Skip to main content.
A non-profit service providing academics, religion professionals and other researchers with religion & cult news

Religion news articles about religious cults, sects, world religions, and related issues

Home | About RNB Related: Cult FAQ | Cult Experts | Apologetics Index | Cult Information Search Engine
More articles about: Islam:

Iraq’s clerics divided on role • Wednesday May 7, 2003

BBC, May 6, 2003
By Sadeq Saba, BBC regional analyst

Since the fall of Saddam Hussein, hundreds of Iraqi Shia clerics have been returning home from neighbouring Iran.

Most of them fled their country to escape the Iraqi regime’s policy of suppressing its Shia population.

The return of these clerics to their communities in the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala could to some extent influence the kind of government Iraqi Shia are seeking in their country.

The United States has accused Iran of sending agents into Iraq to promote an Iranian-style theocracy, but most Iraqi Shia clerics are advocating a separation of religion and state.

Political ‘interference’

Like other Shia followers around the world, Iraqi Shia clerics returning home from Iran are divided on the crucial question of how far Islam should enter politics.

Some of them who have been closer to the conservative faction in the Iranian leadership support an Iranian-style theocracy led by clerics.

But sources close to the Iraqi community in the Iranian holy city of Qom say that the majority of Iraqi clerics in the city object to the interference of clerics in politics.

Living in Iran has given them a chance to see at first hand the shortcomings of political Islam.

There is now a general belief among many Shia scholars that the challenge faced by Islam in Iran to solve political and economic problems has undermined the faith.

Iranian challenge

Iraqi clerics are also returning to Shia centres in their country like Najaf where the dominant thinking has been to keep religion separate from the state.

Iraq’s most prominent Shia cleric, Ayatollah Sistani, believes that religious leaders should not enter politics.

Despite American warnings that Iran is promoting a religious state in Iraq, this kind of moderate Islam could harm the ruling clergy in Iran.

The centre of Shia Islam shifted from Najaf to Qom after the ayatollahs seized power in Iran and Saddam Hussein began to suppress Iraqi Shia leaders.

Iranian hardliners are now concerned that the return of Iraqi clerics to their country and the revival of the holy city of Najaf may pose a threat to their rule in Iran.

info Original content is © Copyright Religion News Blog. All rights reserved.
    Do not republish or repost. Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

share this article Share this article

tag Related Articles

arrow Tags:
arrow Topic(s): Islam

Comment Comment

Join Religion News Blog at Google+ to comment, share, and follow.

RSS Feed Follow Us


Religion News You May Like This As Well

Why are you not using Nozbe?

Don't you need to get things done?

Religion News Search Search Religion News Blog