Iraq: Sadrist cleric issues edict against security pact with US

Qom, 21 Oct. (AKI) - Ayatollah Seyyed Kazem al Hosseini al-Haeri, the Iraqi cleric said to be the spiritual mentor of radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, has issued a fatwa against a security pact with the United States that would keep US troops in Iraq until 2011. In a fatwa or religious edict, al-Haeri said the planned pact contravenes Islamic law.

Citing verses 89 and 90 of a sura in the Koran dedicated to Mary, al-Haeri said that a pact between Iraq and the US would be against the laws of Allah.

"Whoever signs this accord or helps the Americans invade will commit a sin that Allah will never forgive," he said.

The draft pact, which was made public last week, must still be ratified by the 275-seat Iraqi parliament. The current US mandate is due to expire on 31 December 2008.

Protests led by radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr over the pact attracted thousands of people to the streets of Baghdad on Sunday.

Al-Haeri, who has lived in Iran's holy Shia city of Qom for over 30 years, does not have many supporters in Iraq, with the exception of al-Sadr's followers. Most Shias revere Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Ali al-Sistani.


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