Militant Groups Label Elections 'Satanic'
Five Islamic militant groups, including al-Qaida in Iraq, denounced the Iraqi elections as a "satanic project" that violates God's law and vowed to continue their war to establish an Islamic government in the country.
But the Internet posting made no threats to disrupt Thursday's parliamentary elections, unlike previous statements before balloting in January and October, when militants warned they would attack polling stations to stop people from voting. The statement's authenticity could not be independently verified. If authentic, it was a rare instance of several of Iraq's militant groups joining together to announce their stance. "The conspiracy in Iraq against the mujahedeen, the so-called political process ... is nothing more than a satanic project, just like those before it," the statement said. "To engage in the so-called political process and in the renegade election is religiously prohibited and contradicts the legitimate policy approved by God almighty for the Muslims in our constitution, which is the holy Quran," it said. The statement appeared on a Web site known for carrying extremist Islamic material and was issued in the name of al-Qaida in Iraq, led by Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and the Victorious Sect Army and the Islamic Jihad Brigades. The other groups mentioned were the little known Abu Bakr Salafist Brigades and the Brigades for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. The groups also renounced any attempt at reconciliation with the government, amid efforts by officials to draw Sunni Arab Iraqis - who form the backbone of the insurgency - into the political process. Mainstream Sunnis are calling for a strong turnout by their minority community to increase their presence in parliament. "We disavow anyone who enters into any agreement or deals with this puppet government on the so-called political process," the statement said. "These filthy people want us to sit and have a dialogue with the infidels and the apostates ... and those who have taken free rein against our houses and mosques and our honor itself in hopes of reaching an idolatrous national unity," it said. The groups vowed to "continue our jihad (holy war) ... to raise the word of God on high ... and establish an Islamic state ruled by the book (the Quran) and the traditions of the prophet Muhammad," it said. Patients, soldiers and prisoners began voting Monday, a few days ahead of the general population, to choose Iraq's first full-term parliament since the 2003 ouster of Saddam Hussein.