[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
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.