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Shiite Pilgrims Pray For Safety From “Violence”

From those defenders of the faith at Reuters:

Pilgrims flood Baghdad, pray for safety

By Peter Graff

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of Shi’ite pilgrims made their way on foot to a shrine in the north of Baghdad on Thursday, praying for safety at an annual rite marred by violence for the past two years.

Pilgrims waved flags, chanted and beat their chests in a traditional Shi’ite gesture of ritual mourning. Others carried the symbolic green coffin of Imam Musa Kadhim, a Shi’ite martyr imprisoned and poisoned in Baghdad 1,200 years ago…

“Of course, I am afraid. But God willing I will come home safe,” said Um Khaled, a woman in black traditional robes. “I have made this pilgrimage every year, it will not stop me,” she said of the threat of violence…

Two years ago, nearly 1,000 pilgrims were killed in a stampede on a bridge near the shrine sparked by rumors of a suicide bomber, the single most deadly incident since the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Last year, gunmen, some on rooftops, ambushed pilgrims on the way to the shrine, killing 20 and wounding 300…

Some in costumes along the way re-enacted passion plays of the poisoning of Kadhim, known to Shi’ites for restraining his anger. At the shrine itself, huge crowds clambered to enter the sprawling grounds and kiss the imam’s tomb…

The annual pilgrimage, in honor of one of the 12 imams revered by Shi’ites, has attracted a million people or more since the fall of Saddam, a Sunni Arab who repressed Shi’ites.

In 2005, pilgrims crossing a bridge between the shrine and the mainly Sunni Arab neighborhood across the Tigris were suddenly engulfed by panic triggered by rumors of an attack. Nearly 1,000 died, clogging the Tigris with corpses.

This year, that bridge and another nearby are closed, and a third bridge was destroyed by bombers. The procession instead passed over bridges in city’s centre considered safer…

Perhaps some of them prayed for safety. But surely many of them also prayed for victory over the Sunni Muslim enemy.

But note that this article (nor any others on this subject) barely deigns to mention the Sunnis. There is no mention of the real situation on the ground.

Instead, the Shiites have been the victims of “violence” and “rumors” (albeit in a Sunni neighborhood), or at the worst, artfully vague “gunmen” or “bombers.”

Imagine how carefully this had to be written to avoid any mention of the simple fact that the Sunnis have been and want to be their attackers.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, August 9th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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