World Bulletin/News Desk
An influential Iraqi Shiite cleric extended an apology Wednesday to Sunnis for the government's "cruelty and oppression" as violence between security forces and Sunni Arabs killed nearly 200 people last month in a threatening escalation of sectarian tensions in a country where a Shiite majority was once ruled by a Sunni dictator.
"I apologize to the Sunnis for the cruelty of the Shiite government and if I were a Sunni, I would to apologize to the Shiites for the things that they had gone through," Moqtada al-Sadr told an international meeting in the holy Shiite city of Najaf.
Al Sadr said Islam rejected discrimination between sects, adding, "divisions which imperialism had long sought to foment should not be our way."
He said Iraq's former leader Saddam Hussein used Sunni armies to suppress Shiites "and now Shiite armies are used to suppress and kill Sunnis."
Fifty people were killed in clashes between security forces and Sunni protestors last week in Hawijah near Kirkuk, fueling more violence in other cities of Iraq that brought up the death toll to nearly 200.Last Mod: 02 Mayıs 2013, 10:05