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Militants Warn Iraqis Not to Take Part in Election

From Associated Press

Three militant groups warned Iraqis on Thursday against voting in the Jan. 30 election, saying that people who participated in the “dirty farce” risked attack. All 700 employees of the electoral commission in the northern city of Mosul reportedly resigned after being threatened.

The warning came a day after insurgents in Mosul launched a coordinated assault on a U.S. military outpost. The military said 25 insurgents were believed to have been slain and one U.S. soldier was killed in the battle, which involved U.S. warplanes.

The U.S. has portrayed recent attacks as the actions of a reeling insurgency, not the work of a force that is gathering strength.

The Ansar al Sunna Army and two other insurgent groups issued a statement saying that democracy was not Islamic. Democracy could lead to the passage of laws that conflict with Islam, such as permitting same- sex marriage, if the majority agrees to it, the statement said.

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“Democracy is a Greek word meaning the rule of the people, which means that the people do what they see fit,” the statement said. “This concept is considered apostasy and defies the belief in one God -- Muslims’ doctrine.”

Insurgents have intensified their strikes against the security forces of Iraq’s interim government as part of a campaign to disrupt the election of a transitional national assembly, which will write a new constitution.

The statements by the Sunni Muslim-dominated insurgent groups appeared to be aimed at countering Shiite Muslim leaders’ claims that voting was every Muslim’s duty. Iraq’s Shiite majority hopes to use the vote to wrest power from the minority Sunnis, who were favored under Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Al Jazeera TV channel reported that all 700 workers for the electoral commission in Mosul resigned Thursday amid threats.

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If true, the resignations will hamper efforts to prepare for the vote in Mosul, where it has been too dangerous for essential work to even begin, although the election is a month away.

A spokesman for the Independent Electoral Commission could not confirm Al Jazeera’s report.


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