Thursday, February 23, 2006

Blast at Shiite Shrine Sets Off Sectarian Fury in Iraq - New York Times

The mosque in question is the Al Askari Mosque, so named because it houses the remains of the Askari--the tenth and eleventh imams of Shi'a Islam. According to Shi'a lore, the twelfth imam, five-year-old Muhammad al-Mahdi, vanished from this site after presiding over his father's funeral. Shi'a prophecy says that he will come again to lead the Shi'ites in the Last Battle for the world.

I have never placed any stock in any legend about any Mahdi. That said, the Golden Dome is an historical treasure--or was before insurgents wrecked it. Even the Soviets didn't blow up St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow!

This incident has sparked an interesting controversy on the Wikipedia. Apparently no one had thought to place an article about the Al-Askari in the English Wikipedia before the explosion. Now it has one. The article so far has more details about the bombing and the reaction to it, and is likely to change--so you might want to bookmark the link if you want truly objective coverage.

Will this dissolve Iraq in civil war? I'm not sure about that--yet. But Jesus warned us that we would "hear of wars and rumors of wars," and that "nation would take up arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom." (Actually, that means that ethnic group would clash with ethnic group, and state against state.)

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