Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Dahr Jamail: From Inside The Mosque

From Inside The Mosque


Eyewitness Report From Iraq By Dahr Jamail

DAHR JAMAIL - Abu Talat calls me frantic. The deafening roar of hundreds of people in a confined area yelling, ''Allahu Akbar'' (God is Greatest) reverberate behind his panicked voice.

“I am being held at gunpoint by American soldiers inside Abu Hanifa mosque Dahr,” he yells, “Everyone is praying to God because the Americans are raiding our mosque during Friday prayer!”

He makes short calls, updating me on the atrocity. After a few sentences of information he hangs up because he is trapped inside the mosque and trying to let me know what is happening. Being Friday, the day of prayer and holiday, this was supposed to be an off day for us.

I just finish typing what he told me before he calls back.

“They have shot and killed at least 4 of the people while they were praying, and at least 20 are wounded now! I cannot believe this! I can’t let them see me calling you. I am on my stomach now and they have our guns on everyone, there are at least 1,500 people inside the mosque and it is sealed. We are on our bellies and in a very bad situation.”

Several Humvees and Iraqi National Guard (ING) vehicles showed up and 50 soldiers and well over 50 ING sealed and entered the mosque with the goal of detaining the Imam, Shaikh Muayid al-Adhami.

Abu Talat calls back, “We were here praying and now there are over 50 here with their guns on us,” he said. ”They are holding our heads to the ground, and everyone is in chaos. This is the worst situation possible. They cannot see me talking to you. They are roughing up a blind man now.”

The soldiers eventually released women and children along with men who were related to them. Abu Talat was only released because a boy approached him and told him to pretend to be his father.

Shortly thereafter he phones me from his home in tears.

“Dahr I cannot believe what has happened,” pausing to collect himself, “I will go back to see what is happening now.”

I urge him not to go, but he insists.

“This is my mosque and my people. I must go see what is happening to them.”

It is now 2:15pm and the mosque is still sealed. We begin to interview people he is with via the mobile as he describes the scene.

“People were praying and the Americans invaded the mosque,” Abdulla Ra'ad Aziz said, who had been released along with his wife and children. “Why are they killing people for praying? After the forces entered they went to the back doors and we heard so many bullets of the guns. There were wounded and dead, I saw them myself.”

Some of the people who had been at prayer were ordered by soldiers to carry the dead and wounded out of the mosque.

“One Iraqi National Guardsmen held his gun on people and yelled, ‘I will kill you if you don't shut up’,” said Rana Aziz, a mother who had been trapped in the mosque. She was now waiting outside for her brother, who was still inside.

She said someone asked the soldiers if they would were hostages. “A soldier yelled at everyone to ‘Shut the Fuck Up,” she said. Suddenly, she laughed amid her tears. “The Americans have learned how to say shut up in Arabic, ‘Inchev’.”

Hammad Mohammed, a 20 year-old man, said, “My uncle’s coffin was taken inside the mosque to be prayed on, and the Americans raided the mosque and went to the Imams’ room. Then they went to the back doors and we heard so many bullets of the guns-it was a gun bigger than a Kalashnikov. There were wounded and dead, as I saw them myself. I saw 4 killed and 9 wounded.”

Abu Talat then breaks the interview and tells me, “Doctors and staff are standing outside but the Americans refuse to let them inside. They can do nothing, and the Americans are not letting them inside while there are wounded people inside the mosque.”

Just like in Fallujah, soldiers denied Iraqi Red Crescent ambulances and medical teams access to the mosque. As doctors negotiated with U.S. soldiers outside, more gunfire was heard from inside the mosque.

About 30 men were led out with hoods over their heads and their hands tied behind them. Soldiers loaded them into a military vehicle and took them away around 3.15 pm.

A doctor with the Iraqi Red Crescent confirmed four dead and nine wounded worshippers. Pieces of brain were splattered on one of the walls inside the mosque while large blood stains covered carpets in several places.

Later Abu Talat comes to my hotel to see me. He is distraught, crying while he recounts the story. After listening to the tape he recorded inside the mosque during the atrocity, he says…

“I am in a very sad position. I do not see any freedom or any democracy. If this could lead into a freedom, it is a freedom with blood. It is a freedom of emotions of sadness. It is a freedom of killing. You cannot gain democracy through blood or killing. You do not find the freedom that way. People are going to pray to God and they were killed and wounded. There were 1,500 people praying to God and they went on a holiday were people go every Friday for prayers. And they were shot and killed. There were so many women and kids lying on the ground. This is not democracy, neither freedom.”

After several weeks of relative calm in Adhamiya, the detention of the Imam of Abu Hanifa and killing of worshippers inside their mosque is sure to ignite the fires of revenge in this area, which is already known as the Fallujah of Baghdad.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news