Bahraini Scholars Slam Saudi Paper’s Insulting Cartoon of Revered Iraqi Cleric

A group of Bahraini religious scholars have condemned in strongest terms the Saudi-owned and London-based daily Asharq al-Awsat newspaper over an offensive cartoon depicting Iraq’s most prominent Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.


The scholars, in a joint statement released on Monday, praised the 89-year influential cleric as the epitome of prudence, virtue and piety, stating that the clergyman is fairly concerned about the unity of the Muslim world as well as its interests, irrespective of followers’ sects and races.


“Ayatollah Sistani is concerned about the rights, freedom and dignity of every human being, not matter whether they are Arab or non-Arab, dark-skinned or fair-skinned and followers of a certain faith or religious sect. What definitively proves such a fact is his [June 2014] fatwa (religious decree) against the tumor of Daesh [Takfiri terrorist group]. The fatwa preserved the sovereignty and unity of Iraq in the face of the US-Zionist project, and safeguarded the dignity of Iraqis, Sunnis, Shias, Kurds, Arabs and Izadis,” the statement noted.


The Bahraini scholars then roundly denounced the daily’s affront to Ayatollah Sistani, saying divisive motives were behind the insult.


“All efforts of the Muslim world’s enemies and their agents have failed and this trend will continue … Such a despicable abuse exposed the rogue nature of its plotters, and only unified all walks of the Iraqi nation to support the key religious figure and safeguard the country’s sovereignty, independence and unity,” they added.


On Sunday, thousands of Iraqi protesters converged outside the gates of the heavily-fortified Green Zone in the capital Baghdad, which is home to several embassies and government offices, including parliament and the prime minister’s office, seeking to break into the Saudi embassy.


The participants demanded that the Iraqi government adopt a clear stance on the insult to the prominent religious figure. Security forces used tear gas to disperse the protesters who were trying to enter the area.


There were reported injuries among the demonstrators after the Green Zone Protection Forces assaulted them.


Separately, the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement strongly condemned the offensive cartoon, emphasizing that Ayatollah Sistani enjoys a sublime position in the hearts and minds of Muslims.


“Ayatollah Sistani has always preserved Iraq’s safety, political stability and national unity,” the Lebanese resistance movement said in a statement released on Saturday evening, pointing to the fatwa issued by the cleric, which called on all Iraqi citizens to defend their country shortly after Daesh unleashed its terror campaign in Iraq.


The fatwa helped Shia fighters, Sunni tribesmen as well as Christian and Izadi volunteers gather under the umbrella of the Popular Mobilization Units, commonly known as Hashd al-Sha’abi, to prevent Daesh’s advances.


Hezbollah regretted the Saudi-owned newspaper’s disgraceful affront to Ayatollah Sistani, stressing that no one can undermine the distinguished religious figure’s honorable position and his leading role in Arab and Muslim societies.

Source: Press TV

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