U.S. Attack on Mosque Likely to Inflame Anti-American Sentiment, Experts Say

April 7, 2004

Source: USA Today


On April 7, 2004 USA Today reported, "The U.S. attack on a mosque compound in Fallujah on Wednesday is likely to further inflame anti-U.S. sentiment among Iraqis and strengthen growing bonds between Sunni and Shiite Muslims resisting the U.S. occupation, several experts on the region say. 'This obviously makes a bad situation worse,' says Jim Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute in Washington. Although U.S. officials said Marines were responding to hostile fire from within the mosque compound, Zogby says Arabs will see the Iraqi action as legitimate and the American action as wrong. 'Given that 90% of Arabs viewed the entire Iraq operation as illegitimate, any action will be seen through that prism,' Zogby says. 'The Iraqis are viewed as shooting at occupiers'...How badly the mosque attack inflames Muslim rage could depend on factors that aren't entirely clear yet, such as how the attack will be portrayed by Arab news media and how Muslim religious figures respond. Initial Arab reaction was somewhat muted by the fact that U.S. forces kept reporters away from the site. Arabs reached by telephone in the region said there were no close-up pictures of the mosque on Arab satellite television channels and Web sites. There also appeared to be no confirmation that 25 people were killed in the compound."