The statement of the Supreme Religious Authority on the current situation in Iraq.

The supreme religious authority emphasized that real reform and the desired change in the administration of the country should be carried out peacefully, which is possible if the Iraqis join forces to demand specific demands in this regard.

These were the important points stated in the second sermon of Friday prayers on this day of 26th Safar 1441 AH corresponding to October 25, 2019, which was held in the holy shrine of Imam al-Hussayn (peace be upon him) and led by his eminence Sheikh Abd al-Mahdi al-Karbala'i, in which he stated:

Dear brothers and sisters, we will read the text we received from the Office of His Eminence Sayed al-Sistani in Najaf:

In the name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

In these delicate times of the history of Iraq, where the popular demonstrations are renewed in Baghdad and a number of provinces, we call on our beloved demonstrators and dear security forces to adhere strictly to the peaceful character of the demonstrations and not to allow the use of violence, riots and sabotage.

We call on the participants in these demonstrations to refrain from harming and assaulting security personnel in any way. We also call on them to respect the public and private funds and not to attack government facilities or citizens' properties or of any other entity.

Attacking the security personnel by throwing stones, incendiary bottles or other objects, and damaging public or private property by burning, looting and vandalism are unwarranted by religion and law, and are contrary to the peacefulness of the demonstrations and pushes away the demonstrators from fulfilling their legitimate demands and holding the perpetrators accountable.

We remind the security forces that peaceful demonstrations without prejudice to public order are a right guaranteed by the Constitution to citizens. They must give full protection to the protesters in the squares and streets reserved for their presence, and avoid being dragged into the collision with them. And they should have the utmost restraint in dealing with them while they are performing their duty within the framework of law enforcement and maintaining public in order not to allow chaos and encroachment on government installations and private property.

The emphasis of the religious authority on the need for peaceful protests to be free from violence, stems not only from its concern to keep away harm from its children of the protesters and security elements, but also from its keenness on the future of this country, which suffers from many complications that might lead to slip into violence and the corresponding violence, chaos and devastation, which will pave the way to further external interference, and becomes an arena for settling scores between some international and regional powers. And some unfortunate events can occur like what occurred in some other countries that have not been able to get rid of their consequences even after many years.

Real reform and the desired change in the administration of the country should be carried out peacefully. And this is possible if the Iraqis join forces and are united in demanding specific demands in this regard.

There are many reforms agreed upon by the Iraqis as they demanded them for a long time, the most important of which is the fight against corruption and the adoption of clear and strict mechanisms to prosecute the corrupt and retrieve the money of the people from them, and care for social justice in the distribution of the country's wealth by repealing or amending some laws that grant great privileges to senior officials, members of the House of Representatives and some certain groups at the expense of the rest of citizens, adopting fair controls in government employment away from quotas and cronyism, and take strict measures to restrict arms to the state, and to stand firm in front of foreign interference in the affairs of the country, and enact a fair election law that gives to the Citizens the confidence in the electoral process and attract them to participate in them.

Once again, we call on the demonstrators not to let their anger at the poor conditions, the spread of corruption and the absence of social justice to the point of violating the properties and attacking the security forces or public or private property.

The security forces are your fathers, brothers and sons, many of whom participated in your defense in the fight against ISIS terrorists and others who wanted to harm you. Today they are doing their duty to maintain public order, they should be treated with respect and appreciation. Thus, do not allow some of those having bad purposes to penetrate in your lines and to exploit your demonstrations by attacking these dear ones or the government facilities or private property.

We assure the security forces not to forget that the demonstrators are your fathers, brothers and sons, who are demanding their right to a free and dignified life and a decent future for their country and people. So, deal with them with leniency and kindness.

It remains to point out that the published report on the results of the investigation into the bloodshed and destruction of property did not achieve the expected goal and did not disclose all the facts clearly to the public opinion. Therefore, it is now important to form an independent judicial body to follow up this issue and inform the public of the results of its investigation with professionalism and transparency.

We ask God Almighty to protect Iraq and its people from the evil and the machination of the enemies. He is the Most Merciful.
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