Anti-U.S. Protests Continue In Kashmir
15 June 2007
Srinagar: For the second consecutive day, the Kashmir valley was rocked by protests against bombing of two Shiite shrines in Iraq by American forces on Wednesday. Besides two factions of separatist Hurriyat conference, the Grand Mufti had also called for protests. Soon after the Friday prayers were over, the enraged protesters took to streets in Pattan, Budgam, Soibugh, Sonawari, Lal Bazar, Beerwah and other places. People from both the Shia and Sunni communities took part in the protests and raised anti-American and anti-Israel slogans. They termed them as the worst enemies of Islam who 'are hell-bent to destroy the Muslims all over the world.' Very disturbing: Mirwaiz Kashmir's head priest Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who also heads the moderate faction of Hurriyat, described the situation as 'very disturbing.' Delivering the Friday sermon at Jamia Masjid here, he blamed the United States for its 'sinister design' to create a wedge between Shias and Sunnis and create a situation leading to civil war. He asked people to remain vigilant in this regard. The head of the hard-line faction of Hurriyat, Syed Ali Geelani, came down heavily on the U.S. and its allies for continuing with their hatred against Muslims. Leading a march in city centre, Mr. Geelani described the situation in Iraq as very alarming and alleged that America was dividing Muslims in Iraq on sectarian lines. Call for unity He squarely held America responsible for bombing mosques and religious places in Iraq and said that the U.S. wanted to subjugate Muslims across the globe. He called for unity among all sections of Muslims and said that the American designs could be defeated by unity alone. Another Hurriyat chairman and Shia cleric, Moulana Mohammad Abbas Ansari, led a protest demonstration at Sajjadabad Chattabal while prominent Shia cleric Agha Syed Hassan led a protest march in Budgam. They also condemned American designs of 'dividing Muslims on sectarian lines and killing them in Iraq.' The Shia leaders cautioned people of divisive forces and urged them to remain united against all odds. Grand Mufti of Kashmir Mufti Bashiruddin appealed to the people of Kashmir to maintain sectarian brotherhood and urged them not to fall prey to the evil designs of anti-Islamic forces. Expressing his deep concern over the sectarian divide in Iraq, the Grand Mufti said: 'Attempts are being made to drive a sectarian wedge in Kashmir as well. We should never allow this to happen,' he said. He asked people to continue their protest demonstrations against America till it left Iraq.