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Ayatollah Sistani for Nobel Peace Prize?

Iraqi Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who has been increasingly critical of the Iraqi government, is getting support for a bid for Nobel Peace Prize.
BAGHDAD, IRAQ:  A V-sign for victory is flashed in front of a portrait of religious leader of Iraq's Shiite majority Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani during a march through the streets of Baghdad, 08 June 2004, heeding Sistani's latest call as they headed from the northern district of Al-Shaab toward the coalition's headquarters. The 2000 demonstrators denounced the interim constitution as an instrument of the United States, drafted behind closed doors with the aid of the US-picked and now dissolved Governing
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Journalist Colin Freeman wrote a March 4 article for The Telegraph's blog titled, “Forget Obama and the EU. The man who should really have the Nobel Peace Prize is an obscure Iraqi cleric.” In it, he offered up several pieces of evidence to support his theory that this year’s Nobel Peace Prize should be given to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, thus stirring a global campaign calling for Sistani’s nomination for the prize. This was not the first time that the idea has come up. In 2005, several parties, including specialists on Iraqi affairs and several Iraqi minorities, proposed this idea. The same year, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman made the case for a Nobel for Sistani, writing, "If some kind of democracy takes root [in Iraq], it will also be due in large measure to the instincts and directives of the dominant Iraqi Shiite communal leader, Ayatollah Sistani."

It is not surprising to see Sistani’s name come up for the prize, given his prominent role in deterring religious extremism, promoting forgiveness and peace and acting wisely during Iraq's occupation and sectarian strife. His behavior made him Iraq’s safety valve, and his absence in times of distress would have led to far worse humanitarian catastrophes in Iraq.

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