Abdul Majid al-Khoei

Abdul Majid al-Khoei

Infobox_Person
name = Sayyid Abdul Majid al-Khoei
other_names = السيد عبد المجيد الخوئي


imagesize = 214px
caption =
birth_date = birth date|1962|8|16|df=y
birth_place = Najaf, Iraq
death_date = death date|2003|4|10|df=y
death_place = Najaf, Iraq
party =
religion = Twelver Shi'a Islam

Sayyid Abdul Majid al-Khoei (السيد عبد المجيد الخوئي)(Arabic), 16 August, 196210 April, 2003) was a Twelver Shia cleric and the son of Ayatollah Al-Udhma Sayyid Abul Qasim al-Khoei who was born in the holy city of Najaf.

He lived and studied under his father in Najaf until 1991. During the Shia uprising of 1991 he actively took part in the fighting against Saddam's Ba'ath Party but also acted as a force of moderation attempting to minimize revenge killings. When the uprising was crushed he was forced to leave Iraq. His father died a year later in 1992 at the age of 93, while still under house arrest in Iraq.

In exile in London, he worked for the al-Khoei Foundation a charitable foundation set up by his father in 1989, becoming its head in 1994 when his brother, Sayyid Mohammed Taqi al-Khoei, was assassinated whilst driving back to Najaf from a visit to Kerbala.

He was also an outspoken critic of Saddam Hussein's rule: "The regime's criminal acts, beginning in 1968, have been never-ending. Executions, the closing of schools, mosques and shrines sacred to Shia worshipers; the burning of old religious scriptures; looting the sacred sites of gifts left by presidents and kings." He did, however, also call for unity. Speaking in December 2002 he said "We are looking for a new Iraq in which everyone has a share... we want to forget the past and shake the hand of everyone".

He returned to Iraq in April 2003 after the fall of Saddam despite being warned of the dangers. He arrived in Najaf on 3 April. Speaking to The Times upon his arrival to the city, he said everyone "wanted news on Baghdad because they see that as the key test to whether this will be 1991 all over again." Though assigned protection, the protective unit could not follow him into the shrine of Imam Ali in Najaf on 10 April 2003. Here he was attacked and hacked to death by a mob.

Muqtada al-Sadr was suspected by U.S. and Iraqi authorities of ordering the assassination. According to witnesses, at the mosque he was walking with Haidar Raifee Killidar, the custodian of the shrine under Saddam, and they were confronted by an angry mob, some of whom are reported to have shouted "Raifee is back" and others "Long live al-Sadr". The mob killed Raifee with bayonets and knives; al-Khoei, who was critically injured by this time, was killed later. According to author Patrick Cockburn, eyewitness accounts say Khoei, stabbed and bleeding, stumbled to the door of Muqtada's nearby house and pleaded for help. Muqtada sent a note outside saying, "Don't let them sit by my door," and Khoei died shortly after that. ["Muqtada: Muqtada Al-Sadr, the Shia Revival, and the Struggle for Iraq" by Patrick Cockburn. Quoted in [ http://www.powells.com/review/2008_05_29?utm_source=review-a-day&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=rad_20080529&utm_content=View%20as%20Web%20Page Muqtada: Muqtada Al-Sadr, the Shia Revival, and the Struggle for Iraq by Patrick Cockburn. The Wild Card A Review by Dexter Filkins ] ]

Al-Sadr claims the murderers were not his followers and that he in fact sent men to save al-Khoei from the murderers, but he seemed unconcerned over the death; additionally witnesses say that members of the mob claimed to be there on al-Sadr's orders, and that he had instructed them not to kill al-Khoei inside the mosque. Al-Khoei's close followers did not blame al-Sadr for the murder, but instead publicly blamed former Baath party members who also hated al-Khoei.Fact|date=February 2007

On April 5, 2004, a warrant was issued for Sadr's arrest in connection with this killing. Arrest warrants were also issued for 12 men on charges of planning and carrying out the murder. The arrest warrants were issued by an Iraqi Judge, Raed Juhi, who is also the investigative judge in charge of the Saddam Hussain case.

He was seen as a moderate cleric by the west and as pro-US by many Iraqis. British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who met al-Khoei for talks before his departure, said he was "a religious leader who embodied hope and reconciliation and who was committed to building a better future for the people of Iraq". His murder was also "strongly condemned" by US President Bush's administration.

He is buried alongside his brother and father inside the Imam Ali shrine in Najaf in a designated room for the al-Khoei family.

He left behind a wife and four children who live in London.

ee also

*Imam Al-Khoei Benevolent Foundation

References

External links

* [http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0%2C2763%2C935242%2C00.html Guardian Obituary]
* [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/04/18/wirq118.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/04/18/ixnewstop.html An account of his murder]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2936887.stm BBC article]
* [http://www.meib.org/articles/0405_iraqi.htm Interview: Ghanim Jawad (May 2004)]
* [http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-taheri041503.asp National Review article]


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