August 31, 2003 by

Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim

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Categories: Religious Leaders

Ayatollah Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim, an influential Shi’ite Muslim cleric, died on Aug. 29 when a car bomb exploded in Najaf, Iraq. He was 63. The bombing outside the Mausoleum of Imam Ali killed 82 others and wounded 125.
Hakim was born in 1939. His father was Grand Ayatollah Muhsin al-Hakim, the spiritual leader of the Shi’ite world from 1955 to 1970.
In the late 1950s, Hakim and Ayatollah Sayed Mohammed Baqer al-Sadr joined forces with other scholars to form the Islamic political movement in Iraq. For his efforts, Hakim was arrested and tortured by the government in 1972, and again five years later. Although he was sentenced to life in prison without a trial, Hakim was released in 1979 due to public pressure on the Hussein regime.
When Sadr was murdered by that regime, Hakim fled to Iran and spent 23 years in exile. There he formed the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. In retaliation, the regime executed 18 members of his family.
After the American and British forces invaded Iraq and toppled the Hussein government, Hakim returned to his homeland, where he was welcomed by thousands of supporters. Although he disagreed with the occupation, Hakim ordered his brother, Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, to keep his fighters from attacking U.S. troops. He also refused to meet with American and British authorities, but agreed to speak with the United Nation’s envoy, Sérgio Vieira de Mello. Vieira de Mello was killed on Aug. 19 when a truck bomb exploded in front of the Canal Hotel in Baghdad.

One Response to Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim

  1. John Simpson

    Ayatollah Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim was a wonderful man. He combined the vision of a leader, the moderate Muslim, the fighter, the intellectual in a single person. His loss was the greatest in Iraq’s current volatile period. His departure was a great victory for terrorism and extremism. He was great the way he lived and even greater the way he died. Like a victorious martyr he departed. leaving millions of mourners behind.

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