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Iraq's Sadr suspends Mahdi Army activity

Source: Press TV

Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr
Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr suspends activity of his 60,000-strong Mahdi Army for an indefinite period, a statement by the group says.

"The Mahdi Army suspension will be valid indefinitely and anyone who does not follow this order will not be considered a member of this group," Sadr said in the statement issued on Thursday.

The cleric had earlier announced plans to transform most of the Mahdi Army into a social organization, while preserving an elite group to fight the US occupation, without harming Iraqi civilians.

Meanwhile, a senior al-Sadr member, Sayid Fareed al-Fadhili elaborated on the Mahdi Army's new structure and said, "The first section is the armed one for resisting only the occupiers and to not carry weapons against any other side. The second part will undertake ethical and cultural issues to change the society from its tendencies toward a secular and Western orientation to a society based on Islamic and religious culture."

It is noteworthy that Sayid Fareed al-Fadhili heads the Mahdi Army's new non-armed branch, Mumahidoon, an Arabic word "meaning those who pave the way."

Fadhili also underscored that Mumahidoon members do not carry weapons.

"They never carry weapons and they do not care for the military side at all. Their main work is absolutely cultural and intellectual," he stressed.

Fadhili vowed that Mumahidoon would recruit members with solid reputations.

"We have certain specifications and regulations for each member to join this army, including a good reputation and good education and popularity among his neighbors and society," Fadhili commented.

... Payvand News - 08/28/08 ... --

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