[QODLink]
Archive
Cleric says al-Zarqawi died long ago
Al-Qaida's leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is dead but Washington continues to use him as a bogeyman to justify a prolonged military occupation, an Iraqi Shia cleric says in an interview.
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2005 05:12 GMT
Al-Kalesi said al-Zarqawi was killed in Iraq's Kurdish region
Al-Qaida's leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is dead but Washington continues to use him as a bogeyman to justify a prolonged military occupation, an Iraqi Shia cleric says in an interview.

Sheikh Jawad al-Kalesi, the imam of the al-Kadhimiyah mosque in Baghdad, told France's Le Monde newspaper on Friday: "I don't think that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi exists as such. He's simply an invention by the occupiers to divide the people."
 
Al-Kalesi claimed that al-Zarqawi was killed in the Kurdish northern region of Iraq at the beginning of the US-led war on the country as he was meeting with members of the Ansar Al-Islam group affiliated to al-Qaida.
  
"His family in Jordan even held a ceremony after his death. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is therefore a ploy used by the Americans, an excuse to continue the occupation. It's a pretext so they don't leave Iraq."
  
Al-Kalesi made the comments to Le Monde as he passed through Paris after attending an inter-religious gathering in the eastern French city of Lyon organised by the Roman Catholic Sant'Egidio Community.

Fake statement

The cleric dismissed statements attributed to Zarqawi. 
  

"If the occupation continues, the situation will only get worse and the Iraqi will increasingly join the resistance"

Sheikh Jawad al-Kalesi, 
Imam of the al-Kadhimiyah mosque in Baghdad

He said an audio message posted on the Internet on Wednesday and attributed to al-Zarqawi, was meant to push Shia "to find refuge with the Americans rather than join the resistance."
  
The voice message had declared "all-out war" on Iraqi Shia and claimed responsibility for a series of attacks that killed more than 150 people, most of them Shia waiting to be hired as day labourers in Baghdad.
  
"If the occupation continues, the situation will only get worse and Iraqis will increasingly join the resistance," al-Kalesi said.
  
Iraq's main Sunni Arab religious authority, the Association of Muslim Scholars, has condemned the call to arms against Shia, calling it "very dangerous" and saying it "plays into the hands of the occupier who wants to split up the country and spark a sectarian war."
Source:
AFP
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
About 500,000 participated around the globe in the Peoples Climate March, and Al Jazeera spoke to some in New York.
Separatist movements in Spain, Belgium and Italy may face headwinds following Scotland's decision to stay in the UK.
A fishing trawler carrying 500 migrants across the Mediterranean was rammed by another boat, causing hundreds to drown.
Anti-immigration Sweden Democrats party - with roots in the neo-Nazi movement - recently won 12.9 percent of the vote.
Palestinian doctor who lost three daughters in previous Gaza war is fighting to bring 100 wounded kids to Canada.