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Investors Iraq News
11-21-2017, 05:57 AM
By Mustafa Saadoun for Al Monitor (http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/08/pmu-iraq-army-national-guard.html). Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.*
The Iraqi government, headed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, is seeking to penalize*people for*the hate speech (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgmZrydngrE) prevalent in Iraqi society by arresting anyone who expresses such ideas or promotes slogans that insult former or current religious and social figures.
Each year around*this time,*millions of Shiite Muslims (http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/13-million-gather-karbala-arbaeen-51058374)*make the pilgrimage to the shrine of Imam Hussein (https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/11/iranian-pilgrims-karbala-arbaeen-soltanifar-jahangiri.html)*in Karbala for the*festival of Arbaeen (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/arbaeen-pilgrimage-kerbala-shia-isis-defeat-muslims-thousands-killed-middle-east-iraq-najaf-a8046621.html).*People observing*Arbaeen*sometimes*raise banners (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1aPk0j_PVQ)*and shout slogans insulting Sunni figures. In the past, these people were met with*public indignation (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdfGPKnJHYs)*—*but not legal measures.
Wahab al-Tai, the interior minister’s media adviser, told Al-Monitor in an interview, “Up until Nov. 8,*the ministry*had arrested 76 people who were caught promoting sectarianism.*Out of the 76 arrested, 25 were in Karbala (https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/03/karbala-world-heritage-unesco-christianity.html) and 51 in Babil [province]. Most were Iraqis, but some foreigners were arrested as well.”
The Interior Ministry was reacting to a video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7EIOXBVf_g) that has been circulating. The video, taken in Karbala during the festival, shows*a group of followers of Shiite Grand Ayatollah*Sadiq Hussaini Shirazi (http://www.alshirazi.net/)*—*a group*known for promoting hateful speech toward important Sunni religious figures. The video shows a young man*with a loudspeaker cursing*Umar ibn al-Khattab (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2Dqm06sMrc), a senior companion of the Prophet Muhammad*considered sacred by Sunnis. Despite all the arrests, that man is still on the loose (http://www.sotaliraq.com/2017/11/09/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B7%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%AD%D9%8A-%D9%84%D8%A7-%D8%AA%D9%81%D8%A7%D9%87%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D9%84%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%81%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%AC-%D8%B9%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AA%D9%87%D9%85/).
Only two days after appearing in the first video, the same man*appeared in another video saying that he was only “expressing his opinion.”
The ministry’s measures against promoters*of sectarianism received both political and public support. Sayyid Ahmad al-Safi, the representative of Shiite*Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani*in Najaf, applauded the move*in his Friday sermon (http://www.alsumaria.tv/news/221083/%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B1%D8%AC%D8%B9%D9 %8A%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%86%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%A3%D9%81%D8%B1%D8% A7%D8%AF-%D9%85%D8%B9%D8%AF%D9%88%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%86-%D8%A8%D9%8A%D9%86-%D8% AC%D9%85%D9%88%D8%B9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B2%D8%A7%D8%A6%D8%B1%D9%8A%D9%86-%D8%B 3/ar)*in Karbala on Nov. 10.


Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. (http://www.iraq-businessnews.com/2017/11/21/authorities-clamp-down-on-sectarian-hate-speech/)

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