Shiite religious leader denies issuing fatwa not to resist invasion forces
The Shiite religious leader in the central Iraqi city of Najaf denied issuing a fatwa (religious decree) calling on the populace not to impede invasion forces, the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV reported. On Thurday, the US Central Command said Grand Ayatollah Mirza Ali Sistani had issued such a fatwa.
As the only grand ayatollah of Iraq, Sistani is the most senior cleric for Iraqi Shiites. Earlier in the week, Sistani issued a fatwa, calling on "Muslims all over the world" to help Iraqis in "a fierce battle against infidel followers who have invaded our homeland".
Iraqi satellite television showed Friday a recorded message by an unidentified, but senior-looking, Shi'ite Muslim cleric calling on Iraqis to "do their duty before God" and fight the U.S.-led invasion of their "holy, Muslim country."
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)