Shi'a leaders call for religious state

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February 7, 2005


Iraq – With a strong lead in a pre-weekend partial report, Shi'a leaders have begun making known their interests in a Shiite Prime Minister. Others have spoken of the negotiations for the constitution. Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Ishaq al-Fayad is quoted saying the separation of religion and state must be "completely rejected."

"All of the Ulema (clergy) and Marja, and the majority of the Iraqi people, want the National Assembly to make Islam the source of legislation in the permanent constitution and to reject any law that is contrary to Islam," he said in his statement.

Vice President Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld spent the weekend on television shows and interviews assuring the U.S. public the Iraqi elections would not result in a theocracy for the country.

"We have a great deal of confidence in where they're headed," Mr. Cheney said on Fox News Sunday. "I don't think, at this stage, that there's anything like justification for hand-wringing or concern on the part of Americans that somehow they're going to produce a result we won't like."

The violence of the insurgency, however, has returned after a brief lull following the elections whose final returns are expected in the coming week.

  • 14 insurgents, 22 Iraqi police officers and soldiers were killed in an attack on a police station south of Baghdad.
  • Four Egyptian telecom engineers were abducted.
  • One U.S. soldier was killed and two injured by a roadside bomb north of Baghdad.
  • One U.S. marine was killed south of Baghdad on Saturday.
  • In a rocket attack, 2 missiles exploded near the Baghdad Airport, while a third struck an Iraqi National Guard building; no casualties were reported.
  • On Friday, an Italian jounalist was abducted near Baghdad University.