The Association of Muslim Scholars is a group of Sunni clerics who support Al-Qaeda. How is it that they became clerics and somehow still became Misunderstanders of Islam? Why is it that so many clerics, who have dedicated their lives to Islam, seem to misunderstand it so drastically?
Here, in sum, is yet another story that shows up the hollowness of the mainstream public discourse about the jihad threat. Every public spokesman in the West, from George Bush to Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, is sure that Islam at its core is peaceful. Yet scholars of Islam like this Association seem to come to a quite different view. But nothing can be done about it, although this is the basis for jihadist recruitment, because we cannot even talk about this phenomenon at all.
From The Associated Press (thanks to all who sent this in):
BAGHDAD: The Iraqi government seized the west Baghdad headquarters of a powerful Sunni Muslim group Wednesday, cordoning off the building and accusing the group of supporting al-Qaida, officials said.
The Association of Muslim Scholars, a hardline Sunni clerics group with links to insurgents, has its headquarters in the Um al-Qura mosque in the capital’s Sunni-dominated Ghazaliyhah neighborhood.
Iraqi security forces dispatched by the Sunni Endowment, a government agency that cares for Sunni mosques and shrines, surrounded the mosque complex at 9 a.m. Wednesday and demanded that the building be evacuated before noon, the association said in a statement posted on its Web site.
Employees were told to remove all personal belongings and even haul out furniture, that troops said would be destroyed if left behind, it said.
The group also operates a radio station from the mosque, and its transmission was cut as well, the statement said. The final sounds on the air were of an announcer apologizing to listeners and telling them he was being forced out of the building, the group said.
The head of the Sunni Endowment held a news conference at the mosque later Wednesday, accusing the clerics group of supporting al-Qaida.
“The Association of Muslim Scholars has regrettably been attacking any tribal awakening, resistance or worshippers whenever they form a force to purge their neighborhoods of al-Qaida elements. The association has always justified killing and assassinations carried out by al-Qaida,” Ahmed Abdul-Ghafoor al-Samarraie, the Sunni Endowment chief, told reporters.
“The association no longer has a place here…These headquarters now belong to the Sunni Endowment,” he said.