Friday, May 28, 2004

Iraq: can sovereignty guarantee security?

Date: Friday 28 May 2004
Subj: Iraq: can sovereignty guarantee security?
To: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis
From: WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal.


Reports of intimidation and violence indicate that the situation is deteriorating for non-Muslims in Iraq's hot spots. When these concerns are expressed, the response is invariably that sovereignty is the key to security in Iraq. Yet in Fallujah, where US troops have withdrawn and control has been handed to Iraqi forces, religious minorities appear to be more at risk than ever as the town descends into a Taliban-style Islamic mini-state. This leads us to ask, "Security for whom?"

If the US and allied troops are going to withdraw and evacuate before they can guarantee the security and future of the non-Muslim population of Iraq, then they should take the vulnerable religious minorities with them. Refuge should then be provided in America and its allied nations.

This scenario is of course not what the Iraqi religious minorities want. They want security in their homeland, the homeland of their ancestors and their immense history.


The Sabian Mandaean Association of Australia (SMAA) is receiving regular reports of kidnappings and murders of Mandaeans (who follow the teachings and practice of John the Baptist).

On Friday 21 May it was reported to the SMAA: "Two more Mandaean children have been kidnapped by Muslims in Iraq. Mohand Wasfi Hnadi aged 15 years, was kidnapped by Muslims in Basra 14 days ago. Osama Ashor Hwail aged 12 years, was kidnapped by Muslims in Basra 4 days ago. There are fears that they may have been forcibly circumcised and forcibly converted to Islam."

On Friday 21 May the SMAA was informed that a young Mandaean man aged 22 years, was killed two days earlier in Baghdad by members of Al-Sadr's "Mehdi Army". He was the only son of his parents.

On 25 May the SMAA was informed of the kidnapping of a female Mandaean college student, close to her house the Zayoona area, as she was returning home from her final exams. Her parents were contacted to pay one million dollars for her safety.

These kidnapping reports are frequent and in most cases the victims are not heard of again - they simply "disappear". According to the SMAA this has particularly been the case in respect with women and girls who have been kidnapped by Muslims.

The SMAA is also receiving reports of Mandaeans being intimidated and terrorised and of Muslims seizing the opportunity to repudiate debts owed to Mandaeans. Of course the Mandaean creditors have no remedy and no redress.

The SMAA understand that considerable numbers of Mandaeans have now fled from Iraq and more are now preparing to flee.


On 25 May, the SMAA received confirmation that the Mandaean Church (Mandi) in Baghdad had received a letter demanding that the Mandaeans take part in the Muslims' attacks upon the Americans with the threat of reprisals by the Muslims if the Mandaeans fail to do so.

Assyrian Christians have also received threatening letters telling them to support Muslim rebellion and practise Islam or suffer the consequences. One such letter was passed to Assyrian Christian News. Both the scanned Arabic hand written letter and an English translation can be found at <>.

The recipients of this letter are told to stand with the "'Brothers of Muslims' group" and follow the Muslims' basic rules of wearing the Islamic veil and following Islamic teaching. If the recipients do not submit and comply, then it is threatened that they will be raped, tortured, killed, kidnapped, or have their house, along with their family, burned or "exploded".

The letter is signed in Persian, from the "Islamic troops of Bader in Najaf, Tehran - The Islamic Campaign".

The SMAA comments that the letter to the Assyrian Christians reads very much like the letter sent to the Mandaean Mandi.

This appears to be an orchestrated campaign of jihad, to fully Islamise the community.


US troops withdrew from Fallujah in early May under an agreement that ended a three-week siege. They were replaced by local Iraqi police and Fallujah was placed under the control of a new Iraqi military force, the Fallujah Brigade, led by Lt. Gen. Salah Abboud al-Jabouri, a former officer in Saddam Hussein Republican Guard, and a native of Fallujah.

Hamza Hendawi reports for the Associated Press, "With U.S. Marines gone and central government authority virtually nonexistent, Fallujah resembles an Islamic mini-state." Hendawi's report on Fallujah is chilling. (Link 1)

As Hendawi notes, "Under the agreement, the Marines handed security in the city to a new Fallujah Brigade made up largely of local residents and commanded by officers of Saddam Hussein's former army.

"With the departure of the Marines, the position of the U.S.-appointed civil administration has been weakened in favor of the clerics and the mujahedeen who resisted the U.S. occupation. That is a pattern that could be repeated elsewhere in Iraq after the occupation ends June 30, unless other legitimate leaders come forward to replace those tainted by association with the occupation."

Hendawi reports from Fallujah, "On Sunday, for example, scores of masked mujahedeen, shouting 'Allahu Akbar,' or 'God is Great,' paraded four men stripped down to their underpants atop the back of a pickup that drove through the city. Their bare backs were bleeding from 80 lashes they had received as punishment for selling alcohol. They were taken to a hospital where they were treated and released.

"On Tuesday, the mujahedeen expanded their 'cleanup' campaign. About 80 masked, armed men, accompanied by local police, forced hundreds of street hawkers at gunpoint to clear out from the streets and confine their businesses to designated areas.

"According to residents, barbers have been instructed not to give 'Western' haircuts - short on the back and sides and full on top - or to remove facial hair."


Considering the influence Iraq's senior Shi'a cleric Grand Ayatollah Al-Sistani is likely to have in the new Iraq, it might be advisable for everyone to familiarise themselves with his website.

Under "Islamic laws" -- under "Najis things", Sistani gives a list of those things Muslims are to consider najis (unclean). Sistani says, "The following ten things are essentially najis: Urine, Faeces, Semen, Dead body, Blood, Dog, Pig, Kafir, Alcoholic liquors, The sweat of an animal who persistently eats najasat."

Sistani's definition of "Kafir": "An infidel i.e. a person who does not believe in Allah and His Oneness, is najis... similar is the case of those who deny Prophethood, or any of the necessary laws of Islam... The entire body of a Kafir, including his hair and nails, and all liquid substances of his body, are najis. As regards the People of the Book (i.e. the Jews and the Christians) who do not accept the Prophethood of Prophet Muhammad bin Abdullah (Peace be upon him and his progeny), they are commonly considered najis, but it is not improbable that they are Pak [clean]. However, it is better to avoid them."

It must be noted though, that in spite of being najis (unclean), kafir (infidels) may be used for the purpose of temporary marriage (marriage for a set period of time i.e. half an hour, in exchange for payment).

In other words, according to Al-Sistani, Mandaeans and Christians are confirmed and condemned as filth and good for nothing but prostitution.

- Elizabeth Kendal


1) Fallujah slides toward Islamic state
By Hamza Hendawi. The Associated Press.
Fallujah, Iraq. 26 May 2004