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Iraq: Sadr calls for armed militias not to be included in security during Shia pilgrimage

Iraq's Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr holds a press conference in Najaf, Iraq on August 30, 2022 [Karar Essa/Anadolu Agency]
Iraq's Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr holds a press conference in Najaf, Iraq on August 30, 2022 [Karar Essa/Anadolu Agency]

Prominent Iraqi leader Moqtada Al-Sadr yesterday called to keep the Popular Mobilisation Forces and the Peace Brigades, the military wing of his Sadrist movement, away from any security work during the Shia religious observance of Arbaeen.

The Arbaeen, a holy day for Shia Muslims which begins on Friday evening and lasts until Saturday evening, commemorates the 40th day after the Day of Ashura, the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein Ibn Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Al-Sadr has instructed his followers to march towards Karbala to participate in commemorating the holy day, he also told them to respect the religious value of the event, instructing them that no faction, party, military, or sect raise its banners.

"Do not raise pictures at all, neither for martyrs nor anyone else, for all of them, may God Almighty be pleased with them, are in heaven with Imam Hussein," Al-Sadr said.

He also urged his followers to "adhere to the highest levels of patience, wisdom, and morals", refrain from describing others as "Baathist, terrorist, militia or other descriptions" and to show respect to foreign visitors, especially Iranians.

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