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Iranian cleric lambastes US for atrocities in Iraq, sacrilege to holy sites

Tehran, Aug 20, IRNA -- Senior cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani here on Friday criticized US President George W. Bush for the deepening crisis in Iraq and the escalating violence in the holy city of Najaf, protesting against the aerial attacks by US troops on the holy shrine of Imam Ali (AS).

Kashani, speaking at the weekly Friday Prayer gathering here, said that America's image abroad has been damaged by these atrocities notwithstanding all efforts by his administration to project his country as a champion of peace, particularly in Iraq, and warned young Muslims will not remain silent in the face of these crimes.

He told Friday Prayer worshipers at Tehran University campus that Bush has now won the world's hatred for his policies of destruction, the effects of which will be felt by the next US presidents.

Kashani expressed regret that US forces are continuing their bombardments of Najaf and heavy fighting continues even though residents of the city have said they will accept the conditions for a ceasefire.

The cleric said the American people would do well to hold a referendum, just like what Venezuelans did, to determine whether they approve of Bush's policies.

He asked the American people: "Do you approve of the many crimes that your representative (Bush) is committing?"

"I don't think so," was his opinion.

Kashani said that Bush, who invaded Iraq on faulty intelligence, tried to justify his mistake by saying he did so in the name of democracy. Now, he will go down in history as one of the most notorious presidents, he added.

"When you (Bush) die, people will remember you as having did the same things Hitler and Nero did. But the fact is, you are worse than either of the two," he said.

"Bush does not consider the shrine of Imam Ali (AS) as sacred. There are other imams buried in holy shrines in Kazemein, Samara and Karbala and history is to be credited for the preservation of their memories."

Worshipers hold protest demonstration against US moves in Iraq

Tehran, Aug 20, IRNA -- A group of Friday Prayer worshipers held demonstrations here Friday to protest the slaughter of Iraqi people and the desecration of holy sites and cities of the country by the US military in Iraq.

Issuing a resolution at the end of a demonstration which they staged after the Friday Prayer sermons at Tehran University, the demonstrators blasted the Iraqi interim government as "illegitimate" and a "puppet" of the US.

They also called for a trial of Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem al-Shaalan.

The demonstrators, although miles away from the holy city of Najaf, said they sympathized deeply for "those noble and militant Iraqis who are defending the sanctity of Imam Ali's holy shrine by sacrificing their blood."

They said that now was the time to defend the Iraqi holy sites and that to achieve this end the Islamic world, particularly members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), should set up a force to defend the Iraqi holy shrines.

They also strongly urged the Islamic Republic to waste no time to discuss their proposal with the OIC.

... Payvand News - 8/20/04 ... --

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