Monday, December 18, 2006

ArabLinks (entire post):
On Tuesday of last week, car-bombers killed 70 laborers who were waiting for the chance for day-work, in Tarayan Square, in a Shiite part of Baghdad. As an expression of their outrage over this, a Sunni group including religious authorities issued a statement, described as a fatwa, in which they proscribed killing of Muslims and killing of Shiites in particular. The authorities included people connected with the Islamic Party, with the Muslim Scholars Association, and with something called the League of Islamic Unity, and apparently they were Basra-based. I don't think there was any widespread notice of this at the time, but this morning Al-Hayat says Moqtada al-Sadr sent a delegation to Basra for the purpose of thanking the officials for their statement.

Apparently referring to the same statement, Al-Hayat explains that group of Basra Sunnis, composed not only of religious authorities but of tribal leaders as well, issued a statement in which they denounced "the terrorism to which the Iraqi people are being subjected", and expressed support for the unity or Iraq geographically and with respect to its people. Signatories of this statement included named people representing the Association of Muslim Scholars, the Sunni Waqf (religious endowments agency), the Islamic Party, and a number of others from the Sunni community of Basra.

A spokesman for the Sunni group warned of the spread of killings in Basra, but said Basra is different from other Iraqi cities, and what has happened in Baghdad won't be transferred here.

A report on this same exchange between the Sadr delegation and the Sunni group was carried by Aswat al-Iraq yesterday, and it said: The (above-mentioned) spokesman for the Sunni group added that there was a meeting between the Sadr representatives and the Sunni group, at which "a spirit of understanding and cooperation prevailed". He said they agreed on the need to support Iraqi unity, and to denounce terrorist operations and "anything that detracts from the unity and the fabric of Iraqi society".

I would like to underline his mention of "the fabric of Iraqi society", because it is the same phrase Al-Dhari used in his rebuttal of the Islamist at the Istanbul conference, when he warned him against turning the meeting into an anti-Shiite event. Shiites, he reminded the Islamist, are "part of the fabric of Iraqi society". (Quoted in this prior post, the last block-quote section at the bottom).

I think it is a good rule of thumb: If there is any reference to "the fabric of Iraqi society", readers of English-language newspapers and readers of the big blogs won't see it reported. I don't know why. We use "fabric" in exactly the same way. What could the reason be?
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Read the last two paragraphs twice.

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