Monday, March 05, 2007

Mosque opens for first time since terrorist attack

By Staff Sgt. Angela McKinzie
2nd BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. (LI) Public Affairs

YUFUFIYAH, Iraq – To most Iraqis, a mosque is a sacred place, but to terrorists it can be a target for sectarian violence.
Iraqis celebrated the re-opening of a Yusufiyah mosque as Soldiers from the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), the 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division and the Iraqi Police secured the area for the event Feb. 23.
The mosque had been closed since it was attacked by terrorists last October. Since then, the Iraqis have been working diligently to reopen the mosque.
“This is a good day for the people of Iraq,” said 1st Lt. Ali Kudair, an Iraqi police officer. “There are a lot of mosques opening in the area and it shows that we are progressing as a nation.”
Although the Yusufiyah area is primarily Shia there has been tension with neighboring Sunnis. The opening signifies the unity of the sects.
“Both tribes are welcome to the mosque,” Kudair explained. “This opening shows that we can get along since we are brothers.”
With the history of the violence in the area, the opening of the mosque was conducted under tight security. Soldiers of Company A., 4-31 secured areas around the mosque ensuring the safety of the Iraqi people.
As the mosque opened, Iraqis began to pour in and begin worship. A couple of fist fights broke out, but the scene was otherwise peaceful.
“This is good for the Iraqi people,” said Capt. Chris Sanchez, a 4-31st staff planner and native of Los Angeles. “I hope this (the unity) continues and in time things will get better.”

No comments: