Cleric: Kill Jews Who Buy Real Estate in Iraq

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BAGHDAD - A senior Iraqi Shi'ite Muslim cleric has issued a decree, or fatwa, ordering the killing of any Jew who buys real estate in Iraq, an aide has said.

The Iran-based cleric, Ayatollah Kazem al-Husseini al-Haieri, also said in his fatwa that selling real estate to Jews was forbidden for Muslims.

A cleric at Haieri's representative office in the holy city of Najaf said several Iraqis had sought Haieri's religious decree after Jews from abroad approached them over the past six weeks.

"Any Jew who tries, from now on, to buy a lot of land or a house in Iraq should be killed," the decree said. "Selling any lot of land or a house in Iraq to Jews is forbidden."

Haieri's secretary, Sheikh Abu Ali al-Azaie, confirmed during a telephone call from the Iranian city of Qum on Thursday night that Haieri had issued the decree. "The decree is authentic," Azaie said.

Iraqi scholars say Haieri, known for his hard-line positions, commands respect and influence in the Shi'ite community but it was difficult to gauge the size of his following. He is said to be planning to return to Iraq from his self-imposed exile in Iran.



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