Foes try to disrupt the Arba’een march by stoking unrest in Iraq: ayatollah

October 4, 2019

TEHRAN – The arrogant countries do not want the Arba’een march to take place, says Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani, a Tehran Friday prayer leader.

“Arba’een is an event that has gained the attention of the world but the arrogance (a term used by Iranian officials to refer to the U.S. and its allies) does not want this to happen,” Emami Kashani said on Friday, addressing worshippers.

He added that with God’s grace, people will “attend the Arba’een march with more security inshallah.”

The remarks came while the ongoing protests in Iraq have turned violent.

The unrest comes as millions of pilgrims are preparing to travel to the Iraqi holy cities of Najaf and Karbala to attend the Arba’een march, which marks the fortieth day after the martyrdom anniversary of their third Imam, Hussein ibn Ali (AS).

According to Press TV, demonstrations erupted on Tuesday over unemployment and poor public services, with some protesters arguing that they deserve a better life since they are living in a country with some of the world’s largest energy resources.

Emami Kashani said the enemies try to disrupt the Arba’een march because it gathers millions of Muslims from across the world and “this they cannot tolerate.”

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the top Shia cleric of Iraq, has urged security forces and protesters to avoid violence, expressing sorrow over some sporadic unrest that has led to several casualties.

“It is sorrowful there have been so many deaths, casualties and destruction” from clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces in recent days, Ayatollah Sistani said in a letter Friday.

In the letter read out by his representative Ahmed al-Safi during a sermon in the holy city of Karbala, the top cleric urged all parties to avoid violence.

He also criticized officials and political sides for failing to answer the demands of the people to fight corruption, urging them to heed the demands of the protesters “before it's too late”.

“Lawmakers hold the biggest responsibility for what is happening,” Ayatollah Sistani was quoted as saying.

Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi on Thursday expressed regret that the ongoing protests have become violent, saying he is ready to meet with representatives of the protesters to discuss their demands.

Speaking on Thursday night, the Iraqi prime minister said certain elements have been able to derail the protests from their peaceful path.  

He said there was no "magic solution" to issues such as graft, unemployment and corruption but he would begin passing a law for basic income to be meted out to poor families.

During the televised address, Abdul-Mahdi also asked the parliament, where his coalition is in majority, to give him support so that he can reshuffle his cabinet to address people's demands.

MH/PA

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