[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 5 April, 2003, 14:52 GMT 15:52 UK
Imams concerned for Shia holy sites
Chairman of Iran's Expediency Council,  Akbar Hashemi Rasanjani
Rafsanjani warns of revenge

Muslim clerics in Iran and Lebanon have issued strong warnings against the possible consequences if US-led forces damage Shia holy sites in Najaf and Karbala.

Elsewhere in the Muslim world, Friday prayer imams told worshippers that Islam's "enemies" were trying to marginalise their religion.

Chairman of Iran's Expediency Council, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, told worshippers in Tehran that "the Americans may damage shrines, but for every brick suffering damage there, more damage will be inflicted on the White House."

"I warn the White House and Britain lest they should become too proud to lose control here and damage the Shia sanctities in Iraq," he said.

We strongly warn the American and British forces...against attacking the Islamic holy sites.
Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah

"Should such a thing happen, the people would never forgive you and will take their revenge at an appropriate opportunity in future."

Lebanon's Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah echoed the sentiment, saying "we strongly warn the American and British forces, which are causing a tragedy in the region with their military, political and economic massacres against attacking the Islamic holy sites."

"We call on Muslims, and all free people in the world, to strongly stand against this crime", he said.

'Infidel media lies'

In Baghdad itself, Friday prayer Imam Sheikh Abdul Khafoor al-Qaisi, holding a rifle, told worshippers not to "believe the media of the infidels because they are telling lies."

"The city's main airport had not fallen", he said, claiming that "they [US troops] landed at Saddam airport but they were defeated and have left behind their casualties and destroyed weapons."

They are trying to tame the Islamic world into subservience to western life.
Imam Abd Al Hadi Al-Duri

"The war is a propaganda war and the Americans have assigned several liars and tyrants to serve their propaganda machine," he said.

Yemeni Friday prayer Imam, Ahmad al-Razzaq al-Ruqayh, condemned the attack on Baghdad, describing it as "illegitimate, unjustified and beyond all moral boundaries." He called on all Muslims to stand united to defend themselves, their countries and their creed, and support the people of Iraq.

Muslims seen as 'target'

In Tripoli, Libya, Imam Abd Al Hadi Al-Duri said the "terrible events" in Baghdad made his heart bleed. "Baghdad wakes up to see coffins, funerals, destroyed homes, violated mosques... These events constitute an appeal to Muslims for help and mobilisation, a cry for help, and the question is: Is there anyone there to help"? he asked.

"O Muslims, the enemies of the Islamic religion, from amongst Jews and Christians, are sparing nothing in planning for the exclusion of Islam from daily life; they are trying to marginalise, contain and rein in Islam, and to tame the Islamic world into subservience to western life."

In Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Ali al-Hureiji also spoke against the Iraq war, saying "we, Muslims, call for its immediate halt and we denounce it strongly... it's a war of aggression that has killed children, old men and women and aims at destroying the people of Iraq and the control of its natural resources."

The Americans are attacking our Iraqi brothers to save the dollar and their economy.
Mohamed Khattabi
Imam in Nimes, France

Moroccan Friday prayer Imam told worshippers: "Brother believers, what is now clear is that Muslims are today a target, their creed, their identity, their resources and even their existence are targets."

Boycott call

The Friday imam of a mosque in southern France urged the Muslims to boycott American goods as a protest against the war in Iraq.

"Don't buy American products. If you save a euro, you save the life of an Iraqi," Mohamed Khattabi told worshippers in Nimes.

"American strength comes from its economic strength. The Americans are attacking our Iraqi brothers to save the dollar and their economy," he concluded

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

Friday prayers Jihad calls
29 Mar 03  |  Middle East


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific