Baghdad – Fadhel al-Nashmi
Friday, 4 December, 2020 – 10:00
Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr speaks during a media conference in Najaf, Iraq (Alaa Al-Marjani/Reuters).
A call by Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to “restore the Shiite home” was met with wide rejection by civil movements and groups, who warned that such slogans would drag the country again into sectarian strife.
Al-Sadr accused those he described as “a group of foolish boys” of seeking to dishonor the revolutionaries with external support.
“I find that it is in the urgent interest to accelerate the restoration of the Shiite home through intensive meetings in order to draft its doctrinal honor charter…,” he said on Twitter.
The concept of the “Shiite home” goes back to 2004, when late politician Ahmed Chalabi established it to include Shiite forces and parties defending the idea of the Shiites’ right to rule the country given their majority among the population. But the idea did not gain the necessary consensus and most of the main Shiite forces rejected it.
Observers believe that Sadr’s new call falls in the context of his recent struggle with the protest groups, which have openly accused him and his political movement of being behind the attack on the sit-in squares, especially last Friday’s events, which took place in the city of Nasiriyah and led to the killing of seven protesters and the injury of 90 others.
Activists announced on Thursday that the supreme Shiite cleric, Ali al-Sistani, met with a group of protesters, who asked for his protection from the continuous attacks against them.
Sadr’s call also faces widespread rejection within the Shiite popular circles, as well as among the rest of the components.
In this context, the head of the National Wisdom Movement, Ammar al-Hakim, is not likely to welcome Sadr’s invitation, especially as he has been seeking for weeks to build a “cross-sectarian” political alliance to engage in the upcoming elections.