Friday, May 4, 2007
Iraqi Shiites Protest Al-Jazeera
"BAGHDAD -- Hundreds of angry Shiites poured onto the streets of two cities south of the Iraqi capital Friday to protest what they considered insults by Al-Jazeera television against Iraq's most revered Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.
The protesters were angered by an Al-Jazeera talk show this week in which the presenter questioned al-Sistani's leadership credentials.....
"Today, we burn down Al-Jazeera," chanted the protesters who carried portraits of al-Sistani. Others demanded that the channel as well as Qatar be sued. One Najaf protester carried several pictures of Qatar's emir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, with a shoe hoisted on the images to show contempt for him.....
The furor over the perceived insults against al-Sistani in "Without Borders," one of the channel's flagship programs, underlined the esteem in which the majority Shiites hold their clergy and showcased the sensitivity attached to the question of whether al-Sistani is meddling in politics or simply offering broad guidelines at a crucial time in the country's history.
There was no comment from al-Sistani, who does not grant media interviews, rarely appears in public and communicates his views in edicts, or fatwas. But his representative in the holy city of Karbala told worshippers there Friday that Al-Jazeera was trying to drive a wedge between al-Sistani and his followers by suggesting that the cleric supports foreign occupation....."
"....by suggesting that the cleric supports foreign occupation."
If the shoe fits, wear it!