American soldier shot dead in Baghdad as leading Shiite cleric slams Iraq's new Governing Council
In Baghdad, a soldier from the U.S. 1st Infantry Division was shot and killed at about 5:30 p.m. Friday, said Corp. Todd Pruden, a spokesman for the military.
Meanwhile, a leading Shiite cleric Friday denounced Iraq's new Governing Council and the US occupation of the country.
Moqtada Sadr, a cleric who has emerged as a prominent figure in post-war Iraq, blasted "the illegitimate council created by the United States and their servants" in his first sermon since the 25-member body was inaugurated last Sunday.
"They have delivered this peaceful Muslim country to the foreign forces," railed the cleric, according to AFP. "No, no to the United States, No, no to Israel, No, no to the Governing Council," his supporters chanted.
Sadr, the son of a grand ayatollah assassinated by the ousted regime of Saddam Hussein in 1999, also announced the formation of a private militia called the "Mehdi army.".
Sadr ridiculed the council for declaring April 9th, when US soldiers entered the capital, a day of liberation. "This government is not legitimate and has no popular support," said Sadr. "There can be no justice from an unjust council.
"We want a government which is Islamic where everyone is represented. It is like this we will build Iraq's unity and draft a constitution."
He disparaged the council as a feeble attempt to cobble together Iraq's mosaic of ethnic groups. The council members "pretend to be Muslims, democrats and pious", but "it would have been better for them to follow the Marjaiyah", the Shiite religious authority.
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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