Mosque Attacked, Iraq Explodes

C.E. Dorsett

Chills devoured me when I heard yesterday about the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra. I was horrified. This morning's headlines are no better:

More than 100 people were feared to have been killed in a wave of reprisals and execution-style killings since a bomb attack yesterday that reduced the Golden Mosque in Samarra, one of the most sacred Shia shrines, to rubble (Times of London).

My heart and prayers go out to victims of this violence on all sides. May they find a peaceful solution.

What is the Golden Mosque?

The Al Askari Mosque or Al Askari Shrine (...) is a Shiite Muslim holy site located in the Iraqi city of Samarra. It is one of the most important Shiite mosques in the world, built in 944 [1]. The remains of the tenth and eleventh Shia Imams, Ali al-Hadi and his son Hassan al-Askari, known as the two Askaris (al-`Askarīyāni), rest at the shrine [2]. It stands adjacent to a shrine to the twelfth, or hidden Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi. The Al Askari shrine is also known as the Tomb or Mausoleum of the Two Imams, the Tomb of Imams Ali al-Hadi and Hassan al-Askari, and al-Hadhrat al-Askariyyah (Wikipedia).

The modern city of Samarra is situated on the bank of the river Tigris some sixty miles from the city of Baghdad. The city is of outstanding importance because of its two shrines. The golden dome on one shrine was presented by Nasr al-Din Shah and completed under Muzaffar al-Din Shah in the year 1905 A.D. Beneath the golden dome are four graves, those of Imam Ali al-Naqi (10th Imam) and his son, Imam Hasan al-Askari (11th Imam). The other two are of Hakimah Khatoon, the sister of Imam Ali al-Naqi who has related at length the circumstances of the birth of Imam al-Mahdi and the fourth grave is of Nargis Khatoon, the mother of Imam al-Mahdi, peace be upon him. The second shrine marks the place where Imam al-Mahdi went into concealment. It has a dome that is distinguished for the soft delicate design that is worked in blue tiles, and beneath it is the Sardab (cellar) where the Imam is said to have disappeared. Visitors may enter this Sardab by a flight of stairs (

This helps me understand the anger, but I hope civil war can be avoided.