Antichrist Won’t Sign Fraternity Doc With Pope Francis

A damaged cross is pictured atop St. George Monastery in Mosul, Iraq, June, 9, 2019. Pope Francis plans to visit Iraq March 5-8. (Photo: CNS/Marcin Mazur)

Iraqi Official Says Top Shi’a Cleric Won’t Sign Fraternity Doc With Pope Francis

By Elise Anne Allen

ROME (Crux) – Despite widespread speculation that Pope Francis and top Shi’a cleric Grand Ayatollah Al-Sistani will sign a document on human fraternity during their meeting in Iraq next month, an Iraqi state official has said the rumors are false.

According to the Iraqi Kurdish news site “Rudaw,” in comments made during a media roundtable, Senior Undersecretary of Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nizar Al-Khair Allah called the Holy Father’s scheduled visit with Al-Sistani “historic.”

A visit like this “has not been witnessed in the history of the Hawza,” he said, referring to a prestigious seminary for Shi’a clerics, “but it won’t include any signings or agreements.”

Pope Francis is set to meet Al-Sistani March 6 as part of his 4-day visit to Iraq, during which he is expected to make stops in Baghdad, Erbil, Qaraqosh, Mosul, the Plain of Ur, and Najaf, where Al-Sistani lives.

For some weeks it has been rumored that during his private meeting with Al-Sistani, the two would sign the Document on Human Fraternity, originally signed by Pope Francis and the Gran Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, during the pope’s visit to Abu Dhabi in 2019.

However, Khair Allah’s statement that there will be no agreements made or document signed appears to debunk that rumor. Al-Sistani himself, who is 90, does not usually leave Najaf and rarely receives visitors, making his conversation with the pontiff even more significant.

In his remarks to state media, Khair Allah also said the pontiff would be provided local security, saying, “The Vatican would like Pope Francis to come via an Iraqi plane with the provision of Iraqi protection.”

Although the trip is less than a month away, some have speculated whether the visit will actually take place, with security being one of the top concerns in addition to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Initially an alarm was raised in January when two ISIS suicide bombers at a crowded market in Baghdad claimed dozens of lives. Since then, there have been periodic rocket strikes in residential areas of Erbil, raising concern that more attacks could take place as the papal visit gets closer.

The latest of these rocket attacks took place Feb. 15, when a barrage of rockets targeted the main military base inside Erbil’s airport. Among other things, the base hosts foreign troops deployed as part of the US-led coalition helping Iraqi forces to fight ISIS.

However, not all of the rockets hit their target. Several struck portions of Erbil’s northwestern sector, killing one foreign civilian contractor and wounding at least nine others, including an American soldier.

A group that calls itself “Awliya al-Dam,” meaning “Guardians of the Blood,” claimed responsibility, saying it would continue to attack the American “occupation” forces in Iraq.

After the incident, senior Iraqi Shi’a cleric and leader of the country’s Sadrist Movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, said he believes the rocket strike was launched in a bid to either cancel or postpone Pope Francis’s March visit, which would mark the first time a pope has ever set foot in the country.

Sadr said it is now the government’s task to deal with any security concerns with “caution and wisdom.”

Immediately after Monday’s rocket attacks, rumors began circulating in local media that the papal visit would be postponed, however, the Vatican’s ambassador to Iraq, Archbishop Mitja Leskovar, denied the reports, saying in a statement that “in some Arabic media is circulating a fake news that Pope Francis is delaying his visit to Iraq. The truth is that it remains scheduled from 5-8 March 2021.”

Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also quickly put out a statement promising action, saying, “the government will take all means to fight the remnants of terrorism in any form and under any name and is determined to continue the war against these groups.”

In an interview with Vatican News, Bishop Basel Yaldo, an auxiliary bishop in Baghdad and general coordinator of the papal trip, said Iraqis are awaiting the pope “with all our hearts.”

“For decades, we have been waiting for a pope. For us, it will be a truly historic event,” he said, adding that after decades of war and violent conflict, the people want peace, “and we are sure that Pope Francis’s visit will bring hope to all Iraqis, not just Christians.”

Pope Francis’s visit comes at a time when many experts and observers fear that it is only a matter of time before Christianity disappears from the Middle East entirely.

In Iraq alone, hundreds of thousands have left in recent years as a direct result of war, discrimination, violent persecution, and poverty. As of 2003, there were roughly 1.5 million Christians in Iraq, while today that figure is closer to just 300,000.

In his comments, Yaldo said that when the pope visits the villages burned and pillaged during the ISIS insurgency on the Nineveh Plain, he will bring the solidarity of the entire Church with him, and a prayer for unity.

All papal events, he said, will show that the pope is coming “for all the people of Iraq, without any distinction.”

Antichrist slams ‘interference of neighboring states’ following Turkish threats of Shingal operation

Sadr slams ‘interference of neighboring states’ following Turkish threats of Shingal operation ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Wednesday slammed foreign interference in Iraq, calling on the government to pay close attention to the northern district of Shingal (Sinjar), following threats by Turkish officials to launch a military operation against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the area. “I will not accept the interference of neighboring states of Iraq in the Iraqi affairs, or an assault on beloved Iraq, just as I don’t ever accept Iraq to be a launchpad for attacks against neighboring states,” the head of the Sadrist movement tweeted on Wednesday. Three brigades of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF, Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic) were deployed to the Shingal region on Friday after the Turkish threats. Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, visiting Baghdad and Erbil in January, said he discussed the PKK presence in Shingal in his meetings with Iraqi and Kurdish officials. “We told the parties that Turkey is ready to provide support for eliminating terrorists in Iraq’s Sinjar region if they seek any help or support,” he said, state-run Anadolu Agency reported. Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin reiterated this stance in an interview last week. Turkey launched a fresh offensive, dubbed Operation Claw-Eagle 2, on Mount Gara on February 10 with the purpose of targeting suspected PKK positions there. The operation ended on Sunday. Turkey claims to have killed 51 PKK fighters and arrested two during the offensive, while the armed group claims only 15 of its own died in the operation. Turkey has previously carried out airstrikes on alleged PKK targets in Shingal. Sadr also condemned Monday’s missile attacks on Erbil, where 14 rockets have been fired at the Kurdistan Region’s capital, killing one and injuring several others. “Perhaps the escalation in Sinjar, the unjustified attack in Erbil and the siege on some airports in the south [of Iraq] may be a pretext to cancel the papal visit to Iraq, all this is done via internal and external interference,” Sadr added. Pope Francis will visit Iraq in March, according to a statement by the Vatican, marking the first papal visit to the land revered by Christians for its featuring in the Bible.

The Antichrist Says We Will Not Allow Normalization with Israel

Iraqi Politician and Militia Leader Muqtada Al-Sadr: We Will Not Allow Normalization with Israel, “Even If We Have to Die for It;” Biden Administration Must Remove American Occupation from Iraq

#8678 | 01:34

Source: The Internet – “Al-Sadr’s Media Office on YouTube”

Iraqi politician and militia leader Muqtada Al-Sadr warned against normalization with Israel in a video posted on his official YouTube channel on February 10, 2021. He said that normalization with Israel is imminent and that an Israeli ambassador to Iraq is being prepared to come to Iraq. Al-Sadr said that he dares an Israeli ambassador to come to Iraq and stated that normalization with Israel is forbidden and unaccepted. He said that parliamentary and political measures must be taken to prevent this, and added: “We will never allow it even if we have to die for it.” Al-Sadr continued to say that the Biden administration must withdraw its occupying forces from Iraq in order to prevent it from becoming an “arena of regional and international conflicts.” He added that America conducts its conflicts in Iraq. Al-Sadr also said that the Iraqi people are prepared to show their power and act in order to prove the prestige of Iraq.

Antichrist Al Sadr welcomes Pope Francis’ visit to Iraq

Iraqi cleric Moqtada Al Sadr welcomes Pope Francis’ visit to Iraq

Iraqi populist cleric Moqtada Al Sadr on Sunday welcomed the visit by Pope Francis to Iraq next month, and warned against those who might oppose it.

Francis is scheduled to make the first trip to Iraq by a Catholic pope from March 5-8, visiting Baghdad and four historic sites.

“I have heard there are opponents to the visit of the Pope to our beloved Iraq. I say the openness to religions is desirable and this visit is welcome,” Mr Al Sadr said in a tweet.

“Our hearts, before our doors, are open to him,” he said, referring to himself as “the advocate for unity among religions”.

Mr Al Sadr has millions of followers in Iraq.

Pope Francis is expected to visit the capital, Baghdad, the Plain of Ur, Mosul, Erbil and Najaf where he will meet with Grand Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani, Iraq’s most senior Shiite cleric.

The pope is scheduled to sign a document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together with Ayatollah Al Sistani.

“Al Najaf Al Ashraf is the capital of religions and so he is welcomed as a peace lover,” Mr Al Sadr said.

After going to Najaf, Pope Francis will host an inter-faith meeting on the same day in the ancient city of Ur, the birthplace of Abraham, the prophet who is common to Muslim, Christians and Jews.

Pope Francis’ last full day in Iraq will take him to the northern Kurdish region, from where he will visit the city of Mosul and Qaraqosh, the largest Christian town in Iraq where the population fled when ISIS arrived in 2014.

He will hold a prayer service for those who lost their lives when the extremist militants took over the region and during the battle to drive them out.

Many of Mosul’s churches were destroyed by ISIS fighters and air strikes during the war.

The UAE is sponsoring the restoration of Al Tahera church and Al Saa’a monastery that were severely damaged in the conflict.

The UAE project in Mosul was launched in 2018 with the restoration of the 12th-century Al Nuri Mosque before being expanded to the nearby church and other buildings.

Published: February 14, 2021 05:49 PM

Antichrist warns of looming normalisation with Israel

Iraq’s Muqtada Al-Sadr warns of looming normalisation with Israel

September 2, 2020

Iraqi cleric Moqtada Sadr delivers a statement in which he backed early elections overseen by the United Nations, in an extremely rare press conference outside his home in Iraq’s holy city Najaf, on 10 February 2021. [ALI NAJAFI/AFP via Getty Images]

February 11, 2021 at 1:11 pm

Leader of the Iraqi Sadrist Movement and prominent Shia cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr said yesterday that his movement will not allow normalisation between Iraq and Israel, even if the price is “blood”.

“Normalisation is at the door, and the parliament must prevent this. We will not allow normalisation at all, even if it costs us blood,” Al-Sadr told reporters in the southern city of Najaf.

Al-Sadr did not provide further details, however, in January a new movement named October 25 was formed under the leadership of Secretary-General Talal Hariri who called to have good relations with Israel.

The Iraqi government, led by Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, has not issued a clear position on the movement’s demand.

Iraq does not officially recognise Israel, and there are no relations between the two sides.

In October 2017, the Iraqi Parliament passed a resolution prohibiting raising the Israeli flag and punishing violators with imprisonment.

Last year, the UAE, Bahrain , Sudan and Morocco signed normalisation deals with Israel. At the time of the first announcements, Iraq declared that its laws prohibited it from normalising relations with the occupation state.

Antichrist al-Sadr calls on US troops to leave Iraq

Shiite cleric al-Sadr calls on US troops to leave Iraq

Influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Wednesday called on President Joe Biden to withdraw US troops that currently serve in Iraq, to spare the country from becoming an arena for regional and international conflicts.

Influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Wednesday called on President Joe Biden to withdraw US troops that currently serve in Iraq, to spare the country from becoming an arena for regional and international conflicts. Al-Sadr has always been opposed to the US presence in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Iraqi lawmakers voted to oust US troops, following the US drone strike that killed Iran’s top general Qassim Soleimani, along with Iraq’s militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.But the way to achieve that is still unclear.

During Wednesday’s news conference near his residence in Najaf, al-Sadr also warned against the normalization with the Zionist enemy.

“It has been said that the Israeli ambassador (to Iraq) has been named, and I challenge him to come,” he said.

Al-Sadr added that there must be parliamentary and political action to prevent normalization with Israel saying that “we will not allow it even if costs us our blood.”

The Shiite leader’s political bloc won the largest share of seats in the last parliamentary elections in 2018.

(Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by http://www.republicworld.com and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Antichrist warns of looming normalisation with Israel

Iraq’s Muqtada Al-Sadr warns of looming normalisation with Israel

September 2, 2020

Iraqi cleric Moqtada Sadr delivers a statement in which he backed early elections overseen by the United Nations, in an extremely rare press conference outside his home in Iraq’s holy city Najaf, on 10 February 2021. [ALI NAJAFI/AFP via Getty Images]

February 11, 2021 at 1:11 pm

Leader of the Iraqi Sadrist Movement and prominent Shia cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr said yesterday that his movement will not allow normalisation between Iraq and Israel, even if the price is “blood”.

“Normalisation is at the door, and the parliament must prevent this. We will not allow normalisation at all, even if it costs us blood,” Al-Sadr told reporters in the southern city of Najaf.

Al-Sadr did not provide further details, however, in January a new movement named October 25 was formed under the leadership of Secretary-General Talal Hariri who called to have good relations with Israel.

The Iraqi government, led by Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, has not issued a clear position on the movement’s demand.

Iraq does not officially recognise Israel, and there are no relations between the two sides.

In October 2017, the Iraqi Parliament passed a resolution prohibiting raising the Israeli flag and punishing violators with imprisonment.

Last year, the UAE, Bahrain , Sudan and Morocco signed normalisation deals with Israel. At the time of the first announcements, Iraq declared that its laws prohibited it from normalising relations with the occupation state.

The Antichrist backs early vote in rare appearance

Iraqi Shiite cleric al-Sadr backs early vote in rare appearance

Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr delivers a statement in support of the early elections outside of his home in Iraq’s holy city Najaf, on Feb.10, 2021. (AFP Photo)

by French Press Agency – AFP

Feb 10, 2021 4:55 pm

Influential Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr expressed his support for the early elections to be overseen by the U.N. in a rare press conference outside of his home in the Iraqi city of Najaf on Wednesday.

Iraq is meant to hold early parliamentary elections this year, a central demand of an anti-government protest movement which erupted in 2019 and involved al-Sadr’s supporters.

The elections were initially set for June, nearly a year ahead of schedule, but have since been pushed back to October. Appearing in a surgical mask and traditional clerical robes, the Iraqi Shiite cleric warned against further delays.

“Delaying the elections would be a disaster for Iraq,” said al-Sadr, warning that rival parties would try to rig the vote. “I don’t want fraud. That’s why I’m asking for UN intervention and supervision,” he said.

The elections will be taking place under a new electoral law that has reduced the size of constituencies and eliminated list-based voting in favor of votes for individual candidates. Al-Sadr’s supporters are expected to make major gains under the new system.

In November, al-Sadr said he would push for the next prime minister to be a member of his movement for the first time.

On Tuesday, leading Sadrist lawmaker Hakim al-Zameli upped the ante in a televised interview.

“If the premiership goes to any party other than the Sadrist movement, it means the elections are rigged,” he said.

His comments came a day after al-Sadr supporters equipped with heavy weapons took to the streets of Najaf and other cities, including Baghdad. They stood guard along major highways in a show of force lasting a few hours.

Antichrist’s men deployed across central Iraqi cities after ‘threats’ to holy sites

PMF-affiliated militias deployed across central Iraqi cities after ‘threats’ to holy sites

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region— Members of the Peace Brigades (Saraya al Salam in Arabic) militia, followers of influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, have been deployed in droves to several Iraqi cities after receiving information about “threats” to holy sites, according to advisors to Sadr.

A statement circulated by Telegram channels affiliated with the Peace Brigades stated that “Abu Yasser,” the “jihadist aide” to Sadr, held an urgent meeting on Monday in which he declared “complete readiness” to defend holy sites, following a tweet from Sadr’s spokesperson, Saleh Muhammad al-Iraqi, about a possible threat to holy sites in Iraq.

“We have received almost certain information that there is an agreement with Baathists, ISIS [Islamic State], and infiltrators to attack some holy sites in Najaf, Holy Karbala and the capital, Baghdad,” Iraqi tweeted.

The claim follows protests in Najaf on Friday, where activists chanted “Muqtada is the enemy of Allah” – prompting Iraqi to threaten action against demonstrators.

“These slogans were issued by a group of Baathists and Daesh [ISIS] members, or people imitating the West and loving the Zionist enemy,” Iraqi said, adding “We will act in other social and legal ways, and we will make those people an example for all.”

Saraya al-Salam militia forces were deployed in the streets of Baghdad, as well as the provinces of Karbala and Najaf, according to footage shared to Telegram. Videos on Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF, or Hashd al Shaabi in Arabic) Telegram channels showed masked and armed men setting up security checkpoints to search cars in the capital.

“We will not give up on state building and its prestige…building is not done by encroaching on religious and national symbols, striking institutions, and blocking roads, but with state support,” Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi tweeted on Monday evening.

“We will not tolerate transgressors,” he added.

The militias are accused of various human rights violations against protesters.

Militia forces affiliated with Sadr raided a number of activists’ houses in Najaf province on Saturday night, activists told Rudaw English.

This came a day after a ceremony was held by activists in Najaf, to mark the one year anniversary of a massacre in Najaf’s Sadrayn square where Sadr supporters stormed an anti-government protest camp.

Twenty-three people were killed and more than 182 wounded, according to AFP.

Sadr has been a vocal supporter of reform and anti-corruption campaigns for years. When anti-government protests broke out in October 2019, he sent members the Peace Brigades to protect the demonstrators. But Sadr changed his position and by February 2020, his militias were involved in suppression of the protests.

Activist Raed al-Daami was kidnapped in Karbala on Saturday by what he believes was a Sadr-aligned militia.

A video clip published to social media showed two men forcing Daami into a car before driving him to an unknown destination.

“I was taken to an abandoned place while I was blindfolded, and I was investigated about the reasons for my participation in the annual anniversary organized by the Najaf activists in the Writers Union two days ago. This indicates that the kidnapping party is affiliated with the Sadrist movement,” Daami told Rudaw English.

Daami said that he was tortured for more than three hours and was threatened not to participate in any further demonstrations.

Killing and kidnappings are taking place elsewhere in Iraq. Ali Imad, an activist in Nasriyiah, survived an assassination attempt at dawn on Monday, when he was shot four times. Demonstrations were revived in response, activists told Rudaw English.

Videos that went viral on social media on Monday showed protesters in Nasiriyah blocking main roads in the city with burning tires to denounce the assassination attempts against activist Imad, threatening to escalate their protests if the local government and security forces do not provide adequate protection for activists.

“We will keep escalating unless the government and security forces provide protection for the demonstrators and activists in Nasiriyah.” Muhammad Yasir, an activist from the city told Rudaw English on Monday.

In November 2020, protesters in the city’s Habboubi Square were forced out of their tents and shot at by Sadr supporters, leaving at least seven people dead and scores wounded. Protesters moved back into the square a week later and vowed to continue protesting.

Antichrist Returns Stolen Christian Property

Iraq Committee Investigation of Stolen Christian Property

02/07/2021 Iraq (International Christian Concern) –  Muqtada al-Sadr, a leading Shiite politician in Iraq, officially launched the committee to investigate the illegal seizing of Christian land and homes. The committee already received dozens of complaints and requests for examination. As part of this process, members are conducting on-site visits and conducting interviews.

Iraq’s Christian population, once at 1.25 million, is now a mere 250,000. Wars and ISIS have pushed Christians out of their homeland, while opportunistic neighbors and aggressors occupied their property. In 2015, as Christians fled, the International Organization for Migration found that nearly 9 in 10 (89%) had their homes confiscated. Many Christians, around 42%, lost the paperwork to their homes and subsequently their ability to reclaim their property. Even those that had the necessary paperwork occasionally found others had fabricated documents and possessed their land.

For interviews, please contact Alison Garcia: press@persecution.org.