Ayatollah Sayed Hadi Almodarresi, one of Iraq's foremost Shia clerics and the president of the League of Scholars, is Sayed Mahdi Almodarresi's father. He was giving a speech in the mausoleum of Imam Hussein when the blasts took place in Karbala. 8 of his bodyguards were killed and four were injured in the massacre.



  Ayatollah Sayed Hadi Almodarresi leads the prayers on the martyrs of the Ashura tragedy









Iraq leaders call for calm after Shi'ite slaughter

By Luke Baker  

Wed Mar 3, 2004 01:07 PM ET

Ayatollah Hadi al-Muddaresi, one of Iraq's foremost Shi'ite clerics, said the bombings were an attempt by Sunni extremists to foment civil war in Iraq, where the 60 percent Shi'ite majority were for decades suppressed under Saddam, a Sunni.

There are parties and groups that are willing to push Iraq towards civil war, but I don't think it will happen because the first people who will lose will be those who are pushing for it," the cleric told Reuters in his offices in Kerbala.

"We as Shi'ites refuse to be drawn into such a conflict."


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Thousands join funeral procession of Karbala bombing victims

KARBALA, Iraq (AFP) - Clerics warned against civil war as thousands of Iraqi Shiites flooded the holy shrines of Karbala for the mass funeral of the 98 people killed in a bombing rampage on the Muslim group's most sacred day.

Sayed Hadi al-Mudaresi also lashed out at those who would spark sectarian and communal strife in Iraq between the country's 60 percent Shiite majority and the Sunnis who ruled Iraq under Saddam and now fear for their status.

"This attack is against Islam and all the prophets and against Hussein," said Mudaresi.

"These people who plotted this attack wish to return to the past to fight Imam Hussein, but we will not follow them because they want a civil war. We want the other side (the Sunnis) to condemn these type of attacks."

"We want all parties and organisations in Iraq to condemn these kinds of attacks. Those who will not do so we will regard as a partner in these kind of attacks."

Thursday's funeral procession, with banners displaying faces of the leading Shiite clerics in Iraq, was mainly controlled by Shiite militias, toting automatic rifles, while police were almost totally absent.


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Vast Crowds Mourn Karbala Dead After Iraq Blasts - Prayers

By Luke Baker
Wed Mar 3, 2004 10:45 AM ET

KARBALA, Iraq (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of Shi'ite Muslims marched through the streets of the sacred Iraqi city of Karbala Wednesday to pay their last respects to the 115 people killed in a wave of devastating bombings there.

Chanting "God is Greatest," they carried around a dozen coffins through the streets, some laden with flowers, others draped in rugs with verses from the Koran, as black-clad musicians clashed cymbals, banged drums and blew horns.

The funeral procession, led by Karbala's senior clerics, made its way through the heart of the city toward the mosque of Imam Hussein, one of Shi'ite Islam's holiest shrines, where the bodies were taken inside and the mass of mourners said prayers.

Crowds gathered to watch the procession along the streets and from balconies, shouting "Hussein! Hussein!," invoking the name of a revered Shi
'ite martyr, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, killed more than 13 centuries ago.

In a sermon at the mosque, a leading Karbala cleric urged the crowds not to seek vengeance for the death and destruction meted out in the blasts, which struck as some two million pilgrims gathered to mark their holiest day.

"Those who did this want a civil war in Iraq, but we will not be drawn into it," said Ayatollah Hadi al-Muddaresi.

"This act against us was an aggression against all Muslims."


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