So Moqtada al-Sadr is back from Iran and is now saying he organizing a march to Samarra on the birthday of Fatima az-Zahra, the daughter of Prophet Muhammad and wife of Imam Ali. This is a stupid idea.
Samarra is of course where the Askariya shrine is, resting place of Imam Ali al-Hadi and Imam Hassan al-Askari. Even though it has a holy site for the Shi’a most people in Samarra and near the city are Sunnis. There was before another march and this reminds me of summer in 2004 when all of Iraq was looking at Najaf because Moqtada and his Mahdi Army went to Najaf and fought the Americans and decided make the shrine of Imam Ali as their military base. Sayyid Sistani came back and called for march to Najaf and no attack on the holy site of Imam Ali. I think Moqtada should remember that Sayyid Sistani called for a march to prevent the mistakes of Moqtada from bringing more destruction to the holy city and holy shrine. Actually I do remember that entire week and I was watching television and being confused and scared as the holy city was a battle site and I was also scared that the shrine would be attacked. Because of a strong and brave man Sayyid Sistani it did not happen, because he left his hospital room to save the shrine and help the people. Also you maybe remember that Sayyid Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim also supported the march, which was the call of Sayyid Sistani.
Now Moqtada is calling for a different march, which will have people go to Samarra. Samarra and also the places near it north from Baghdad. Even though Moqtada says all people should go, I think we know that mostly Shi’a will go. So many innocent Shi’a who do care about the holy shrine of the two Imams in Samarra will be in very dangerous places walking, and open to attacks. Also, it is said that the march will be protected by Moqtada men. Of course, no one wants the Mahdi Army men of Moqtada to come to their area and the Sunni people north from Baghdad will not want them and they will know that last time after the Samarra attack in last year (February) these men killed many innocent Sunnis. The Sunnis are going to be angry about this march. Samarra is dangerous and even visitors from Iran who come to Iraq to visit shrines in Najaf and Karbala are ordered not to make visits to Samarra. I know that before one bus with Iranians came to visit Samarra and they disappeared.
So we have differences – Sayyid Sistani’s march to save people and holy sites and try to end mistakes of Moqtada, and now Moqtada’s march which is a bad idea. I do want peace for all Iraqis and also the holy shrines need to be protected. Marching innocent people into dangerous areas is not help. Instead special protection force of honest good people, I hope they can find some, who want to protect the holy sites of the Imams should be trained and helped a lot to do this. I hope that the terrorists will be stopped and then everyone can visit all of the sites if they are Shi’ite or Sunni or visitor from Iran or anywhere, but now this is not how it is.