Tag Archives: cleric

Iraqi cleric Sadr meets pro-Iran Amiri after election win

Iraqi cleric Sadr meets pro-Iran Amiri after election winBy Raya Jalabi BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) – Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, whose political bloc was declared the winner of Iraq’s parliamentary election, met Hadi al-Amiri, leader of a pro-Iran bloc, on Sunday in what Sadr portrayed as part of an inclusive discussion about government formation. During the meeting, the political rivals discussed the results of the 2018 parliamentary elections, according to a statement from Sadr’s office. “The process of government formation must be a national decision and importantly, must include the participation of all the winning blocs,” the statement said.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Firebrand cleric Moqtada al-Sadr takes shock lead in Iraq election

Firebrand cleric Moqtada al-Sadr takes shock lead in Iraq electionA firebrand cleric who led a militia which fought British and American troops in Iraq is on course to win the country’s elections, in what would be a surprise upset for Western-backed incumbent Haider al-Abadi. Moqtada al-Sadr’s Sairoon alliance of reformed Shia militants and communists was ahead in eight of Iraq's 18 provinces and second in four others. His Mahdi Army waged a brutal and costly insurgency against coalition troops during the 2006-2008 civil war and offered a reward for any British soldiers captured.  Mr Sadr has since disavowed violence against fellow Iraqis and in 2008 ordered his forces to become a humanitarian group. Mr Sadr himself rebranded as a secular nationalist, campaigning against corruption and for reform, a message which seemed to resonate with Iraqis tired of entrenched sectarianism and graft. An Iraqi woman shows her ink-stained finger after casting her vote at a polling station during the parliamentary election in the Sadr city district of Baghdad Credit: Reuters He is one of few Shia leaders to have kept his distance from neighbouring Iran, which has tried to influence Iraq’s politics and extend its reach across the region.  Mr Sadr, 44, has sought to broaden his regional support. Last year, he met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, a major US regional ally that is staunchly opposed to Iran. Crowds of mainly young people waved flags and pictures of Sadr in Sadr City, an impoverished quarter of Baghdad that is home to some 3 million people and is named after the cleric's late father, Ayatollah Mohammad Sadq al-Sadr. A ticket headed by Hadi al-Ameri, a former commander of Iran-backed Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU) that fought Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), was in second place. Videos of Sadr supporters celebrating in Baghdad show them chanting "Baghdad will be free, Iran out, out!"— Tamer El-Ghobashy (@TamerELG) May 13, 2018 Mr Ameri, an opponent of Saddam Hussein who spent years in exile in Tehran, had also made combating corruption a central plank of his platform. The preliminary results dealt a shock to Prime Minister Mr Abadi, who had been tipped as the favourite and had considerable support cross-sectarian support, particularly in Sunni areas his army liberated from Isil. The British-educated engineer appeared to be third overall and fifth in Baghdad, which holds the largest number of seats. The US had backed Mr Abadi, a consensus figure who promised to keep American troops in the country as part of its stabilisation effort. Who is Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical cleric on course to take power in Iraq? Any victory for Mr Sadr will make the continued presence of US and British soldiers, which currently number in the low thousands and hundreds respectively, an unlikely prospect.   While the expected results are not entirely good news for  Washington, it will see some comfort that staunchly pro-Iran parties did not do better at a time when relations are worsening with Tehran. "The United States government views Sadr as anti-American. Sadr, however, is a pragmatic and rational actor," said Muhanad Seloom, associate lecturer at the University of Exeter's Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies.  "Over the last 13 years, Sadr managed maintain calm relations with Iran and was able to negotiate peace with the US presence in Iraq," he told the Telegraph. "It is also important to remember that Sadr is part of Sairoon coalition which has other secularist parties not necessarily anti-American." An Iraqi man celebrates with a picture of Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in Baghdad Credit: AFP But the complex electoral arithmetic of the Iraqi system means that no party is likely to win more than half the 329 seats needed to form a majority. There is expected to be weeks of horse-trading as the dominant blocs form a coalition and agree a new parliament and a new prime minister. A senior member of Mr Sadr’s party on Monday hinted that they would not enter into a coalition with Mr Ameri’s Conquest party because of its strong sectarian allegiance. However, it could look to make up the numbers with Mr Abadi's Nasr bloc. Mr Sadr will not take up the position of premier as he did not run as a candidate, but he will be able to pick a man for the job. He has previously said he supported a second term for Mr Abadi and it could not be ruled out that any new coalition could choose him. The results, and the record low turnout of 45 per cent, point to a population fatigued by the influence of outside countries. “This is a win for Iraq,” said Ali Khadar, a student in Baghdad. “This is Iraq waking up to the problems it has been plagued by for years. Corruption is at the centre of all our issues, and this is a rejection of that.” Mr Seloom added: "in a region where outcomes of elections are almost known in advance, Iraq’s elections surprising results is a positive sign of developing democracy."  



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Firebrand cleric Sadr on course to win Iraq election

Firebrand cleric Sadr on course to win Iraq electionBy Ahmed Aboulenein BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Powerful nationalist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr was leading in Iraq’s parliamentary election with more than half the votes counted, the electoral commission said, a surprise comeback for a Shi’ite leader who had been sidelined by Iran-backed rivals. Shi’ite militia chief Hadi al-Amiri’s bloc, which is backed by Tehran, was in second place, according to the count of more than 95 percent of the votes cast in 10 of Iraq’s 18 provinces. The preliminary results are a setback for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi who, despite entering the election as the apparent frontrunner, appeared to be running third.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Shi'ite cleric Sadr leads in Iraq's parliamentary election

Shi'ite cleric Sadr leads in Iraq's parliamentary electionBy Huda Majeed and Ahmed Aboulenein BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Moqtada al-Sadr was leading in Iraq’s parliamentary election with over half of the votes counted, the electoral commission said on Sunday, pointing to a surprise comeback for the powerful Shi’ite cleric who had been sidelined by Iran-backed rivals. Shi’ite militia leader Hadi al-Amiri’s bloc, which is backed by Tehran, was in second place, according to the count of over 95 percent of the votes cast in 10 of Iraq’s 18 provinces.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Turkey orders arrest of cleric Gulen over killing of Russian envoy

Turkey orders arrest of cleric Gulen over killing of Russian envoyTurkey has ordered the arrest of the Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen and seven others over the 2016 assassination of the Russian envoy to Turkey, the Haberturk newspaper said on Monday, a day before Russian President Vladimir Putin visits the country.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Saudi cleric says abayas 'not necessary' for women in ultra-conservative kingdom

Saudi cleric says abayas 'not necessary' for women in ultra-conservative kingdom Saudi women need not wear the abaya – the loose-fitting, full-length robes symbolic of religious faith – a senior member of the top Muslim clerical body said, another indication of the Kingdom's efforts towards modernisation. On his radio programme, Sheikh Abdullah al-Mutlaq, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars, said Muslim women should dress modestly, but this did not necessitate wearing the abaya. "More than 90 percent of pious Muslim women in the Muslim world do not wear abayas," Sheikh Mutlaq said on Friday. "So we should not force people to wear abayas." While not necessarily signalling a change in the law, the statement is the first of its kind from a senior religious figure. It follows the recent pattern of freedoms the Kingdom has been witnessing with the ascent of young Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to power. Women in face-covering niqabs Credit: David Rose for the Telegraph Only the government-appointed clerics associated with the Council of Senior Scholars are allowed to issue fatwas, or Islamic legal opinions. Their interpretations of Islamic law form the basis of Saudi Arabia’s legal system. Saudi women have started wearing more colorful abayas in recent years, the light blues and pinks in stark contrast with the traditional black. Open abayas over long skirts or jeans are also becoming more common in some parts of the country. The trend marks a major change in the last couple of years. In 2016, a Saudi woman was detained for removing her abaya on a main street in the capital of Riyadh. Local media reported that she was detained after a complaint was filed with the religious police. The Kingdom has seen an expansion in women's rights recently, such as the decision passed to allow women to attend mixed public sporting events and the announcement that Saudi Arabia would grant them the right to drive. These are some of the many changes the country has undergone in recent months, hailed as proof of a new progressive trend in the deeply conservative Muslim Kingdom. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir (C) and his British counterpart Boris Johnson (L) pose for a picture during a tour of the historic quarter of Jeddah Credit: AFP But despite these changes, the gender-segregated nation is criticized for its continued constraints on women. Activists have blasted the country’s guardianship system which requires a male family member to grant permission for a woman to study abroad, travel and other activities. On Thursday, a London-based Saudi rights group, ALQST, reported the detention last month of activist Noha al-Balawi, saying she was questioned by Saudi authorities on her involvement with women's rights and human rights movements. The government's Center for International Communications did not immediately respond to requests for comment.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Minister: Norway to extradite cleric if Italy convicts him

Minister: Norway to extradite cleric if Italy convicts himCOPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Norway's justice minister said Saturday that an Iraqi-born cleric suspected of enticing recruits to fight in Iraq and Syria will be extradited if a court in Italy convicts him.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Turkey's Erdogan links fate of detained U.S. pastor to wanted cleric Gulen

Turkey's Erdogan links fate of detained U.S. pastor to wanted cleric GulenPresident Tayyip Erdogan suggested on Thursday that Turkey could free a detained U.S. pastor if the United States hands over a Muslim cleric living in Pennsylvania whom Ankara blames for a failed military coup last year. Turkey has been seeking the extradition of Fethullah Gulen, a former ally of Erdogan whose supporters are blamed for trying to overthrow Erdogan’s government in July 2016.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Saudi cleric condemns inter-Muslim conflict ahead of pilgrimage

Saudi cleric condemns inter-Muslim conflict ahead of pilgrimageBy Mahmoud Mourad MECCA (Reuters) – The imam of Mecca’s Grand Mosque denounced those who “cause conflict among Muslims” in his last Friday sermon before the annual haj pilgrimage, as rifts widen among Gulf neighbors and wars rage across the Middle East. Saudi Arabia, which hosts and supervises the haj, has with other Arab governments imposed sanctions on Qatar and cut all transport links with the country in recent months, accusing it of supporting Iran and backing Islamist terrorism – charges Doha denies. Relations between Shi’ite Muslim-led Iran and predominately Sunni Saudi Arabia are at their worst in years, with each accusing the other of subverting regional security and supporting opposite sides in conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

ISIS Chief Cleric Killed By US-Led Coalition Forces In Syria

ISIS Chief Cleric Killed By US-Led Coalition Forces In SyriaTurki al-Binali was a close confidant of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and had a central role in provoking terrorist attacks around the world,said Combined Joint Task Force.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines