January 21, 2011 |
Anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr, who arrived in Iraq this month after spending nearly four years away, has returned to Iran, two aides from his office said Friday on condition of anonymity. Sadr left Iraq Thursday or Friday, the aides said, adding that it was not clear whether his return to Iran was temporary or permanent. In early 2007, Sadr, who had influenced many Shiite Muslims in Iraq to oppose American forces after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, moved to Iran to focus on his religious studies, with the goal of advancing in Shiite Islam's religious hierarchy.
November 25, 2010 |
Anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada Sadr, whose feared militia was crushed by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki two years ago, has leveraged support for his former enemy's government into renewed influence over the country's security forces, governors' offices and even its prisons. In recent months, Maliki's government has freed hundreds of controversial members of the Shiite Muslim cleric's Mahdi Army and handed security positions to veteran commanders of the militia, which was blamed for some of the most disturbing violence in the country's civil war and insurgency against U.S. forces.
July 6, 2010 |
Tens of thousands of mourners gathered in Beirut's southern suburbs to honor a leading Shiite Muslim cleric whose death could trigger a battle over his legacy and the ideological direction of Lebanon's largest community. Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, once a spiritual mentor to the Shiite militant group Hezbollah, was estimated to have a worldwide following in the millions. Despite the midday heat, the streets were packed with supporters who prayed and chanted in unison, some holding pictures of their deceased marja , or source of emulation.
July 4, 2010 |
Lebanon's Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, one of Shi'ite Islam's highest religious authorities, died on Sunday at the age of 74, a medical source at a Beirut hospital said. Fadlallah had a wide following beyond Lebanon's Shi'ites, extending to Central Asia and the Gulf. He was a supporter of Iran's Islamic Revolution and the spiritual leader and mentor of the Shi'ite guerrilla group Hezbollah in the first years after it was formed in 1982. A fierce critic of the United States, Fadlallah used many of his Friday prayer sermons to denounce U.S. policies in the Middle East, particularly its alliance with Israel.
May 3, 2010 |
Among all the candidates being touted for the prime minister's job in the next Iraqi government, one stands out for his near-total lack of political experience. Jaafar Sadr, 40, has spent his entire adult life as a student, in Baghdad, in Najaf, in the Iranian city of Qom, where he pursued religious studies under ayatollahs, and most recently in Beirut, where he is close to earning a bachelor's degree in sociology and anthropology. But Sadr's heritage puts him in the ranks of aristocracy, at least by Iraqi Shiite Muslim standards.
April 12, 2009 |
Religious edicts are generally not fodder for beauty salon gossip, but as soon as Shiite cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Fadlallah issued a fatwa allowing women to pray wearing nail polish, word spread through Beirut faster than knockoff Prada bags. "All the girls in the Dahiyeh are talking about it," said 29-year-old Nadine Dirani, a veiled mother of two living in the Dahiyeh, Beirut's heavily Shiite southern suburbs. "I think it's an important step, and why not?" she said. "It makes our lives easier."