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Calling for Mar Dinkha to meet with an Iraqi Sunni Terrorist
By: Ashur Sada. June 1, 2007

“Harith Al Thari is a criminal mass murderer and a terrorist” is what a lot of Iraqis would refer to Al-Thari. He is no less of a terrorist than Al-Zarqawi was, or Bin Laden still is. So who is he? Al-Thari is the head of the influential Iraqi Sunni ‘Association of Muslim Scholars’, which was formed in 2003, following the liberation of Iraq from the former Ba’ath regime. Since its inception, the association, and despite its religious nature, has had very close ties with the Sunni insurgency in Iraq. Over the last few years, he has fired one controversial comment after another. Iraqis, especially those against the insurgency, would have been very happy if someone could put a glue to his mouth, or if he was born speech-impaired. Al-Thari has been out of Iraq for over a year now, and is wanted by Iraqi authorities on charges of supporting the insurgency and terrorism in Iraq. Despite all of this, I think our Patriarch Mar Dinkha should seek an opportunity to meet with this evil man. Why? it is one of the few things we can do, to stop the violence against our people. Let me elaborate.

"Mar Dinkha should use the excuse of ‘finding common
solutions for the problems in Iraq’ as a means of initiating
something with this man"

It is a known fact that Al-Thari has close ties with the insurgency and even Al-Qaeda in Iraq. He has a high influence amongst the Sunnis, especially in Western Iraq, where insurgency runs high. Moreover, and despite being out of Iraq now, he still gets in touch with the local insurgent leaders in the country. But the key thing to emphasize here, is that he is outside of Iraq; currently in Egypt. That puts him under the spotlight little more than if he was in the lawlessness of Iraq. This is an opportunity for his holiness Mar Dinkha to seek to meet with him. Basically, Mar Dinkha should use the excuse of ‘finding common solutions for the problems in Iraq’ as a means of initiating something with this man. Once the meeting is up, Mar Dinkha should deviate from the topic of violence in Iraq, to something more specific: the violence committed by Al-Thari’s groups against Mar Dinkha’s Assyrian and Christian communities in Baghdad. Once cornered, a condemnation or even a call to halt violence against Christians, is not an impossible task, despite the given hard and violent nature of this imam. Yes, he is an Imam, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Al-Thari is a religious figure, at least in the nature of his status and what he does. But lately, he has been more seen on the political scene than to be concerned with religion. In fact, he also uses politics to launch his religious Fatwa and other despicable acts against innocent Iraqi civilians. Mar Dinkha on the other hand, is a religious figure by nature and status (although many will disagree with this statement.) Nevertheless, Mar Dinkha has involved himself in politics too lately, be it voluntarily or given the situation our nation is going through. That makes him capable and suitable for a meeting with Al-Thari. But why Mar Dinkha, and not someone like Mr.Younadam Kanna, the secretary of Zowaa, and a member of Iraq’s parliament? Well for one thing, and despite his huge political experience, Mr. Kanna wouldn’t be allowed to meet with Harith Al-Thari, given the Iraqi government’s warrant against him. Mar Dinkha has no such restriction put on him. Moreover, we would have more chances of success when Mar Dinkha is on the table than if another pure politician was on the table. Al-Thari, and much like other terrorists that he supports, is not a man that would deal in logic or negotiation. But given his religious status, he would have an easier time relating to Mar Dinkha than to a non-religious figure.

It is inevitable that the jaws of many people reading this, have already dropped, in disbelief for my call for our Patriarch to meet with a terrorist. It indeed is an odd thing to be calling for, but it will probably and possibly lead to some consensus. We could even hope that the meeting would lead to a denouncement by Al-Thari against the unfair criminal acts being committed against the innocent Assyrian Christians in Iraq. Mar Dinkha can use his warmth and influence to let Al-Thari know that Assyrians are innocent and shouldn’t be targeted by his groups. If the late Pope John Paul II was able to meet face to face, with his would-be killer, it should be a much easier task to see our patriarch meeting up with this violent imam. After all, why not use some bible-inspired peace, to solve one more piece of the big Iraqi puzzle.




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