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Coalition Provisional Authority
Baghdad, Iraq

Contact: Shane Wolfe


Baghdad, Iraq...April 8, 2004 - Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III, Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) administrator, today issued the following statement on this occasion of Arba'een:

"In light of the current unsettled security conditions in the South, and especially in the Holy City of Najaf, we in the Coalition urge all parties to exercise great vigilance and caution during the upcoming commemoration of Arba'een.

Iraqis have been relieved of a dictator who as a matter of policy repressed their rights to practice their faith. Now, individuals who seek to take power through mob violence and by blocking Iraq's democratic path are also making it unsafe for Iraqis to worship God.

We are fighting to restore law and order so that all Iraqis can enjoy their new freedoms.

I call on all Iraqis to cooperate with the legitimate security authorities to thwart those who seek to disrupt this holy commemoration.

I know that many Iraqis and pilgrims from other countries are worried about whether they can perform their religious duty in peace and security, and some governments have urged their citizens not to go. Each individual must judge the issue for himself or herself with the counsel of their religious authorities. For our part, we and the Iraqi authorities will do all we can with limited capabilities to facilitate safety and security, but the pilgrims should make their individual judgments knowing that the dangers this year are very real."



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