Attacks in Baghdad currently average about 20 a day, including bombings and shootings. Car bombs average eight a week, down 50% from last month, according to a senior US military officer.
“Muslims oppose attacks targeting civilians, whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims,” said Shaikh Abd al-Ghafur al-Samarrai, during Friday prayers at the Sunni Umm al-Qura mosque in Baghdad.
Shaikh Jalaleddin al-Saghir, addressing a sermon at the Shia Baratha mosque in Baghdad, said on Friday: “Britain, which has recently opened the door to former Saddam [Hussein] loyalists, must now see that the terror plaguing the people of Iraq can spread into the subway stations, resulting in this disgraceful massacre.”
Another preacher, Shaikh Zakaria al-Tamimi, speaking at the Ibn Taimiyah mosque – home to the Salafist orthodox brand of Sunni Islam – wondered why the world would not react to the daily killing of innocent people in Iraq, just as it did to the latest London bombings.
“This is because Iraqis are like chicken and nobody cares about the killing of a chicken, but the British are the lords of this world.”
In the Shia city of Najaf, in southern Iraq, Shaikh Sadreddin al-Kubbanji condemned the London bombings; but he accused British Prime Minister Tony Blair of being too quick in blaming Muslims for them.
“These reckless comments increase the hate towards Muslims,” he said.
Common man’s response
On the streets of Baghdad, ordinary Iraqis reacted with a mixture of pity and resentment.
They are reaping the fruit of what they sowed”
“Bush and Blair say Iraq is the battleground in the fight against terrorism, and they say they need to fight here to stop violence from spreading to their own homes,” said Soad Mohammed, a 40-year-old teacher in a Sunni district of Baghdad.
“But it’s precisely because of what they’re doing in Iraq that they now face violence at home,” she said.
“They are reaping the fruit of what they sowed,” she added.
Khaled Yassin, a 30-year-old taxi driver, said: “Yesterday I was amazed when I got home from work to hear about bombings at the top of the news which, for once, weren’t in Baghdad.”
He said he even joked with his wife that the terrorists had moved to London, because the day had been relatively quiet in the Iraqi capital.
Baghdad sees eight car bombs a
Karrar Mohsen, 33, shopping in the Al-Shuala district, said: “Seeing innocent people on their way to work being killed makes me sad. They are now drinking from the same, bitter cup as we.”
Mustafa Mohammed, 45, selling furniture in the district of Al-Adhamiyah, said: “It’s US and British policy towards the Arab world and towards Iraq which is to blame for the attack in London.
“If you live in a glass house, you shouldn’t be throwing stones,” he said.
Nabil Mohammed, a professor of international relations at Baghdad University, said: “The West must alter its policies or the whole world will be engulfed in violence.
“In Iraq, people have been subject to attacks for over two years, all because of the occupation of the country,” he said.
Some Iraqis say the blasts were
Speaking in the southern city of Basra, Hassan Fadhel, a 35-year-old railway employee, said terrorists in London wanted to sully the image of Islam.
“They are targeting Islam,” he said, adding that the attacks should be condemned “whether they happen in London, Basra or anywhere else in the world”.
“But at the same time, I also blame America and Bush, because we must not forget that Bush supported Osama bin Laden,” during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, he added.