From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
Muqtada al-Sadr, the "gangster rapper"

April 5, 2004 11:08 PM

Juan Cole, 11/2003:

I think you have to see Muqtada as playing ghetto politics, like Tupac. "We need for the U.S. to leave immediately; the U.S. is worse than Saddam!" He says these radical things and they appeal to impatient youth in the ghettos. So he's got foot soldiers. He really is a lot like a gangster rapper.

Time, 9/2003:

Cooperation with the coalition is anathema to al-Sadr, whose power base lies among the poorest Shi'ite communities, especially in Sadr City. Descended from a line of venerated ayatullahs, two of whom were executed by Saddam's regime, al-Sadr has the one thing the Hakim brothers lacked: street cred. He speaks in the rough argot of the slums, and his sermons, usually given after Friday prayers, are delivered in a take-no-prisoners style that appeals to young Shi'ites.

60 Minutes II, 10/2003:

AL-SADR: The little serpent has left and the great serpent has come.

BOB SIMON: The big serpent was Saddam Hussein, and the Americans are the small serpents?

AL-SADR: It is the opposite, my friend.

SIMON: The Americans are the big serpents. The Americans got rid of your enemy, Saddam Hussein. Isn't the enemy of your enemy your friend?

AL-SADR: Just because we are rid of Saddam and the evil Ba'athists doesn't mean that the occupation is a good thing. Our salvation from Saddam was only with the grace of God.

SIMON: If getting rid of Saddam was a favor of God, why was it that God waited until the Americans came in to do the job?

AL-SADR: All praises to Allah. He works in mysterious ways.

More from the archive in Politics, Religion, War and Peace.

Muqtada al-Sadr, the "gangster rapper" (04.05.2004)

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