Muqtada Al-Sadr, one of the most influential clerics in the Shiite world, has sent out an olive branch to Egypt’s Al-Azhar, a known hotbed for jihadi indoctrination and the most prominent Sunni institution in the world, seeking to unite the sects of Islam against the Jews.
Al-Sadr, who hails from Iraq, said: “Let’s have a common enemy: jews and their extremist subordinates. Let’s put our hands together,” according to a message published on his website over the weekend.
The Iraqi Shiite leader has been encouraged by Al-Azhar’s recent rejection of describing Shiites as infidels, the Egypt Independent newspaper reported on Monday.
“Here, I do not want to engage in a doctrinal argument,” Al-Sadr continued, “I neither want a Shiite to be a Sunni nor a Sunni to become a Shiite.”
Al-Sadr controls an Iranian-backed militia that has battled against United States and coalition forces in Iraq. In May, he threatened to launch attacks on American forces in the region, should the U.S. pass the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, which provides funding for U.S. efforts in Iraq.
“If the time comes and the proposed bill is passed, we will have no choice but to unfreeze the military wing that deals with the American entity so that it may start targeting American interests in Iraq and outside of Iraq when possible,” he threatened, in remarks translated by the Long War Journal.
“If America persists then it will cease to exist,” the radical cleric concluded.
The Iraqi Shiite leader holds to the same religious beliefs expressed by the Mullahs in Iran, who hope for the end-times to soon come as a means to annihilate the non-Muslim world.
Following the topping of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, Al-Sadr spoke to 60 Minutes, famously proclaiming: “Saddam was the little serpent, but America is the big serpent.”
In 2004, coalition forces shut down his newspaper, claiming that it incited violence against U.S. forces, leading Al-Sadr to temporarily flee to Iran, where he was greeted as a hero by the regime in Tehran.