Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Rebuilding the Mosques in Iraq

Askariya Before the Bombing

The bombing on February 22 of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, Iraq was a purposefully outrageous act, in the original sense that it deliberately provoked outrage.

CNN tells us this of the 1,200-year-old Askariya shrine:
# The Golden Mosque is one of the four major Shiite shrines in Iraq. The other major sites are in Najaf, Kerbala and the Baghdad district of Kadhimiya.

# Two of the 12 revered Shiite Imams are buried in the shrine. Imam Ali al-Hadi, who died in 868 AD and his son, the 11th Imam Hasan al-Askari, who died in 874 A.D.
The Golden Mosque was a beautiful building because a community of believers saw it as a symbol of their faith. It commemorated two men who were not only directly descended from the Prophet, but who were great leaders of their faith.

Retaliation lead to retaliation, and the process included more purposefully outrageous acts, including the desecration of many other mosques. More and more people have been outraged.

According to Relief Web,
The Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General in Iraq Mr. Ashraf Qazi, confirmed on Monday, UN/UNESCO support to the Iraqi initiative to rebuild the Shrine of Imam Ali Al-Hadi and other damaged religious sites.
He indicated that the UN, through its Iraq trust fund and UNESCO with its technical expertise, are ready to assist in rebuilding the damaged complex.

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad and General George Casey, the commander of the coalition troops in Iraq, said,
Given the historic, cultural, and religious importance of this shrine, this attack is a crime against humanity. The Shrine should be rebuilt and the United States will contribute to its reconstruction.
Michael Southwick, a member of the Americans for UNESCO Board of Directors, stated:
I think it would be great if some American would spearhead a widely publicized effort to collect contributions here from Muslim and non-Muslim American alike.
I agree that it would be great if the American public were to raise money to rebuild the mosques that have been destroyed, Sunni and Shiite alike. Indeed, given the separation of church and state in this country, I think it would be better done through private philanthropy than through public funds. And I think Americans of all faiths would be willing to donate to show their support for the people of Iraq.
Askariya After the Bombing

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