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Snorting Soda Out Nose

This news item just about had me rolling out of my chair. As it says, if it wasn’t so serious, it would be pretty funny.

Iraq Sadr City residents insulted by 'Buddy Jesus'

Sun Oct 1, 9:35 AM ET

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraqi Shiite residents of Baghdad’s Sadr City have expressed anger on over a picture of a grinning Jesus they mistook for a Shiite holy figure that appeared in the area after a joint US-Iraqi operation.

Residents found a picture of “Buddy Jesus” from the 1999 film “Dogma” posted in the streets, accompanied by a badly photocopied pamphlet bearing a crude approximation of a US military crest and outlining a US “plan” to subjugate the neighborhood.

“That picture abuses our Imam Mahdi and his holy character, and mocks our sacred figures,” said resident Abu Riyam Sunday, apparently mistaking the satirical movie still of Jesus for one of Shiite Islam’s historical imams, whose images adopt a Jesus-like iconography.

The grinning, winking model of Buddy Jesus giving a thumbs-up sign appeared in the comedy film as a fictional attempt by the Catholic Church to present a kinder and more accessible image of Christianity.

“If it wasn’t so serious it would be funny,” said a coalition spokesman, Major Will Willhoite.

The pamphlets outlined a so-called plan to discredit the militias in the sprawling Baghdad slum of two million people, a stronghold of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

“Destabilize security in the militia areas with explosions and assassinations to create panic” and “killing, raping and kidnapping women” were all measures the pamphlet recommended to cause people to lose faith in the militias.

“Do not tell the suspect militias of these plans, but keep them among friendly forces,” admonished the pamphlet.

The US military did not confirm that it had conducted an early-morning raid into Sadr City on Sunday, but said that an Iraqi force accompanied by coalition advisors did conduct an operation in “northeast” Baghdad.

Much of Baghdad’s violence has been laid at the feet of Shiite militias, many of whom are based in Sadr City, but US forces have yet to enter the neighborhood in force.