned his resistance movement. Iraqi officials also assured al-Sadr that he was not to face arrest.[16]

Despite the promises of the Iraqi government, in late July Sadr announced his intention to boycott the upcoming national conference, as did the Association of Muslim Scholars, a Sunni organization.[17] Although al-Sadr initially promised to support the conference, he changed his mind, claiming through a spokesman that it was "a sad joke" and "a trick on the Iraqi people" because of the allegedly undemocratic process for selecting the delegates.[18] On 31 July, al-Sadr's representative in Karbala, Sheikh Mithal al Hasnawi, and al-Hasnawi's brother were captured by U.S. and Iraqi National Guard troops in a joint raid.[19] Sadr representatives condemned the move, reportedly saying "We demand that they be freed, and if this is ignored then we will respond at the appropriate time."[citation needed]

Muqtada's violent threats regarding what he and his people might do if he didn't get his way was a blatant challenge to the new and unstable government's authority. It was also a clear breach of the peace agreement he had signed. Iraqi policemen and U.S. troops surrounded al-Sadr's home on 3 August, resulting in heavy gunfire, mortar shelling and grenade blasts, courtesy of hundreds of Mehdi Army fighters who were already defending the house. Quickly, the clashes spread to the old city of Najaf. There, al-Sadr's fighters had already taken up well-fortified positions around the great Imam Ali mosque.[20] The apparent aim was to arrest al-Sadr and destroy his movement.[21][22][23]

On August 5, via his spokesman Ahmed al-Shaibany, al-Sadr reaffirmed his commitment to the truce and called on U.S. forces to honor the truce. He announced that if the restoration of the ceasefire failed "then the firing and igniting of the revolution will continue."[24] The offer was rejected by the governor of Najaf, Adnan al-Zurufi ("There is no compromise or room for another truce") and U.S. officials ("This is one battle we really do feel we can win").[25]

In the days that followed, fighting continued around the old city of Najaf, in particular the Imam Ali shrine and the cemetery. The Mahdi army was heavily outnumbered by some 2,000 U.S. marines and 1,800 Iraqi government security forces, and outgunned by superior U.S. firepower, including attack helicopters. On August 13, the resistance was trapped in a cordon around the Imam Ali shrine. The Mahdi resistance is thought to have suffered hundreds of casualties in the fighting, while U.S. Marine casualties were fairly light. (More information on the Standoff in Najaf can be found under the article on the Iraqi insurgency).

On August 25, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, arrived in Iraq and began travelling with a "peace convoy" towards Najaf "to stop the bloodshed." By the next day, an agreement brokered by Sistani required the Mahdi resistance movement to disarm and leave Najaf and U.S. troops to withdraw from the city. Resistance men began handing in their weapons after al-Sadr asked them to do so and left the complex escorted by worshippers. The U.S. welcomed the agreement and vowed to respect a ceasefire. U.S. forces have stayed out of the center of Najaf since, and as of September 2004 the city was largely under the control of the Iraqi police.

On August 30, a tentative peace agreement was reached between the Iraqi government and al-Sadr to disarm his resistance in Sadr City, Baghdad. But the next day, Prime Minister Iyad Allawi unilaterally pulled out of talks, cancelling the peace proposal. The New York Times reported that Allawi had wanted to enter in armed conflict with al-Sadr due to his rising popularity after the standoff in Najaf.[26] Fighting continued in Sadr City into October 2004, with the Mahdi resistance movement sustaining losses numbering in the hundreds. The physical infrastructure of Sadr City also suffered damage during this period and there were reports of substantial civilian casualties. Ultimately al-Sadr agreed to a ceasefire, and subsequently agreed to participate in the January 2005 election process.

Opposition to the proposed Iraqi Constitution

On August 26, 2005, an estimated one-hundred thousand Iraqis marched in support of al-Sadr and his ideals.[27]

2005 election

It is generally frowned upon in Iraq for clerics to actively participate in secular politics, and like the other leading religious figures Muqtada al-Sadr did not run in the 2005 Iraqi election. It is believed he implicitly backed the National Independent Cadres and Elites party which was closely linked with his Mahdi Army. Many of his supporters, however, backed the far more popular United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) of al-Sistani.


On March 25, 2006 Muqtada al-Sadr was in his home and escaped a mortar attack. This attack was disputed, as the ordnance landed more than 50 meters from his home.[28]

Sadr’s considerable leverage was apparent early in the week of 16 October 2006, when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered the release of one of Sadr’s senior aides. The aide had been arrested a day earlier by American troops on suspicion of participating in kidnappings and killings.[29]

Capture of Amarah

On October 19, 2006, al-Sadr's Mahdi Army seized control of Amarah in the south of Iraq. President of the United States George W. Bush was stated to have seen a possible parallel between the lead-up to the capture of Amarah and the 1968 Tet Offensive, which was seen as having led to the United States' withdrawal from the Vietnam War. The White House later said the President was not suggesting that a similar turning point had been reached, rather that al-Sadr was trying to influence US elections.[30] Hundreds of militiamen linked to Muqtada al-Sadr battled local police and members of a rival Shi'ite militia in the southeastern city of Amarah, destroying police stations and seizing control of entire neighborhoods, in an apparent retaliation for the arrest of one of their fighters. According to Western intelligence officials, though, Sadr appears to have lost control of part of his militia, which has splintered off into freelance death squads. In fact, it remained unclear whether he had approved the Amarah uprising before it began. Witnesses said a message from Sadr was blared over loudspeakers from vehicles in Amarah October 20, 2006, calling on gunmen to lay down their weapons. The order was widely disregarded.[31]

On October 25, 2006 U.S. soldiers uncovered a book during a raid in the Washash neighborhood in Baghdad with information about the Shi‘ite militia affiliated to Muqtada al-Sadr, Mahdi Army had engaged in a systematic campaign of violence and intimidation to clear out Sunni residents in this town.[32]

On December 27, 2006 Muqtada al-Sadr's top aide, Saheb al-Amiri was killed in a raid by U.S. troops in the Shiite holy city of Najaf[33]

2007 Exile

On February 13, several sources in the US government claimed that Muqtada al-Sadr had left Iraq and fled to Iran in anticipation of the coming security crackdown.[34] US military spokesman Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell reinforced this account on February 14,[35] but a member of Iraq's parliament and an aide to al-Sadr have denied the claims.[34][36] Sami al-Askari, an adviser to Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki claims "as far as I know he is still in Iran" and "he's a very secretive man.".[37]

On March 30, it was reported that Sadr, through clerics speaking on his behalf, "delivered a searing speech ... condemning the American presence in Iraq ... [and] call[ing] for an anti-occupation mass protest on April 9...."[38] This call to protest was significant in that, since the beginning of the American troop surge (which began on February 14, 2007), Sadr had ordered his "militia to lie low during the new Baghdad security plan so as not to provoke a direct confrontation with the Americans."[38]

Muqtada al-Sadr urged the Iraqi army and police to stop cooperating with the United States and told his guerilla fighters to concentrate on pushing American forces out of the country, according to a statement issued Sunday, 8 April, 2007

The statement, stamped with al-Sadr's official seal, was distributed in the Shiite holy city of Najaf on Sunday 8-April, 2007 — a day before a large demonstration there, called for by al-Sadr, to mark the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad.

"You, the Iraqi army and police forces, don't walk alongside the occupiers, because they are your arch-enemy," the statement said.

On April 17, 2007, several ministers loyal to Al-Sadr left the Iraqi government. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki stated that the withdrawal of these ministers had not weakened his government and that he would name technocrats to replace them soon.[39]

Al-Sadr condemned construction of Azamiyah wall around a Sunni neighborhood in Baghdad, on April 25, 2007, by calling for demonstrations against the plan as a sign of "the evil will" of American "occupiers".[40]

Following fourteen weeks of hiding, on 25 May 2007 Al-Sadr reemerged. Driving in a long motorcade from Najaf to Kufa, Al-Sadr proceeded to deliver a sermon to an estimated 6000 followers in the main mosque. Reiterating his usual condemnation of the United States presence in Iraq, Al-Sadr's speech also contained calls for unity between Sunni and Shi'a. Many saw the speech as an effort to rein in his militia, which has broken into several factions since his departure. Several of these factions have been accused of violence against Sunnis.[41]

In June 2007, Muqtada al-Sadr vowed to go ahead with a planned march to the devastated Askariya shrine in central Iraq but insisted the goal was not to confront Sunnis who live along the way. Instead, al-Sadr said the march was aimed at bringing Shiites and Sunnis closer together and breaking down the barriers imposed by the Americans and Sunni religious extremists.[42]

Sadr's aides later admitted that Sadr had been in the Iranian city of Qom since 2007. They said that he was there to study, but refused to elaborate because, "it encourages our enemies". [43]

August 2007 Truce

In a statement issued August 29, 2007, Muqtada al-Sadr announced that an order to stand down for six months had been distributed to his loyalists following the deaths of more than 50 Shia Muslim pilgrims during sectarian fighting in the holy city of Karbala the day before. The statement issued by Sadr's office in Najaf said: "I direct the Mahdi army to suspend all its activities for six months until it is restructured in a way that helps honour the principles for which it is formed." The intention behind the ceasefire was thought in part to be to allow al-Sadr reassert control over the movement, which is thought to have splintered. "We call on all Sadrists to observe self-restraint, to help security forces control the situation and arrest the perpetrators and sedition mongers, and urge them to end all forms of armament in the sacred city," said the statement, referring to the August 28 clashes in Karbala. Asked if the unexpected order meant no attacks on American troops, as well as a ban on Shia infighting, a senior al-Sadr aide said: "All kinds of armed actions are to be frozen, without exception." [44]


The grass-roots cleric whose Mahdi Army militia has gained notoriety among coalition troops March 7, 2008 admitted many followers have split from his movement or do not heed his leadership.[45]

August 8, 2008 - Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ordered most of his militiamen to disarm but said Friday he will maintain elite fighting units to resist the Americans if a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops is not established. ... "Weapons are to be exclusively in the hands of one group, the resistance group," while another group called Momahidoun is to focus on social, religious and community work, Sadrist cleric Mudhafar al-Moussawi said.[47]


In response to Israeli attacks on Hamas in the Gaza strip, al-Sadr called for reprisals against U.S. troops in Iraq: "I call upon the honest Iraqi resistance to carry out revenge operations against the great accomplice of the Zionist enemy." A U.S. State Department spokesperson dismissed the statement as "outrageous and, frankly, not worthy of much more comment."[48]

On May 1, 2009 Al-Sadr paid a surprise visit to Ankara where, in his first public appearance for two years, he met with Turkish President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for talks which focused on the "political process"[49] and requested Turkey play a greater role in establishing stability in the Middle East. Spokesman Sheikh Salah al-Obeidi confirmed the nature of the talks that had been requested by Al-Sadr and stated, "Turkey is a good, old friend. Trusting that, we had no hesitation in traveling here."[50] After the meeting Al-Sadr visited supporters in Istanbul, where Al-Obeidi says they may open a representative office.


In a press conference on 6 March 2010 ahead of the Iraqi parliamentary election, 2010, Muqtada al-Sadr called on all Iraqis to participate in the election and support those who seek to expel U.S. troops out of the country. Al-Sadr warned that any interference by the United States will be unacceptable. Al-Sadr, who has thousands of staunch followers across Iraq has consistently opposed the presence of foreign forces and repeatedly called for an immediate end to the occupation of Iraq.[13][14]


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  5. ^ Samer Bazzi - The Lebanese Armageddon in the New Iraq
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  7. ^ Clip Transcript
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  13. ^ a b Iraqi Shia Leader Calls for US Withdrawal From Iraq
  14. ^ a b Sadr urges Iraqi voters to pave way for US pull-out
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  30. ^ Al-Sadr forces storm Shi'ite city:
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See also

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Hojatoleslam Muqtada al-Sadr (born 1974) is the son of Iraqi Shia cleric Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr and the leader of the al-Mahdi Army.



  • "I would like to address the peoples of the world, especially the Arab peoples and the US people. Their silence over the violations against the oppressed Iraqi people who suffered greatly cannot be accepted by any fair-minded and zealous person. Therefore, all must take these violations seriously and express themselves even through peaceful demonstrations, sit-ins and protests. I urge those people to distance themselves from their rulers who support the West and the occupation forces."
  • "Saddam is a war criminal and there are no two people who can argue over this."
  • I seek the spread of freedom and democracy in the way that satisfies God. [Americans] have planned and paved the ways for a long time, but it is God who is the real planner -- and the proof of this is the fall of the American twin towers[...]a miracle from God.

Blames U.S. for Iraq Woes

  • I renew my call for the occupier (the United States) to leave our land. The departure of the occupier will mean stability for Iraq, victory for Islam and peace and defeat for terrorism and infidels.


  • "There is no use for demonstrations, as your enemy loves to terrify and suppress opinions, and despises peoples."
  • "I ask you not to resort to demonstrations because they have become a losing card and we should seek other ways, terrorize your enemy, as we cannot remain silent over its violations."
  • "Americans use sick soldiers to spread disease inside the Iraqi society."
  • "[T]he departure of Saddam was supposed to be followed by freedom and democracy. It is not desirable that a small devil will go to be followed by a larger devil. The mistake is not the departure of Saddam but what came after him in terms of despotism and terrorism."
  • "From here I announce my solidarity with the genuine unity announced by Hezbollah general secretary Hassan Nasrallah with the mujahideen movement Hamas. Let them consider me their striking hand in Iraq whenever the need arises. As the martyr Sheikh Ahmed Yassin said, Iraq and Palestine have the same destiny."
  • "I will only negotiate with the Americans if their country says that it has come here to liberate us not to occupy us, as occupying a country is incompatible with the very principle of negotiations... We are not hostile to America, but we are the enemy of occupation... I only want a government based on freedom and rule by the people. Obviously, such a government will be an Islamic one."
  • "It is a constitution that forgets the fact that most of the country's inhabitants are Muslims, or that is written by irreligious or un-Islamic hands. It is an unacceptable constitution that forgets that the Shias are the majority in this country, or that is written by the hands of their enemies. A constitution that strips from Iraq its oriental character, religious faith, ethics and history is a mischievous constitution that is not worth the paper it is written on."
  • "There is no religion or religious law that punishes by beheading. True, they are your enemies and occupiers, but this does not justify cutting off their heads." - from a sermon criticizing a beheaded South Korean's captors
  • "I will remain in Najaf city until the last drop of my blood has been spilled."


  • He is somebody who has fought against the occupying forces," says Abdul Salam al-Kubaisi, spokesman for the Association of Muslim Scholars, the leading Sunni clerical body. "All other Shi'ite leaders are seen [by Iraq's Sunnis] as collaborators because they cooperate with the Americans.
  • Others contend that Sadr, working on a longer time scale than the Americans, is just lying low until the United States draws down its troops and declares its combat role concluded in Iraq. Then, this analysis continues, Sadr can launch the civil war he wants. "The reason I am distrustful of Sadr is that we know that in private conversations, he has said, 'There are two million who must die,'" said an Army officer who served in a key position in Iraq. This wasn't hearsay, he said, indicating that it came from an intercept of communications.
    • Source: The Gamble by Thomas Ricks, page 320, ISBN 978-1-59420-197-4.

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