Sunday, January 04, 2004
Winning the Hearts and Minds
Meanwhile back in Iraq, US troops sacked a mosque. The Weekend Australian ( "Mosque raid fires backlash", 1/04/04) reports
The raid by US troops of the Ibn Taymiyyah mosque led to protests in Baghdad.
Brig. General Kimmitt said soldiers seized explosives, guns and ammunition and 32 people believed to be non-Iraqi Arabs "based on their dialect".
The military says foreign Islamic militants opposed to the occupation have infiltrated from neighbouring borders.
"Over the last several months, the 1st Armoured Division in Baghdad has received many reports from local Iraqis that the mosque had been used for criminal and terrorist activities," he said.
"The mosque was believed to have been a hub of anti-coalition and anti-Iraqi activities, with various cells using the mosque as a meeting location and weapons cache."
But the raid prompted an immediate backlash, with more than 1000 worshippers spilling on to the streets to vent their anger.
"American soldiers entered the mosque with their shoes on and with machineguns in their hands," the imam, Abdulsatar al-Janabi, said, adding the raid had lasted five hours.
"They trampled on the holy Koran, beat up some of the worshippers and stole computers and a donations box."
Others claimed that a page was torn from the Koran.
Protesters screamed and cried: "God is great" and "America is the enemy of God."
I hope I never get seized based on my dialect.