Shiite cleric wants Bush checked by shrink

May 11, 2004 at 8:45 AM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, May 11 (UPI) -- A senior Shiite cleric Tuesday said U.S. President George W. Bush should undergo a psychiatric exam before the November presidential election.

The Iran-backed Sheik Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, spiritual guide for many Lebanese Shiites, told American journalists in Beirut, "looking at the mentality of President Bush who considers him the second messiah in the world, one cannot expect him to act reasonably.

"The man has been presenting himself as a messenger from God with a mission to rule the world and spread the values he believes in ... That is why I suggest to have him examined by psychiatrists, with all due respect, because we respect sick people," Fadlallah said.

Fadlallah, who is regarded by some as the spiritual mentor of Lebanon's militant Hezbollah, also urged Bush to "look at the statue of liberty every morning to know that people love their freedom as much as the Americans do.

"That is why we are opposed to the U.S. occupation of Iraq and condemn U.S. practices there," he added.

He also defended Palestinian suicide attacks against Israel saying "it is the only means left for the Palestinians to defend themselves after Israel's war machine confiscated their life and security."

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