Babylon & Beyond

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IRAQ: God is the remedy for ailing U.S. economy, Shiite cleric says

January 25, 2009 |  6:08 am


Iraq has gotten more than its fair share of advice from U.S. officials on just how to transform the restive Two Rivers region into a functioning democracy.

But now, as America seeks to escape a home-grown economic crisis, some Iraqis are speaking up with their own advice.

Such was the case during Friday prayers in Najaf, when Shiite preacher Sadr al-Deen al-Kubanchi sermonized over the state of American finances.

"The USA is about to collapse economically," the cleric predicted in a televised speech. "There are great factories firing thousands of their employees and decreasing their productions."

The cause of this crisis was clear, Kubanchi told worshipers. "The problem is not just the economy, but the detachment from religion and God."

Like the former Soviet Union, the United States has become disconnected from faith, Kubanchi said. Unless it acts quickly and looked to Islam for economic advice, the U.S. is doomed to follow the USSR into the ash heap of history.

Before that happens though, Kubanchi says he and other Iraqi clerics are prepared to help the U.S. find its way in the darkness.

"We are ready to provide our religious values to them," Kubanchi said. "We will make them understand that their military power is not enough. They must go back to God and be believers. This is what we hope for. We hope that the 21st century will be the era of going back to God."   

-- Monte Morin in Baghdad

Photo: Shiite preacher Sadr al-Deen al-Kubanchi. Credit: Saad Fakhrildeen