Before now poetry has taken notice
Of wars, and what are wars but politics
Transformed from chronic to acute and bloody?
from "Build Soil"
Robert Frost

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Iraq Gov. Moves Against AMS

Representatives of the Government of Iraq entered a mosque in Baghdad today to close the offices and shut down the radio station of the Association of Muslim Scholars- a Sunni religious network often seen as supporting or affiliated with some of the more radical elements of the Sunni insurgency, including elements of al-Qaeda.

Aswat al-Iraq (Voices of Iraq) has the story-

Baghdad, Nov 14, (VOI) - The Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS) said on Wednesday that the government's Sunni Awqaf (endowments) department closed the association's head-office at Um al-Qura mosque in western Baghdad and ceased its radio broadcast.

"A force sent by the head of the Sunni Awqaf department Ahmed Abdel Ghafour al-Samarrae forced employees of the Muslim Scholars Association to leave its headquarters at Um al-Qura mosque and to cease its radio broadcast under orders from al-Samarrae," the association said in a press release published on its official Web site.

The history of AMS and its leadership is somewhat long and complex-

The Association of Muslim Scholars was formed just after the invasion of Iraq as a religious group concerned with representing Sunnis in Iraq. As such, the ASM oversaw thousands of Sunni mosques, and hundreds of thousands of worshippers.

The AMS started out non-violently opposed to the war and the occupation of Iraq, but quickly became an encouraging mouthpiece for many elements of the Sunni insurgency. Official AMS releases indirectly encouraged the insurgency, while Sunni Imans within the association sent many young men to fight without directly telling them to wage jihad. AMS condemned the siege of Falluja in late 2004, and used their network of Sunni mosques to gather and funnel water and food into the city before the battle in November 2004.

AMS continued to occasionally speak out against the worst crimes perpetuated against the people of Iraq, including admonitions to al-Zarqawi to limit his killing of Shi'a after the bombing of Samarra's Golden Mosque. In doing so, AMS continued to walk the fine line between encouraging the insurgency and alienating fellow Iraqis.

Late in 2006, the leader of AMS, Harish al-Dhari, fled to Jordan in advance of a warrant issued for his arrest by the Government of Iraq. He continued to speak out against the GoI and the newly-formed Anbar Awakening Council of sheiks co-operating with coalition forces and the Iraqi government.

He recently responded to questions about splits within the AMS in an interview with the Iraq News Network:
About your question of AMSI split, I answer that there is no such split as some thinks. There are two figures of our consultation council who have joined the new Council of Iraqi Scholars that recently installed. ...
AMSI is more tied [tight?] than ever from the point view of all aspects.
The Council of Iraqi Scholars was formed earlier this year in response to a call from the Sunni waqf to stop sectarian violence and promote national reconciliation. Some of the scholars call for "legal ways and means to end the occupation"- a long step from insurgency, while Sheikh Ahmad Abdul Ghafour Al Samarrae says that all Iraqis must work to promote moderation and counter the takfiri. Takfiri is the radical, messianic branch of Islam that calls for war against all non-Muslims while at the same time laying the groundwork for fundamental Islamic rule- in short, al-Qaeda and similar groups. Sheikh Ahmad Abdul Ghafour Al Samarrae is also the head of the Sunni waqf and the man who ordered the closure of the AMS offices and radio station today.

13 comments:

  1. TD, Here's a transcript of a speech AMS boss Suleiman Harith Al-Dhari gave in Fallujah in March, 04, eleven days before the four Blackwater guards were murdered, their bodies torched and strung up there.

    Clearly, implicit incitement to armed jihad.

    Qatar: Al-Jazirah Satellite Channel Television in Arabic 1505 GMT 19 Mar 04

    [Announcer-read report over video] Dr Harith al-Dari, secretary general of the Iraqi Muslim Ulema Council, has called for the continuation of all forms of resistance against the occupation until the liberation of Iraq. This came in a speech following a mass prayer in Al-Fallujah city.

    [Begin Al-Dari recording] We hope that resistance, with all forms and directions, will escalate in the next year, the year of liberation, with the help and grace of God. Your brothers in all of Iraq now know that the occupation has not come for the sake of anybody or in order to help any side against the other side. Rather, it came to achieve its own ambitions and schemes. The occupation intends to stay in our country and even set up military bases, as propagated by the occupation and its agents, who know that their existence is contingent on that of the occupation. I hope that your resistance will escalate through words, actions, prayers, demonstrations, protests, and other forms. I also hope that all our brothers in the homeland will wake up and rise up to join their brothers in resisting the occupying to expedite its departure, God willing. [end recording] [Video shows Al-Dari addressing worshippers]


    Also, Abdul Ghafur al-Samarrai is a former AMS member and junior imam at Shaykh Dhari's mosque who, when he was a bad guy, accused US snipers of firing at women, ambulances, old men, and children.

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  2. "The AMS, which claims to control more than 3,000 Sunni mosques across Iraq, consists mainly of Muslim Brotherhood (MB) theologians who have all along been close to both Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime and Qutubist Salafis. They had been close to all the previous Sunni regimes in Iraq."

    Sorry, lost the link. Will repost if I find it.

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  3. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 11/15/2007 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

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  4. Yeah Al-Jazeera loves these AMS guys and frequently gives them press time. After they got booted by the Sunni Endowment, they were crying about how they broke their furniture. These clowns are always making trouble, since after coalition airstrikes they're condemning "civilian deaths by the occupier". I guess if shooting an AK-47 at helicopters in the middle of the night qualifies you as a civilian, perhaps they're right. Anyways, I say to hell with AMS, some folks you just can't reconcile.

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