SHAFAQNA – The Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Sistani expressed important stances on recent reform movement in Iraq in the sermons of today’s Friday prayers in Karbala.
The statement read today by the representative of the Supreme Religious Authority, Hojjat al-Islam Sheikh Abdul Mahdi Karbala’i, in the Friday prayers sermons, in Karbala, is as follows:
Popular protests calling for reform continue in more than one place, with clear images of Iraqi characteristics such as courage, sacrifice, patience, stability, solidarity and compassion. Today, we again remember loved ones who were killed in the Reform Movement and sympathize with their families, and we pray to God to recuperate the wounded, and again emphasize the prosecution of the perpetrators. Here I need to make a few points:
First, there is a unique opportunity for the political forces that hold power to respond to the demands of citizens based on the agreed roadmap to be implemented over a specified period of time and end the long period of corruption, deadly quotas and lack of social justice. Procrastination is not allowed because it brings great risks to the country.
Second, maintaining the peaceful nature of the protests in all its forms is of the utmost importance and it is the primary responsibility of the security forces to avoid resorting to violence with peaceful protesters, specially, excessive violence; violence is unacceptable and has serious consequences, as most protesters have been seen to observe the peaceful process and avoid attacks on security forces, government agencies and private properties. Therefore, the few individuals who continue to engage in acts of aggression against private and public properties should be directed to keep the protests away from anything that distorts it because it poses great risks to the country.
Third, peaceful demonstrations are the right of every Iraqi adult through which he expresses his views and demands his rights. So everyone who wants, participate in it and anyone who does not want, does not participate in it, and no one has the right to oblige anyone else to do what he wants. And it is not appropriate that participation or non-participation be an excuse to exchange accusations between citizens who disagree with one another, but everyone should respect each other’s opinions.
Fourth, in the past decades, there have been parties and factions inside and outside Iraq that have played a prominent role in the calamities and repression of Iraqis, and they are now working to exploit the protest movement to achieve some of their goals. So, the protesters and others should be keenly aware of the exploits of these parties and factions from any opportunity they can use to infiltrate the protesters and change the path of their reform movement.
Fifth, our loved ones in the armed forces and those who joined them in the fight against ISIS terrorism and in defending the Iraqi nation, territory and sanctities, especially those protecting sensitive borders and places, have a great right upon everyone. Therefore, their virtues and greatness should not be ignored, and it is not permissible to hear words that undermine their great sacrifices and if it is possible today to hold peaceful demonstrations and rallies away from the harassment of terrorists, it is due to such heroes and they are highly respected.
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