source: Islam Online - Iraqis condemn beheading of American civilian
BAGHDAD, May 12 (IslamOnline.net) - Iraqis strongly condemned Wednesday, May13 , the beheading of an American citizen in Iraq by unknown people, saying it is against the true essence of Islam.
Dr Muthana Harith al-Dhari, Secretary General of Muslim Scholars Association, strongly denounced the killing, saying it runs counter to the teachings of Islam and "does disservice to our religion and our cause."
Deputy Head of the Islamic Party Iyaad Samarrai said the abhorrent treatment of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. soldiers should never give an excuse for treating U.S. prisoners the same way.
"This is absolutely wrong," he told IOL, asserting that "Islam does prohibit the killing or the maltreatment of prisoners."
Al-Dawa Party, led by Shiite Interim Governing Council member Ibrahim Al-Jafari, also condemned the decapitation of the American citizen in the strongest possible terms.
"Undoubtedly, we reject these acts, which run counter to the true essence of Islam and are totally unjustified," said Jawad Al-Malki, a member of the party's politburo.
He said such acts tarnish the image of Islam and play into the hands of subjective media.
"The beheading of Berg is shocking, grisly, unjustified violence and an act of terrorism," he told IOL.
"By the same token, we condemn the barbaric and terrorist practices of U.S. soldiers against Iraqi prisoners, but as we don't want this to befall our people, we don't want it to befall others as well."
William Warda, an Iraqi rights activist, criticized the beheading as "imprudent".
He said the Iraqi Human Rights Organization denounces the killing of any foreigner in such a gruesome way as it has condemned the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by occupation forces.
"We place all human beings on an equal footing irrespective of their race, religion and color," he told IOL.
source: The Age - Iraqis condemn beheading, blame US
"As Muslims we can't accept it, but we don't blame them. It was a natural reaction to the human rights violations we have seen at Abu Ghraib. What the Americans are doing now is terrible," said a 45-year-old woman dentist who refused to give her name.
"Since the man came here to do something good for Iraq, it was shameful. Whoever comes to serve this country will be treated kindly by Iraqis, but I blame the Americans for being behind such activities," said restaurant worker Falah Faisal, 30.
But Muaid Louis Abdullah Ahhad, a Christian who owns a photo shop, denounced the execution and blamed followers of wanted al-Qaeda militant Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi for the beheading.
Zarqawi, who has a bounty of $US10 million ($A14.39 million) on his head, is accused by Washington of leading a network in Iraq that has carried out attacks against the US-led coalition and civilians aimed at fanning civil conflict.
The video of Berg's killing was entitled "Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi slaughtering an American", though it was not clear if he was involved.
"These people aren't Muslims. They are just using Islam as a cover and are harming the reputation of this religion," said a 50-year-old Shi'ite engineer for Iraqi Airways who also refused to give his name.
"I didn't know about it, but if he was an American, he was innocent. He came to Iraq on a mission to help Iraqis," said Ali Abu Nabi, a 29-year-old house painter.
But his friend, Ahmed Taleb, 24, a kiosk owner, poured scorn on the Americans, saying they had done nothing to rebuild the country.
"It's the poverty that's leading these criminals to act in such a way," he said.
Overall, the reaction might best be summarized as this: horror at the beheading, outrage over the justification using Islam, and some sympathy for the revenge aspect (in terms of assigning partial blame). Since by the US military's own estimates, about 70-90% of the detainees at Abu Ghraib were innocents, I'm inclined to dismiss the latter the way I dismiss Oklahoma Senator Inhofe's dishonorable statements.
There is a useful article on Islam Online about what Islam teaches about treatment of Prisoners of War. The invocation of the murderers of Berg of the Prophet SAW as justification of their acts was particularly obscene and they will pay a price in hellfire - American first, afterlife second. Bill Allison notes that the article was spurred by the Abu Ghraib torture rather than the beheading of Berg; however I think that the detail doesn't really have direct relevance, given the reactions above.