Det er en his­to­rie som gir håp for frem­ti­den. Fal­lu­jahs mest anser­kjente reli­giøse over­hode sto frem og ba folk stemme 15. desem­ber, til tross for mange døds­trus­ler. Da han ikke “lyst­ret”, ble han meid ned av mas­kerte menn i en sølv­grå BMW – Zarqa­wis menn.

Nå vil befolk­nin­gen i Fal­lu­jah delta i pro­test, og gå mann av huse valg­da­gen.

THE grand mufti of Fal­luja, Sheikh Hamza Abbas al-Issawi, knew he was ris­king his life by urging worship­pers to vote in Iraq’s elections this week and by preaching against ter­ro­rist vio­lence.
Refu­sing to be inti­mi­dated, he inten­si­fied his rhe­to­ric after rece­i­ving death threats from radi­cal Isla­mists for cri­ti­ci­sing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the lea­der of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. He chal­len­ged his sha­dowy ene­mies by decla­ring at pray­ers: “I know I am targe­ted.”

Death came to the 70-year-old grand mufti 12 days ago, when he was gun­ned down in front of his teenage son by three mas­ked men in a sil­ver BMW. Many inha­bi­tants of Iraq’s “city of mos­ques” intend to honour his memory by cas­ting their bal­lots on Decem­ber 15. 

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Issawi was an influ­en­tial scholar who cas­ti­ga­ted mili­tants loyal to Zarqawi for “un-Isla­mic beha­viour” and bla­med them for pro­vo­king last year’s Ame­ri­can mili­tary offen­sive against the city. He also encoura­ged local Sun­nis to enrol in the police and mili­tary, fea­ring they could be needed to defend Fal­luja in a future secta­rian war. 

Despite advice from fri­ends and family not to attend dawn and evening pray­ers, Issawi insis­ted he was a man of God who would not be cowed. “He belie­ved that Allah pro­tected people and not body­guards,” a close fri­end said. 

Mur­der of man of peace inspi­res a voters’ revolt

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