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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 June, 2004, 15:23 GMT 16:23 UK
Who's who in Iraq: Sunni groups
About a third of Iraq's population are Sunni Muslims. This includes Kurds and Sunni Arabs. Two main religious groups have emerged in post-Saddam Iraq representing Sunni Muslims.

IRAQI ISLAMIC PARTY

The Iraqi Islamic Party has emerged as a strong force in the largely Sunni province of al-Anbar, west of Baghdad, where it holds a majority of seats on the provincial council.

It is the Iraqi branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, a moderate Sunni Islamic party that is well established in the Middle East.

The party's leader, Mohsen Abdel Hamid, is a member of the Iraqi Governing Council and a prolific author on the Koran.

As a Sunni party, the Iraqi Islamic Party played a significant role in negotiating an end to the siege in the Sunni town of Falluja, which saw bloody battles between insurgents and US marines in April 2004.

MUSLIM SCHOLARS' ASSOCIATION

The Muslim Scholars' Association is an organisation of Sunni Muslim scholars, which although not a political party is becoming increasingly influential.

Since the fall of Saddam Hussein it has begun administering a sizeable charitable fund set up for the upkeep of religious buildings.

Its leader, Sheikh Harith Sulayman al-Dhari, is the head of a Sunni tribe from the west of Baghdad and a former professor of Islamic Law at Baghdad University.

Several other figures on the commission are linked to a major Baghdad mosque.

The group strongly rejected the Iraqi Governing Council, but has also condemned atrocities by insurgents, such as the beheading of a US contractor.

The Muslim Scholars' Council has been involved in negotiations over Western hostages and to end the fighting in Falluja, as well as, along with the Iraqi Islamic Party, arranging aid convoys into the city when it was under siege.

Two prominent clerics belonging to the group were shot dead in Baghdad in September 2004.


The Struggle for Iraq

GUIDE: WHO'S WHO IN IRAQ

Jalal Talabani Overview
A look at the key players in post-Saddam Iraq

TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT


ISLAMIC GROUPS AND LEADERS
 

SECULAR GROUPS AND LEADERS
 

NATIONAL GROUPS
 



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