A US soldier stands guard at a checkpoint at the entrance of the restive town of Fallujah. (AFP)
This news from Fallujah via Scotsman.com. The U.S. Marines, one of world’s most feared fighting forces and part of history’s most impressively equipped military , could have easily leveled this mosque and this city, but did not.
America hopes restraint will win the battle of hearts and minds. I only hope that Sadr does not mistake our kindness for weakness. U.S. Marines were not meant for dhimmitude.
Radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr told worshippers at Friday prayers that he will not accept calls to tone down his anti-American rhetoric.
He accused the US of being “the enemy of Islam and Muslims and jihad is the path of my ancestors.”
Al-Sadr made the speech at a mosque in Kufa, a stronghold of his Al-Mahdi army.
American forces are surrounding Najaf, where al-Sadr is based. Tribal leaders and police are holding intensive talks in the city aimed at reducing tensions and preventing an American assault on the city, which is home to one of the shrines holiest to Shiite Muslims.
Lieutenant Colonel Pat White said US forces were holding back to give talks a chance and out of respect for Friday, the Islamic day of prayer.
“We want to show that we respect what that day means to the Islamic world,” White said, adding that forces were closely monitoring speeches that clerics were giving at prayer services.