Iraq: Sunni leader congratulates Hamas for victory

A senior Sunni Arab cleric Friday congratulated Hamas on its victory in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections and urged the United States and Europe to respect the result, saying they had nothing to fear. "I bless Hamas and congratulate them for their great victory," said Sheik Ahmed Abdul Ghafour al-Samaraie, who heads the Sunni Endowment, the government agency in charge of maintaining Sunni mosques and shrines. "I would like to tell the European states and America to respect the people's choice," he said following a Friday prayer service at the Umm al-Qura mosque. "There is no need to be provoked and upset. All those utterly inappropriate claims that they are terrorists are wrong," he said of Hamas.