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NYT: Shiite Morality Is Taking Hold in Iraq Oil Port

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RamboLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-06-05 11:02 PM
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NYT: Shiite Morality Is Taking Hold in Iraq Oil Port
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/07/international/middlee...

The loudest sounds emanating from musicians' row these days come from explosions.

Ahmed Ali walked through a shop that sold musical instruments before it was gutted by a bombing a week earlier, the latest in a series of mysterious attacks in this narrow alley in the last half-year, he said. The men here, just a block from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, sell instruments by day and perform at weddings in the evening.

"They say it's forbidden by Islam," Mr. Ali, 18, said as he went back to his own shop, its shelves stocked with drums. "We're afraid of everything. I'm afraid of it all. I'm afraid even when I'm talking to you."

The once libertine oil port of Basra, 350 miles south of the capital and far from the insurgency raging in much of Iraq, is steadily being transformed into a mini-theocracy under Shiite rule. There is perhaps no better indication of the possible flash points in a Shiite-dominated Iraq, because the political parties that hold sway here also wield significant influence in the central government in Baghdad and are backed by the country's top clerics.

Efforts to impose strict Shiite religious rule across Iraq would almost certainly spur resistance from Sunni Arabs and the more secular Kurds. But here in Basra, the changes have accelerated since the January elections, which enabled religious parties to put more radical politicians into office.

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Moderator DU Moderator Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 04:30 AM
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