There are cries that this is a violation of holy places — yet the mosques in Iraq have been used to launch attacks. From AP:
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Iraqi forces backed by U.S. soldiers and Marines raided mosques Tuesday in the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi and detained a prominent cleric following fierce clashes that hospital officials said killed at least four people.
U.S. aircraft also rocketed a mosque northwest of Ramadi on Monday after insurgents opened fire from there on U.S. Marines, the command said.
The seven mosques targeted in Ramadi are suspected of supporting insurgents through a range of activities, including harboring terrorists, storing illegal weapons caches, promoting violence and encouraging insurgent recruitment, the U.S. command said.
Sheikh Abdul-Aleim Saadi, the provincial leader of the influential Association of Muslim Scholars, was detained at Mohammed Aref Mosque, his relatives and followers said.
Angry residents accused Americans of disrespecting the sanctity of city mosques.
“This cowboy behavior cannot be accepted,” said cleric Abdullah Abu Omar of the Ramadi Mosque. “The Americans seem to have lost their senses and have gone out of control.”
The 1st Marine Division said the raids followed a pattern of insurgent activity in and around Ramadi mosques in recent weeks.
“The 1st Marine Division respects the religious and cultural significance represented by mosques,” it said in a statement. “However, when insurgents violate the sanctity of the mosque by using the structure for military purposes, the site loses its protective status.”