Sadr Followers Target Assyrian School Girls in Baghdad
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Baghdad (AINA) -- Followers of Moqtada al-Sadr have issued a fatwa1 concerning school girls, according to an Assyrian priest in Baghdad. The fatwa requires all girls to wear the veil while attending school. In an unusual twist of logic, the fatwa implies that failure to wear the veil would be tantamount on the girls' part to complicity in the death of the Imam Husayn ibn Ali (killed in 680 A.D. in Karbala in a battle with the army of the Caliphate.)

The priest indicated the fatwa was at least for the New Baghdad neighborhood, where many Christians live, and that he feared for the safety of the Christian girls in the area.

The fatwa appears to be an attempt by Sadr and his followers to establish a Taliban style Islamic theocracy in Iraq. According to an article in the Middle East Journal, "Muqtada called on May 2 [2003] for strict Islamic law to be applied to Iraq's Christians, as well, including the prohibition on bars and on allowing women to appear unveiled. This ruling appears to be a restatement of one of his father's fatwas, but this time the al-Sadr family had the authority to make it stick in some parts of Iraq. In contrast, Grand Ayatollah Sistani issued a statement saying that the Najaf establishment had not called for forcible veiling."

Editor's note: AINA has withheld the name of the priest to ensure his safety.

1A fatwa is a Muslim pronouncement on a specific issue, issued by a Muslim cleric.

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