Monday, June 18, 2007

New Sunni Mufti Is Moderate - and Sufi

By Cernig

Yesterday I noted that the senior Sunni Mufti or religious leader in Iraq had died and wondered about a replacement, thinking that the choice could have major implications for sectarian fighting in Iraq.

Today, the AP reports that a replacement Mufti has been named.
The chairman of the Sunni Endowment, the organization that oversees the sect's mosques and religious schools, said Abdul-Malik al-Saadi will be the new mufti, or chief theologian, for Iraq's Sunni Arab minority.

"The (Sunni) clerics have met and have selected Dr. Abdul-Malik al-Saadi because he is moderate and he avoids extremes and extremism," said Ahmed Abdul-Ghafour al-Samaraie, the head of the endowment.

Al-Saadi would be able to coordinate among the various factions in interpreting Islamic doctrine, he said.

According to an autobiography in one of his published books, "Divorce and its Contemporary Terminology," al-Saadi was born in 1936 in the Anbar province town of Hit, 140 kilometers (85 miles) west of Baghdad.

He belongs to the mystic Islamic Sufi movement, who are regarded as heretics by Sunni militants.
I'm inclined to think this is a positive move. It's going to make a statement about religious inclusion which marginalizes the "militants", by which I assume they mean Al Qaida and their hardline Islamist ilk rather than marginalizing moderates.

But, somewhere in the back of my mind, there's a thought that says there have been widely spread accusations in the Moslem world that the Bush administration has, via funding from neocon groups, attempted to co-opt the Sufi movement to be pro-occupation on Iraq.

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