Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Bombing of Shi'ite Shrine In Iraq Is BAD NEWS

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One of the most sacred sites for Shi'ite Muslims was attacked and severely damaged today by well-trained bombers dressed as Iraqi police. The al-Askariya shrine, also known as the Golden Mosque, contains the tombs of two revered Shiite imams, who are considered by Shiites to be among the successors of the Prophet Muhammad. The shrine is located in Sunni dominated Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad.

The attack is believed to have been an attempt to force and Iraqi civil war between Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims. Although several of the attackers are reported to have been captured it is not yet publicly known who they represent.

This is, perhaps, the single most serious incident to have occurred in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein and his ruling Baathist government. For Shi'ites it is nearly the equivalent of a Protestant terrorist bombing of the Roman Catholic St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome.

The shrine's association with the "hidden" 12th Imam (who will return as the Mahdi or Shi'ite Messiah at the end of history) has near-apocalyptic associations for many Muslims. Iran, which is overwhelmingly Shi'ite, has already condemned the bombing by holding the United States and Zionist plotters responsible. Since the currant Iranian President believes that these are, indeed, the "end times" this attack will only serve to fuel his missionary zeal to carry out his own form of Jihad against the non-Muslim world in general and Israel in particular. Would he use the nuclear bomb Iran is committed to produce? The fact that this question cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or "no" is ample evidence of the seriousness of today's bombing and its effect on radical Muslims of all flavors.

Whoever you are, please pray that this tragic event will somehow serve to unite the Iraqi people rather than divide them. Pray that both Sunni and Shi'ite will be so outraged that they will turn, not against each other, but against both the Iraqi "insurgents" and the "foreign" elements of al-Qaeda in Iraq headed up by Zarqawi

I have long said that the current Islamist crisis can ultimately only be cut off and subdued by more moderate Muslims holding both influence, respect and real power. I am praying that this vicious and evil act will return to those who ordered it as a curse leading to their destruction and eradication from Iraq.

The shrine will be rebuilt but today it is not certain that Iraq, as a unified nation, will remain standing.

Good insight on today's attack can be found at Iraq the Model, Bill Roggio and Andrew Sullivan (who has a tear-inducing link to a Time photo essay on the bombing)