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allegedly by the government of Saddam Hussein. Some do believe it was an inside job ordered in February 1999 from Najaf, the stronghold of the al-Sadr clan. Muqtada’s father-in-law was executed by the Iraqi authorities in 1980. Muqtada is a cousin of the disappeared Imam Moussa as-Sadr, the Iranian-Lebanese founder of the popular Amal Movement.
As Muqtada al-Sadr lacks the religious education and degrees required by Shi’a doctrines, he does not claim the title of mujtahid (the equivalent of a senior religious scholar) or the authority to issue fatwas (religious edicts). Before the assassination of his father, he was a student in the Najaf Hawza or religious seminary. Muqtada al-Sadr refers those with religious questions to their own Marja (religious authority). Following his father’s assassination he maintained his father’s network of charities and social services.
August 12, 1973 (1973-08-12) Baghdad, Iraq
Residence Political party Religious beliefs
Currently studying for Ayatollah at Qom, Iran Sadrist Movement Usuli Twelver Shi’a Islam
Muqtadā al-Ṣadr or Moktada al-Sadr (ديس ( )ردصلا ىدتقمborn August 12, 1973) is an Iraqi theologian and political leader. Along with Ali al-Sistani and Abdul Aziz alHakim of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, Sadr is one of the most influential religious and political figures in the country not holding any official title in the Iraqi government.
Assassinations and violence
Some of his followers are alleged to be responsible for the assassination on 10 April 2003 of Imam Abdul Majid al-Khoei. Judge Raed Juhi, who conducted the investigation after the incident, issued arrest warrants against Sadr and two dozen others, but Sadr’s warrant was placed under seal by the Coalition Provisional Authority. The allegation is based on the fact that the perpetrators used ropes to pull Abdul Majid al-Khoei and his aide’s bodies across some alleys near the Shrine of Imam Ali in Najaf, and shouted slogans claiming vengeance for the assassination of al-Sadr. There was a dispute over the keys to the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf. The mosque contains the tomb of Ali, the son-in-law of Muhammad and, according to Shi’a belief, heir to his legacy. It is among the most sacred Shi’a sites, and also the source of a considerable amount of revenue. The traditional hereditary holder of the keys, Haidar Raifee, fled for fear of his life after the fall of
Muqtada al-Sadr is the fourth son of a famous Iraqi Shi‘a cleric, the late Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr. He is also the son-in-law of Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir As-Sadr. Muqtada al-Sadr is of Lebanese ancestry. His great-grandfather is Ismail as-Sadr. Mohammed Sadeq al-Sadr, Muqtada al-Sadr’s father, was a well-respected figure throughout the Shi’a Islamic world. He was murdered, along with two of his sons,
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Saddam’s regime. Some believed Raifee was an agent of Saddam’s Ba’ath party, who had informed on countless Shi’a opponents of Saddam’s regime. Abdul Majid Al-Khoei, with the backing and protection of American and British armed forces, felt that he was in a position to broker a reconciliation between Muqtada alSadr and the hereditary custodian of the Shrine (or Kiliadar), Haidar Raifee. Al-Khoei escorted Haidar Raifee from hiding back to his post at the mosque. Al-Khoei was accused by many of taking orders from, and thus acting on behalf of, the American government. His support for the Ba’athist Raifee was used as a pretext for his murder by a Shi’a mob. Witnesses have said that they were confronted at the mosque by an angry mob, some of whom shouted "Raifee is back". They called him an "animal" and threatened to beat him with their sandals (a traditional Iraqi insult.) According to reports, al-Khoei fired his pistol in the air to get the crowd to back off. However, rather than retreating, the angry crowd surged at al-Khoei, Raifee, and the nearby civilians. The mob killed Raifee with bayonets and knives. Khoei was bound, beaten, and dragged by the mob to the doors of Sadr’s headquarters. Eyewitnesses told the investigating judge, Raed Juhi, that when Sadr appeared at the door, he was asked by the mob what to do with Khoei. The witnesses reported Sadr answering, "Take this person away and kill him.". Muqtada al-Sadr claims that the murderers were not his followers, and that he in fact sent men to prevent al-Khoei’s murder. The al-Sadr family sent and published official condolences to the al-Khoei family. The initial warrant against al-Sadr produced after U.S. forces decided to shut down his newspaper, Al-Hawza, alleged that members of the mob claimed to be there on al-Sadr’s orders, and that he had instructed them not to kill alKhoei inside the mosque. Al-Khoei’s close followers did not blame al-Sadr for the murder, but instead publicly blamed former Ba’ath party members who also hated al-Khoei (in complete contradiction of his kindness to Raifee.) The charges against al-Sadr had been kept secret until his confrontation with US-led coalition forces, leading some to speculate that the charges were a politically-motivated pretext to remove Muqtada al-Sadr’s considerable influence upon religious and political matters within Iraq.
Opposition to the CPA
Shortly after the US-led coalition ousted Saddam Hussein and his Ba’ath regime, al-Sadr voiced opposition to the Coalition Provisional Authority. He subsequently stated that he had more legitimacy than the Coalition-appointed Iraqi Governing Council (IGC). In September 2003, he declared a shadow government, in opposition to the IGC officials, who were chosen by the US. In April 2003 his followers, organized as the Sadr Bureau, began providing services throughout Sadr City. The services ranged from health care to food and clean water. Later in 2003, residents of Sadr City meeting in neighborhood caucuses elected neighborhood councils, and ultimately a district council to represent the Sadr City District. The Sadr Bureau, aided by the Mahdi Army, attempted to remove the new District Council by force of arms and occupied the District Council Hall for several weeks. Finally, Coalition forces removed them from the premises, and the elected District Council resumed their duties. Despite this action by the Coalition authorities, the Sadr Bureau and the Mahdi Army have continued to act within Sadr City almost unhindered by US and Iraqi forces. Members of the elected District Council have been continually threatened, and some have been attacked for their alleged cooperation with the Americans.
Al-Hawza and Rebellion
Further information: Mahdi Army At the end of March 2004, Coalition authorities in Iraq shut down Sadr’s newspaper, alHawza, on charges of inciting violence (as a side note, al-Hawza is also the name of the religious institution (of colleges), in Najaf, which was headed by Sadr’s father). The Coalition authorities said false reporting, including articles that ascribed suicide bombings to Americans, could spark off violence. Sadr responded by mobilizing many Shi’a followers to demonstrations, protesting at the closure of the newspaper, but the demonstrations escalated throughout the week in number and militancy. On April 4, fighting broke out in Najaf, Sadr City and Basra. Sadr’s Mahdi Army took over several points and attacked coalition soldiers, killing dozens of foreign soldiers, and taking many casualties of their own in the process. At the same time, Sunni rebels in the cities of Baghdad,
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Samarra, Ramadi, and, most notably, Fallujah, staged uprisings as well, causing the most serious challenge to coalition control of Iraq up to that time. Paul Bremer, then the U.S. administrator in Iraq, declared on April 5, 2004 that the militant cleric was an outlaw and that uprisings by the cleric and his followers would not be tolerated. It emerged that, some months earlier, an Iraqi judge had issued an arrest warrant for al-Sadr on charges relating to the murder of al-Khoei. This had apparently been kept secret for some time but was now announced publicly by Bremer. Several senior U.S. politicians suggested that the revolt would push back the date for the transfer of power to the IGC, but the handover nevertheless occurred on June 28, 2004, two days ahead of schedule.
"We demand that they be freed, and if this is ignored then we will respond at the appropriate time." Muqtada’s violent threats regarding what he and his people might do if he didn’t get his way was a blatant challenge to the new and unstable government’s authority. It was also a clear breach of the peace agreement he had signed. Iraqi policemen and U.S. troops surrounded al-Sadr’s home on 3 August, resulting in heavy gunfire, mortar shelling and grenade blasts, courtesy of hundreds of Mehdi Army fighters who were already defending the house. Quickly, the clashes spread to the old city of Najaf. There, al-Sadr’s fighters had already taken up wellfortified positions around the great Imam Ali mosque. The apparent aim was to arrest al-Sadr and destroy his movement. On August 5, via his spokesman Ahmed alShaibany, al-Sadr reaffirmed his commitment to the truce and called on U.S. forces to honor the truce. He announced that if the restoration of the ceasefire failed "then the firing and igniting of the revolution will continue." The offer was rejected by the governor of Najaf, Adnan al-Zurufi ("There is no compromise or room for another truce") and U.S. officials ("This is one battle we really do feel we can win"). In the days that followed, fighting continued around the old city of Najaf, in particular the Imam Ali shrine and the cemetery. The Mahdi army was heavily outnumbered by some 2,000 U.S. marines and 1,800 Iraqi government security forces, and outgunned by superior U.S. firepower, including attack helicopters. On August 13, the resistance was trapped in a cordon around the Imam Ali shrine. The Mahdi resistance is thought to have suffered hundreds of casualties in the fighting, while U.S. Marine casualties were fairly light. (More information on the Standoff in Najaf can be found under the article on the Iraqi insurgency). On August 25, Grand Ayatollah Ali alSistani, arrived in Iraq and began travelling with a "peace convoy" towards Najaf "to stop the bloodshed." By the next day, an agreement brokered by Sistani required the Mahdi resistance movement to disarm and leave Najaf and U.S. troops to withdraw from the city. Resistance men began handing in their weapons after al-Sadr asked them to do so and left the complex escorted by worshippers. The U.S. welcomed the agreement and
August 2004 hostilities
After the June 4th truce with the U.S. led coalition forces, Al-Sadr claimed to be taking steps to disband the Mahdi army. In a statement, he called on resistance members from outside Najaf to "do their duty" and go home. U.S. forces in Najaf were then replaced by Iraqi police. Al-Sadr told supporters not to attack Iraqi security forces and set himself up to become a political force, announcing his intention to form a party and contest the 2005 elections. He said that the interim government was an opportunity to build a unified Iraq. Interim President Ghazi Yawer gave assurances that al-Sadr could join the political process, provided he abandoned his resistance movement. Iraqi officials also assured al-Sadr that he was not to face arrest. Despite the promises of the Iraqi government, in late July Sadr announced his intention to boycott the upcoming national conference, as did the Association of Muslim Scholars, a Sunni organization. Although al-Sadr initially promised to support the conference, he changed his mind, claiming through a spokesman that it was "a sad joke" and "a trick on the Iraqi people" because of the allegedly undemocratic process for selecting the delegates. On 31 July, al-Sadr’s representative in Karbala, Sheikh Mithal al Hasnawi, and al-Hasnawi’s brother were captured by U.S. and Iraqi National Guard troops in a joint raid. Sadr representatives condemned the move, reportedly saying
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vowed to respect a ceasefire. U.S. forces have stayed out of the center of Najaf since, and as of September 2004 the city was largely under the control of the Iraqi police. On August 30, a tentative peace agreement was reached between the Iraqi government and al-Sadr to disarm his resistance in Sadr City, Baghdad. But the next day, Prime Minister Iyad Allawi unilaterally pulled out of talks, cancelling the peace proposal. The New York Times reported that Allawi had wanted to enter in armed conflict with alSadr due to his rising popularity after the standoff in Najaf. Fighting continued in Sadr City into October 2004, with the Mahdi resistance movement sustaining losses numbering in the hundreds. The physical infrastructure of Sadr City also suffered damage during this period and there were reports of substantial civilian casualties. Ultimately alSadr agreed to a ceasefire, and subsequently agreed to participate in the January 2005 election process.
aide had been arrested a day earlier by American troops on suspicion of participating in kidnappings and killings.
Capture of Amarah
On October 19, 2006, al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army seized control of Amarah in the south of Iraq. President of the United States George W. Bush was stated to have seen a possible parallel between the lead-up to the capture of Amarah and the 1968 Tet Offensive, which was seen as having led to the United States’ withdrawal from the Vietnam War. The White House later said the President was not suggesting that a similar turning point had been reached, rather that al-Sadr was trying to influence US elections. Hundreds of militiamen linked to Muqtada al-Sadr battled local police and members of a rival Shi’ite militia in the southeastern city of Amarah, destroying police stations and seizing control of entire neighborhoods, in an apparent retaliation for the arrest of one of their fighters. According to Western intelligence officials, though, Sadr appears to have lost control of part of his militia, which has splintered off into freelance death squads. In fact, it remained unclear whether he had approved the Amarah uprising before it began. Witnesses said a message from Sadr was blared over loudspeakers from vehicles in Amarah October 20, 2006, calling on gunmen to lay down their weapons. The order was widely disregarded. On October 25, 2006 U.S. soldiers uncovered a book during a raid in the Washash neighborhood in Baghdad with information about the Shi‘ite militia affiliated to Muqtada al-Sadr, Mahdi Army had engaged in a systematic campaign of violence and intimidation to clear out Sunni residents in this town. On December 27, 2006 Muqtada al-Sadr’s top aide, Saheb al-Amiri was killed in a raid by U.S. troops in the Shiite holy city of Najaf On December 30, 2006 people loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr infiltrated the security detail for Saddam Hussein’s execution, chanted "Muqtada" and taunted Saddam, and got it all on film, which then circulated on Arab television and the internet.
Opposition to the proposed Iraqi Constitution
On August 26, 2005, an estimated one-hundred thousand Iraqis marched in support of al-Sadr and his ideals.
It is generally frowned upon in Iraq for clerics to actively participate in secular politics, and like the other leading religious figures Muqtada al-Sadr did not run in the 2005 Iraqi election. It is believed he implicitly backed the National Independent Cadres and Elites party which was closely linked with his Mahdi Army. Many of his supporters, however, backed the far more popular United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) of al-Sistani. If as expected the UIA emerges as the dominant force in the new Iraqi government al-Sadr will have some influence over a faction of that party.
On March 25, 2006 Muqtada al-Sadr was in his home and escaped a mortar attack. This attack was disputed, as the ordnance landed more than 50 meters from his home. Sadr’s considerable leverage was apparent early in the week of 16 October 2006, when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered the release of one of Sadr’s senior aides. The
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proceeded to deliver a sermon to an estimated 6000 followers in the main mosque. Reiterating his usual condemnation of the United States presence in Iraq, Al-Sadr’s speech also contained calls for unity between Sunni and Shi’a. Many saw the speech as an effort to rein in his militia, which has broken into several factions since his departure. Several of these factions have been accused of violence against Sunnis. In June 2007, Muqtada al-Sadr vowed to go ahead with a planned march to the devastated Askariya shrine in central Iraq but insisted the goal was not to confront Sunnis who live along the way. Instead, al-Sadr said the march was aimed at bringing Shiites and Sunnis closer together and breaking down the barriers imposed by the Americans and Sunni religious extremists. Sadr’s aides later admitted that Sadr had been in the Iranian city of Qom since 2007. They said that he was there to study, but refused to elaborate because, "it encourages our enemies". 
On February 13, several sources in the US government claimed that Muqtada al-Sadr had left Iraq and fled to Iran in anticipation of the coming security crackdown. US military spokesman Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell reinforced this account on February 14, but a member of Iraq’s parliament and an aide to al-Sadr have denied the claims. Sami al-Askari, an adviser to Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki claims "as far as I know he is still in Iran" and "he’s a very secretive man.". On March 30, it was reported that Sadr, through clerics speaking on his behalf, "delivered a searing speech ... condemning the American presence in Iraq ... [and] call[ing] for an anti-occupation mass protest on April 9...." This call to protest was significant in that, since the beginning of the American troop surge (which began on February 14, 2007), Sadr had ordered his "militia to lie low during the new Baghdad security plan so as not to provoke a direct confrontation with the Americans." Muqtada al-Sadr urged the Iraqi army and police to stop cooperating with the United States and told his guerilla fighters to concentrate on pushing American forces out of the country, according to a statement issued Sunday, 8 April, 2007 The statement, stamped with al-Sadr’s official seal, was distributed in the Shiite holy city of Najaf on Sunday 8-April, 2007 — a day before a large demonstration there, called for by al-Sadr, to mark the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad. "You, the Iraqi army and police forces, don’t walk alongside the occupiers, because they are your arch-enemy," the statement said. On April 17, 2007, several ministers loyal to Al-Sadr left the Iraqi government. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki stated that the withdrawal of these ministers had not weakened his government and that he would name technocrats to replace them soon. Al-Sadr condemned construction of Azamiyah wall around a Sunni neighborhood in Baghdad, on April 25, 2007, by calling for demonstrations against the plan as a sign of "the evil will" of American "occupiers". Following fourteen weeks of hiding, on 25 May 2007 Al-Sadr reemerged. Driving in a long motorcade from Najaf to Kufa, Al-Sadr
August 2007 Truce
In a statement issued August 29, 2007, Muqtada al-Sadr announced that an order to stand down for six months had been distributed to his loyalists following the deaths of more than 50 Shia Muslim pilgrims during sectarian fighting in the holy city of Karbala the day before. The statement issued by Sadr’s office in Najaf said: "I direct the Mahdi army to suspend all its activities for six months until it is restructured in a way that helps honour the principles for which it is formed." The intention behind the ceasefire was thought in part to be to allow al-Sadr reassert control over the movement, which is thought to have splintered. "We call on all Sadrists to observe self-restraint, to help security forces control the situation and arrest the perpetrators and sedition mongers, and urge them to end all forms of armament in the sacred city," said the statement, referring to the August 28 clashes in Karbala. Asked if the unexpected order meant no attacks on American troops, as well as a ban on Shia infighting, a senior al-Sadr aide said: "All kinds of armed actions are to be frozen, without exception." 
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Hussein government by the 2003 invasion of Iraq, mostly owing to his status as his father’s son, as he has no formal religious standing to interpret the Koran and relies for religious advice on an Iraqi cleric exiled in Iran, Ayatollah Kazem al-Haeri. It is common belief that al-Sadr wishes to create an Islamic theocracy in Iraq, although al-Sadr himself has on occasion stated that he wishes to create an "Islamic democracy." In April 2004 he initiated a revolt against the coalition of forces occupying Iraq. As of August 19, 2004, U.S. officials express puzzlement as to al-Sadr’s motivations and goals. In his sermons and public interviews al-Sadr has demanded an immediate withdraw of all US led coalition forces, all foreign troops under United Nations control, and the establishment of a new central Iraqi government, not connected to the Ba’ath party or the current Allawi government. He has declared that the Allawi government is illegitimate, and he refuses to cooperate with them; however, his disapproval waxes and wanes depending on the success of negotiations with the interim government. He envisions a Shi‘a-dominated government, much like Iran’s, but independent from Iran. He has met Khamenei and "told him that we share the same ideology, but that politically and militarily, I would not be an extension of Iran."
The grass-roots cleric whose Mahdi Army militia has gained notoriety among coalition troops March 7, 2008 admitted many followers have split from his movement or do not heed his leadership. • The political movement of powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr launched, amid the Battle of Basra (2008), a nationwide civil disobedience campaign across Iraq to protest raids and detentions against the Mahdi Army. August 8, 2008 - Shiite cleric Muqtada alSadr ordered most of his militiamen to disarm but said Friday he will maintain elite fighting units to resist the Americans if a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops is not established. ... "Weapons are to be exclusively in the hands of one group, the resistance group," while another group called Momahidoun is to focus on social, religious and community work, Sadrist cleric Mudhafar al-Moussawi said.
In response to Israeli attacks on Hamas in the Gaza strip, al-Sadr called for reprisals against U.S. troops in Iraq: "I call upon the honest Iraqi resistance to carry out revenge operations against the great accomplice of the Zionist enemy." A U.S. State Department spokesperson dismissed the statement as "outrageous and, frankly, not worthy of much more comment." On May 1, 2009 Al-Sadr paid a surprise visit to Ankara where, in his first public appearance for two years, he met with Turkish President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for talks which focused on the “political process” and requested Turkey play a greater role in establishing stability in the Middle East. Spokesman Sheikh Salah al-Obeidi confirmed the nature of the talks that had been requested by Al-Sadr and stated, “Turkey is a good, old friend. Trusting that, we had no hesitation in traveling here.” After the meeting Al-Sadr visited supporters in Istanbul, where AlObeidi says they may open a representative office.
Relation with Shi‘ites and Clerics
Al-Sadr commands strong support (especially in the Sadr City ghetto in Baghdad, formerly called Saddam City but renamed after the elder al-Sadr). After the fall of the Saddam government in 2003, Muqtada al-Sadr organized thousands of his supporters into a political movement, which includes a military wing known as the Jaysh al-Mahdi or Mahdi Army).. The name refers to the Mahdi, a long-since disappeared imam who is thought by Shii Muslims to be due to reappear when the end of time approaches. This group has periodically engaged in violent conflict with US and other Coalition forces, while the larger Sadrist movement has formed its own religious courts, and organized social services, law enforcement and prisons in areas under its control.
Muqtada al-Sadr gained popularity among younger Iraqis following the toppling of the
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as their first choice for President of Iraq. (Allawi, who soon after became Prime Minister, received far less support in this category as well.) The sacred Imam Ali mosque has reportedly been issuing prayers for his safety during the call for prayer, and images of his face have been plastered all over the south of Iraq. Muqtada al-Sadr’s real power base are a network of Shi‘a charitable institutions, founded by his father, that distributed food in poor Shi‘a areas. His strongest support comes from the class of dispossessed Shi‘a, like in the Sadr City area of Baghdad. Many Iraqi supporters see in him a symbol of resistance to foreign occupation. It is true that he does not have strong popularity in Najaf, where he is blamed along with U.S. forces for provoking the standoff and the resulting violence. But sociologist Michael Schwartz (SUNY-Stony Brook) argues that al-Sadr’s supporters in Sadr City constitute a "proto-government" with many of the trappings of established legitimacy. Naomi Klein, writing in the Nation, has called al-Sadr and his supporters "the single greatest threat to U.S. military and economic control of Iraq." During the first siege of Fallujah in late March and April 2004, Muqtada’s Sadrists sent aid convoys to the besieged Sunnis there. In spring of 2005, the Association of Muslim Scholars (hardline Sunni) accused the Shia Badr Corps paramilitary of having formed anti-Sunni death squads inside the special police commando units of the Ministry of the Interior. This open accusation caused a political crisis between AMS and the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the Shia fundamentalist party that sponsors the Badr Corps. It was Muqtada alSadr who engaged in shuttle diplomacy to calm the two parties down. He could play this role because he had credibility with both sides. From his side, Muqtada makes a distinction between "Sunnis" on the one hand, and "Saddamis" and "Nawasib" on the other. (Nawasib are those Sunnis who have a violent hatred for the Shias, and nowadays in Iraq "al-Qaeda" would be such a group in Muqtada’s eyes.)
Relations with al-Sistani
Relations with the most powerful cleric in Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, have also been tense. Al-Sistani’s approach of non-violent confrontation and negotiation rather than guerilla resistance is often in conflict with the radical young al-Sadr. Al-Sistani is said by observers to draw support from established, property-owning Shi’ites, while Muqtada al-Sadr’s support is strongest among the uneducated urban poor, many of whom see him as their champion. The murder of Abdul Majid al-Khoei, the son of alSistani’s mentor Grand Ayatollah AbulQassim Khoei, believed to be by Muqtada’s forces, may be an additional source of tension. Sadr’s followers attempted to seize control of the al-Sistani-controlled holy sites in Karbala in October 2003 but were repulsed, with dozens of people killed and injured. Armed clashes between al-Sadr’s al-Mahdi Army and the Badr Organization have broken out with significant bloodshed resulting. However, Sistani has thus far refused to publicly chastise Sadr for the spring uprising against the US led coalition, instead decreeing that both sides should avoid incitement to violence and condemning the coalition for its tactics. This led many Muqtada supporters to believe that al-Sistani’s refusal to call for armed attacks on the United States or zionist and imperialist powers is un-Islamic, further polarizing the dichotomy that is the Iraqi shia population toward Muqtada al-Sadr.
The popularity of al-Sadr’s movement is under debate. Some in the American press referred to him and his followers as little more than thugs, and the Coalition Provisional Authority continually referred to him as having little support. In fact, a June 2004 USsponsored poll reported that 67 percent of respondents supported him (with 32 percent offering "strong support", and 36 percent saying they "somewhat support" him). He was the third most popular political figure, behind Ali Sistani but far ahead of Iyad Allawi, who was opposed by 61 percent and supported by only 23 percent of respondents. (This poll was taken before Allawi became prime minister.) Despite al-Sadr’s popularity, only two percent of respondents selected him
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He is often referred to as Sayyid Muqtada AlSadir. The title Sayyid (approx. Mr, Sir, Master) is generally used among the Shi‘a to denote persons descending directly from the Prophet Mohammad, through his daughter Fatima’s marriage with Ali, which is thought to be the bloodline from which Islamic leadership must come. Thus a great deal of respect is paid by the Shi’as to the Sayyids throughout Shi’a society. The al-Sadr family has a clear and distinct lineage that can be traced directly to Muhammad. The lineage is traced through Imam Jafar al-Sadiq and his son Imam Musa al-Kadhim, the sixth and seventh Shi‘a Imams respectively. Muqtada al-Sadr’s formal religious standing is comparatively low, at a mid-ranking Shia religious rank, perhaps reflecting his young age. However, in early 2008, Al-Sadr was reported to be studying to be an ayatollah, which would greatly improve his religious standing and strengthen his position visavi non-Sadrist Shia.
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the Iraqi cleric takes on the United States... and Iraq. Global Security analysis and biography Messianic leaders in Iraq, Iran Juan Cole, October/November 2003 "The Iraqi Shiites". The Boston Review. SourceWatch article with links to articles about al-Sadr 60 Minutes interview Al-Sadr: Allawi team worse than Saddam (14 August 2004, Al Jazeera) Najaf assault turns allies against US (Reuters, Friday 13 August 2004) U.S. vs. Sadr: A saga of missed opportunities (14 August 2004, The Philadelphia Inquirer) Najaf standoff ends (Friday 27 August 2004, Al Jazeera) Najaf standoff ends: al-Sistani and al-Sadr Bring Peace to Najaf (Al-Jazeerah.info, 26 August 2004) Juan Cole, 02/19/2006 "Muqtada al-Sadr on al-Jazeera. "Ready to attack the Americans if they Attack Iran or Syria" "In a Democratic Iraq, Kurds will not need Own Region"" International Crisis Group Report Iraq’s Muqtada Al-Sadr: Spoiler or Stabiliser? Juan Cole, expert on Shia Muslims, explains why Muqtada al-Sadr could be popular with Sunni Iraqis too  "Sadrists: There is no such thing as ’The Iraqi Shia’", The Indypendent, January 10, 2007 How Moqtada al-Sadr Won in Basra
• • • • • • • •
• • • • • • • Shia Islam Post-invasion Iraq, 2003–present Mahdi Army Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr 2003 invasion of Iraq Iraqi insurgency Islamic eschatology •
• "Chain wrapped around old mans body found in mosque," CNN World • "Defining Muqtada," Columbia Journalism Review • Nimrod RaphaeliL Understanding Muqtada al-Sadr, Middle East Quarterly,