Text of telephone interview with Shaykh Abd-al-Hadi al-Darraji, spokesman for Martyr Al-Sadr Office, in Baghdad, by anchorman Tawfiq Taha in the Doha studios, carried live by Qatari Al-Jazeera satellite TV on 1 August
[Taha] I have with me from Baghdad Shaykh Abd-al-Hadi al-Darraji, spokesman for Martyr Al-Sadr Office. Your eminence, within which framework do you put the explosions that took place in front of churches today?
[Al-Darraji] In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate. We have repeatedly said during Friday sermons that the operations targeting all Iraqis, whether they are Muslims or Christians, are terrorist operations. We denounce these operations that targeted our Christian brothers and blame the occupation forces and the government, which did not receive the security file, which is still in the hands of the occupation authorities. That is for one thing. Second, we hold the occupation forces and the Israeli Mossad responsible for such incidents in Iraq in an attempt to create chaos and sedition and to blame the Islamists for that. Therefore, I say that this is a disgraceful and cowardly action aimed against all Iraqis. Consequently, we denounce this act of terrorism and other acts of terrorism that targeted churches, which are worship houses. We hold the occupation forces responsible for this. The government should also be held responsible for a large part of these acts. So, we held it responsible along with the occupation forces for this criminal action, which was carried out by those who came from outside Iraq to carry out acts of terrorism.
[Taha] How do you view the fact that these bombings coincided with the talk in Israel about plans to blow up the Al-Aqsa Mosque?
[Al-Darraji] This coincided with what you are saying. This is correct because after the fall of the regime in Iraq, the Israeli intelligence networks began to work inside Iraq. This is an arrogant Zionist plan, which is being carried out in cooperation with many intelligence agencies, which seek to serve their own interests, impose hegemony on Iraq and the Iraqi people’s resources, and foment sedition among the Iraqis. Consequently, the Israeli Mossad plays a great role in such bombings that take place inside Iraqi mosques and churches and against the Iraqi people. We say that the Iraqi people can only get rid of this by the departure of the occupation forces, which now constitute a serious obstacle to the Iraqi people and their aspirations. I believe that this is unacceptable. These terrorist operations can only stop after the departure of the occupation forces. This is the demand of all Iraqis, Sunnis, Shi’is, Christians, Sabians and all Iraqi sects.
[Taha] Your eminence the shaykh, what do you have to say to the Iraqi Christians today?
[Al-Darraji] We extend condolences to our Christian brothers. The Al-Sadr current, Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr had always addressed our Christian brothers. Therefore, the Al-Sadr current, in the name of leader Muqtada al-Sadr, all Iraqis, and all Shi’is, extends condolences to our Christian brothers on their losses. We hold the occupation forces responsible for this. We say: Be patient O Iraqis, for independence is coming, God willing; be patient O Muslims, and be patient O Christians, for your Iraq can only be built after the departure of the occupation forces.
[Taha] Shaykh Abd-al-Hadi al-Darraji, from Baghdad, thank you.
Source: Al-Jazeera TV, Doha, in Arabic 1703 gmt 1 Aug 04