Following the savage repression of the 1991 uprising, Saddam retained his policies of repression but also sought to place a more pious face on the regime. His goal at this point was not to suppress Islam completely but rather to reshape it into a tool of the regime. Correspondingly, the words, “‘Allah Akbar” (God is great) were added to the Iraqi fl ag, and study of the Koran became compulsory in Iraqi schools. In 1996 serving alcohol was banned in Iraqi restaurants in accordance with Islamic sensitivities.30 Moreover, by the mid-1990s, Saddam begun to celebrate his birthday by inaugurating a new Mosque each April 28.
At the time of this writing, Sistani has consistently refused to meet with U.S. offi cials, including U.S. administrator Paul Bremmer. He apparently fears such meetings could compromise his standing as an Iraqi nationalist and spokesman for the Shi’ite community. Not surprisingly, Sistani occasionally is described as reclusive and often speaks through his son and spokesman, Mohammed Rida Sistani. This way of operating, nevertheless, goes beyond security or protecting his reputation and may also be designed to enhance the dignity of his activities and statements. Moreover, Sistani is skilled at making his opinions known through spokesmen despite any reclusive tendencies and was quick to establish an official internet web site devoted to his views at www.sistani.org. Other Iraqi clerics soon established web sites as well.
Sistani’s role as Iraq’s senior Shi’ite cleric makes him a natural choice as the spokesman for his community, but, as noted, he has rivals and detractors. In challenging Sistani’s leadership, critics note that Sistani was born in Mashad, Iran, and speaks Arabic with a Persian accent (sometimes described as heavy).
Despite his Iranian heritage, Sistani is likely to be unreceptive to Iranian infl uence on important issues. He is a towering figure within the religious hierarchy of Shi’ite Islam, and his achievements are in stark contrast to those of Ayatollah ‘Ali Khamenei, the faqih, or Supreme Religious Guide (or jurist), of Iran. Khamenei achieved his Constitutional position of faqih as result of his political activism rather than because of his scholarship, and therefore is held in contempt by many of the more senior Shi’ite Islamic scholars. Indeed, Khamenei was only promoted from hojat al Islam to ayatollah by the Iranian government on the eve of his taking office as faqih. Khamenei has never written any major Islamic tracts and never developed a strong student following while teaching at an Islamic seminary. Next to Sistani, Khamenei appears completely undistinguished, and the idea of Sistani receiving guidance from him would be viewed as ludicrous.
Ну и вообще очень информативно и трезво.