Attempts by the American-British troops to capture the town of al-Najaf are threatening Islamic shrines. Situated 160 kilometres south of Baghdad, Al-Najaf is a holy place for Shias /Shiism, in addition to Sunnism, is one of the main Islamic branches/ all over the world. It contains the grave of first imam Ali, revered by Shias.
The Al-Haidaria mosque erected over his grave, with two towering gilt cupolas and two minarets, is a place of pilgrimage for Shias. They believe that Muhammad's descendants, as he himself, possess divine grace. They worship Imam Ali as a sinless martyr no less than they do the prophet Muhammad himself. And many even consider him an embodiment of Allah.
Najaf is the world's centre of theology. It contains a leading Shia university and numerous religious schools. The residence of the main Shia mufti is also situated in this town.
US President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Qadimi signed an agreement on July 26 to formally end the USA's military presence in the country by the end of the year