Abdul-Majid al-Khoei

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Sayyid Abdul Majid al-Khoei
Born (1962-08-16)16 August 1962
Najaf, Iraq
Died 10 April 2003(2003-04-10) (aged 40)
Najaf, Iraq
Other names السيد عبد المجيد الخوئي
Religion Twelver Shi'a Islam

Sayyid Abdul Majid al-Khoei (About this sound pronunction  AHB-duhl mah-JEED al- HOO-EEE[needs IPA] (السيد عبد المجيد الخوئي) (Arabic), 16 August 1962 – 10 April 2003) was a Twelver Shia cleric and the son of Ayatollah Al-Udhma Sayyid Abul Qasim al-Khoei. He was born in the holy city of Najaf.[1]

Life[edit]

He lived and studied under his father in Najaf until 1991. During the Shia uprising of 1991 he actively took part in the fighting against Saddam's Ba'ath Party but also acted as a force of moderation attempting to minimize revenge killings. When the uprising was crushed he was forced to leave Iraq. His father died a year later in 1992 at the age of 93, while still under house arrest in Iraq.

In exile in London, he worked for the al-Khoei Foundation, a charitable foundation set up by his father in 1989. He became its head in 1994 when his brother, Sayyid Mohammed Taqi al-Khoei, was killed whilst driving back to Najaf from a visit to Kerbala.[2]

He was also an outspoken critic of Saddam Hussein's rule: "The regime's criminal acts, beginning in 1968, have been never-ending. Executions, the closing of schools, mosques and shrines sacred to Shia worshipers; the burning of old religious scriptures; looting the sacred sites of gifts left by presidents and kings." He did, however, also call for unity. Speaking in December 2002, al-Khoei said, "We are looking for a new Iraq in which everyone has a share... we want to forget the past and shake the hand of everyone".[3]

Assassination[edit]

He returned to Iraq in April 2003 after the fall of Saddam despite being warned of the dangers. He arrived in Najaf on 3 April.[1] Speaking to The Times upon his arrival to the city, he said everyone "wanted news on Baghdad because they see that as the key test to whether this will be 1991 all over again."[4] Though assigned protection, the protective unit could not follow him into the shrine of Imam Ali in Najaf on 10 April 2003.[3] Here he was attacked and hacked to death by a mob.

Muqtada al-Sadr was suspected by U.S. and Iraqi authorities of ordering the assassination.[5] According to witnesses, at the mosque he was walking with Haydar Al-Killidar Al-Rufaye, the custodian of the shrine under Saddam, and they were confronted by an angry mob, some of whom are reported to have shouted "Rufaye is back" and others "Long live al-Sadr". The mob killed Al-Rufaye with bayonets and knives; al-Khoei, who was critically injured by this time, was killed later. According to author Patrick Cockburn, eyewitness accounts say Khoei, stabbed and bleeding, stumbled to the door of Muqtada's nearby house and pleaded for help. Muqtada sent a note outside saying, "Don't let them sit by my door," and Khoei died shortly after that.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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