Iraqi Shiite residents of Baghdad's Sadr City expressed anger yesterday 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 neighbourhood. "That picture abuses our Imam Mahdi and his holy character, and mocks our sacred figures," said resident Abu Riyam, apparently mistaking the satirical movie still of Jesus for one of Shiite Islam's historical imams, whose images adopt a Jesus-like iconography.
[..]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.