The rise of religious extremism in Iraq is a result of the US-lead invasion in 2003. In dire times it is not uncommon for people to turn to religion and extremist groups who knew this used Anti-US sentiments to gain support in Iraq after Saddam’s fall.
Extremists groups crossed the border from Iran (the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq // “Badr Corps”), Saudi Arabia and Jordan (“Al-Qaeda in Iraq”). Prominent religious leaders, whose strong stance against the presence of Coalition forces in Iraq had won over many Iraqi’s, began to envision an Islamic theocracy in Iraq. Damage caused to important religious sites also inflamed caused people to rally behind their religious leaders, who have become more extreme as the occupation continues. As a result of the invasion and the cunning of extremist leaders, religious extremism has thrived in Iraq since 2003.
Through out history it is noted that people tend to turn to religion in times of crisis and war as faith allows us to remain optimistic. This means the already deep roots of religion in Iraq became suddenly much more important during and after the 2003 invasion, providing religious figures with the confidence to speak their minds and promote their own motives. Irani religious leaders including Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani provided imported Shiite leaders with credibility and support by endorsing the United Iraqi Alliance (Shiite Bloc) in Iraq’s first round of elections. Continue reading Religious extremism on the rise in post-Saddam Iraq
Iraq has never experienced an online campaign with such local, national and international determination to help an individual as the campaign for Jill Caroll‘s safe release.
Two well known Baghdadi bloggers Baghdad Treasure and 24 steps to liberty (both are contributors here at the Olivebranch Network) were very close to Jill and played an important role in this campaign by inspiring other bloggers to offer help. Which they did.
In whatever way they could find bloggers were reaching out to help Jill, be it contacting media, politicians, other important political//religious figures or just posting, praying and sending support to Jill’s family and employers at the Christian Science Monitor.
Iraqi bloggers and the blogosphere which immediately surrounds had a strong response to the incident surrounding Jill’s capture- particularly the death of Alan Enwiya (Jill’s translator). Alan was much loved by the younger generation of Baghdadi’s for his all-encompassing knowledge and love of music. Alan ran a popular music store which became central to the life of many music loving Iraqi youths including many popular Iraqi bloggers- until war came back to Baghdad once again. Continue reading Jill Carroll & The Iraqi Blogosphere
Cross posted from the Olivebranch Network
Though some members of the network have yet to post it’s time to pay thanks and say a little tribute to the wonderful Olivebranch Network contributors.
Though not yet two months old the network now includes prominent Iraqi bloggers (Baghdad Treasure, 24 Steps to Liberty, Majed Jarrar and Hassan (from Average Iraqi).
Other excellent if not so prominent bloggers have also joined the team including, John Hennington (US soldier//blogger returned from Iraq), Salam Adil from Asterism (Iraqi in UK), Meso Rock (Teenage Iraqi Girl in Saudi Arabia), Z from No Pain No Gain, Shahram Kohldi from SCAN-IRANIC and Farid Pouya from WebGardian (Irani blog about Irani Blogs).
I would also like to save a special mention for Baghdad Doctor for his most wonderful contributions, particularly the post “Unforgettable Day“- watch for more from him soon.
Two other people need mention (other than myself):
Attawie our excellent female Iraqi writer//poet now living in the United Arab Emirates, *yet to post*- and last but not least Antony Loewenstein, whose generosity and kind heartedness is the reason this network came to be.
We look forward to including more contributors and covering more areas of discussion- but for now stay regularly tuned as these contributors become actively involved in educating you about Iraqi and Middle Eastern culture.
A big thanks must also go to those who offered support and encouragement, there are too many to mention individually.