Tuesday, February 05, 2008

God Is Great

You may know that a debate about the Iraqi flag has been brewing on the Iraqi blogosphere. Nibras Kazimi has saluted the new Iraqi flag, which the Iraqi government recently approved as a temporary flag until the Iraqi people choose a permanent one. On the new flag the words "Allah Akbar" are printed in Kufic script, which is much more appropriate than Saddam's handwriting, in my opinion.

I have always been amazed by the number of times Muslims say "Allah Akbar" every day. It is part of the salat (daily prayer) after all. Arabs say "Allah Akbar" as an expression of hope and Iraqis also say "Allah Akbar" in response to horror and sadness, in a desperate attempt to ask for help from the Almighty. Self-proclaimed Muslims have often said "Allah Akbar" at the most inappropriate times, like when beheading people, or when detonating explosives passed by US troops and Iraqi security forces. It seems so wrong to yell "Allah Akbar" when murdering people.

As a secular Shi3i Iraqi American I have mixed feelings about the words "Allah Akbar" printed on the Iraqi flag. The biggest problem I have is that Saddam Hussein added those words to the flag in his handwriting. Zeyad (the atheist?) has posted Saddam's flag with Saddam's handwriting. Also look at Konfused Kid's amusing post, and look at CMAR II's post to see what the Iraqi flag looked like before the Baath party took over.

I am not surprised that the Iraqi government has decided to keep the words "Allah Akbar" on the Iraqi flag, given that most Iraqis are Muslim, and the current government is composed of many religious Muslims. Nor should it be surprising that the three stars are gone, because they represented the "unity" between Iraq, Syria, and Egypt - a big lie unless the only Iraqis are Sunni Arab. I do not blame the Kurds for not wanting to fly the Ba3thi flag.

Iraq has been through hell in the last 28 years. I hope and pray that peace will soon come to Iraq. I salute the new flag because the script is Kufic and because GOD IS GREAT.

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