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BAGHDAD, IRAQ - DECEMBER 5: Noel Abdel Wahid (R), 14, and her mother Sadia share a tender moment in their outdoor kitchen at their home in the sprawling Shiite slum of Sadr City December 5, 2003 in Baghdad, Iraq. Noel is supposed to marry a cousin, who she does not want to marry, but feels she must in order to escape the poverty she lives in and to help her parents escape poverty. Powerless under Saddam Hussein and predominately poor, the Shiites of Iraq now find themselves as major players on the world stage, often at odds with the world's only remaining superpower. Making up over 65 percent of Iraq's population the success or failure of the United States' occupation of Iraq rests squarely on the shoulders of this previously marginalized group of people. The Shiites of Iraq are a diverse people whose beliefs range from the radical, as seen in Muqtada al-Sadr's morals court, to the progressive, as seen at Baghdad's elite universities where Shiites, Sunnis, and Christians mix freely. They are a people who have survived Saddam's killing fields, found solace in their religious rituals, and are now poised to take the reins of power for the first time in modern history. (Photo by Matt Moyer)
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©2003 Matt Moyer
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Shiites of Iraq
BAGHDAD, IRAQ - DECEMBER 5: Noel Abdel Wahid (R), 14, and her mother Sadia share a tender moment in their outdoor kitchen at their home in the sprawling Shiite slum of Sadr City December 5, 2003 in Baghdad, Iraq. Noel is supposed to marry a cousin, who she does not want to marry, but feels she must in order to escape the poverty she lives in and to help her parents escape poverty. Powerless under Saddam Hussein and predominately poor, the Shiites of Iraq now find themselves as major players on the world stage, often at odds with the world's only remaining superpower. Making up over 65 percent of Iraq's population the success or failure of the United States' occupation of Iraq rests squarely on the shoulders of this previously marginalized group of people. The Shiites of Iraq are a diverse people whose beliefs range from the radical, as seen in Muqtada al-Sadr's morals court, to the progressive, as seen at Baghdad's elite universities where Shiites, Sunnis, and Christians mix freely. They are a people who have survived Saddam's killing fields, found solace in their religious rituals, and are now poised to take the reins of power for the first time in modern history. (Photo by Matt Moyer)