Al-Sadr: Against “rot”
I told you so — on April 1, 2003, I wrote: “Many in Saddam’s Iraq will want his secular regime to be succeeded by one that more or less conforms to the dictates of Islamic Shariah law. ”
“Is free Iraq becoming a more Islamic state?,” by Waleed Ibrahim for Reuters, December 15 (thanks to Twostellas):
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A group of men recently ordered Siham al-Zubaidi to close down her Baghdad hair salon for two months for Shi’ite religious festivities. She had no idea who they were but complied because she feared for her life.
“Can you just tell me who will pay the rent of my shop for these two months? What shall I do to support my family? What is the relation between hair dressing and religious events?” Zubaidi, 40, asked furiously.
“This is a new dictatorship. They want Iraq to be an Islamic state. But this is not right. Iraq includes a variety of religious factions … These are alien ideas, not Iraqi.”
Recent efforts by authorities, clergy and unknown bands of neighborhood enforcers to police morals by shutting nightclubs, bars and other establishments has heightened concerns among academics and intellectuals that Iraq, now emerging from war, is displaying the tendencies of a hard-line Islamic state.
Baghdad’s local government this month re-activated a federal order from last year to close down the capital’s nightclubs and liquor shops due to concern the venues were undermining morals. […]
In September, local authorities in Babil province prevented an arts festival that has been held yearly since before 2003. Security forces told organizers a day after the festival started to end it because it included dance shows.
In the southern city of Basra, the government shut down a foreign circus a few days after it opened last month. It was the first circus the province had hosted in decades.
Basra authorities said the government department of Shi’ite endowments held that the land on which the circus was set up could not be used in a way that violated Islamic Sharia law….
Good thing Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange made Oklahoma safe for Sharia, eh?
Now, bands of loosely organised, unknown men are carrying out threats quietly against liquor shops, schools and other establishments, and with groups like Sadr’s movement claiming a share of political power, critics say the government is closing its eyes to the intimidation.…
Residents of Baghdad’s mainly Shi’ite Shaab district say many alcohol shops have been attacked in recent weeks.
At a government-run fine arts institute in Baghdad, unknown men showed up this week and ordered the removal of all statues from the yard, an official of the facility said.
They said “it is not good to show such statues. Some of them are naked,” said the official, who asked not to be named because he feared for his safety.
The music program at the school was shut down. Students are not allowed to wear short skirts, short sleeve shirts or makeup, according to a female student.
“(A school official) told us it is Haram (forbidden). Some teachers consider any girl who does this as absent,” she said. “A top official once put an X on my classmate’s leg as she was wearing a short skirt.”
Protesters on both sides have taken to the streets. On Friday hundreds responded to Sadr’s call.
“Stand against those who want to disseminate corruption, intoxication, and addiction (to alcohol), to make Iraq drift toward ignorance, degeneration, lewdness, to make our society rot like the West,” Sadr said in his statement….