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Rivers of Babylon

Iraq is now home to several messianic Shia cults, all awaiting the return of the twelfth Shia imam, or Mahdi. In his name they carry out endless reprisal killings, many using their latest weapon of choice—the electric drill

By Nibras Kazimi   March 2007

A barber from Moseley

Why would a handsome, fun-loving man from Birmingham, newly possessed of British citizenship, sell his profitable business and return to his native Iraq to die in a hail of bullets? Muhammad Hussein, never known as particularly religious, recently sold his barber shop in Moseley and took his wife and two-year-old son to a settlement near Najaf, where he was probably killed when Iraqi and US forces stormed the compound of the Soldiers of Heaven cult in late January. Muhammad’s charred British passport was found among the wreckage. In the final tally, 263 cult members were killed.

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