Iraqi President Receives Quran Written in Own Blood
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has taken delivery of a copy of the Quran he ordered written in his own blood to thank God for escaping unharmed from his long political career, Iraqi newspapers reported Sunday.
The special-edition Quran, the Muslim holy book, took three years to finish and was handed over to Saddam during a ceremony Saturday at the Dar al-Nasser presidential palace in Baghdad, papers said.
The Iraqi leader commissioned the work in 1997 for his 60th birthday to thank God for having escaped unharmed from "a life full of dangers, during which I will have lost a lot of blood."
The press gave no indication how much blood Saddam provided for the team of Iraqi religious leaders and calligraphers to complete the work.
However, Ezzat Ibrahim, vice president of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council, told papers: "You can imagine the quantity of blood required for the holy book, which comprises 6,666 verses and 336,000 words!"
Saddam, head of the ruling Baath party since his accession to power in 1979, has projected a more religious image since the 1991 Gulf War, promoting steps to develop Islam in Iraq, such as building mosques and banning alcohol in restaurants and hotels.
Under his rule, Iraq has been in two major conflicts -- the 1980-88 war with Iran, which left almost one million dead, and the Gulf War, which ended with Iraqi troops expelled from Kuwait after a seven-month occupation by a US-led coalition force - BAGHDAD (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)