Citizen's Voice: This is what the Supreme Religious Authority said at the beginning of the protests in Iraq.

Two months or more after the beginning of the protests in a number of Iraqi cities, we recall the position of the Supreme Religious Authority since the beginning of these protests in some governorates of Iraq.

This position is clear from the statement of the office of the Supreme Religious authority, which was delivered by its representative, His Eminence, Sayed Ahmad Al-Safi, during the Friday sermon in the holy shrine of Imam al-Hussayn (peace be upon him) on 5th Safar 1441 A.H. corresponding to October 4, 2019, stating:

“In the past days, unacceptable and condemnable assaults against peaceful protestors, security forces and public and private properties have taken place in Baghdad and some provinces, and protests have been driven to many riots and bloody clashes, leading to dozens of casualties, a great number of wounded people, and so much damage to governmental and other institutions; painful scenes observed were similar to what had happened years before.

The Supreme Religious Authority has always demanded the Iraqi government to change the way they tackle Iraq’s issues by taking serious steps to reform the country and combat corruption, bypassing quotas and cronyism in state administration. And warning those who are opposed to reform and betted that demands will be reduced; to know that the reform is an unavoidable necessity and if the demonstrations — which were perhaps mild — would be back even stronger and broader.

Today, the Supreme Religious Authority re-confirms what it previously demanded from the three authorities to undertake clear practical steps towards the road of true reform. And that the biggest responsibility for pressing ahead with such reforms falls on the shoulders of the Iraqi parliament, for its legislative and supervisory authority that has a big responsibility to combat corruption. Thus, if [parliament’s] big blocs, from which sprung the government, don’t change their program and respond to the needs and necessities of reform in a true form, then nothing of it will come out on the ground.

The judiciary and the oversight authorities also bear a big responsibility in fighting corruption, chasing the corrupt, and retrieving the funds of the people. However, they haven’t done what is necessary in this regard in the past. And if things remain the same, then there is no hope in limiting the spread of corruption in the country.

As for the government, it has to rekindle its duties and do what it can to lessen the plight of the people by improving public services, provide job opportunities for the unemployed, and to abstain from favoritism in public employment. It also has to finish the pending cases of the convicted money manipulators and appropriators, as a preliminary step to bringing them to justice.

The office of the Supreme Religious Authority already suggested on August 7, 2015, in midst of the popular movement demanding reform, that the relevant authorities should form a committee comprised of well-known and highly-qualified figures in the relevant jurisdictions from outside the realm of the government, whom the Iraqis trust and are credible and known for their high efficiency and full integrity. This committee has to be tasked with determining the steps required to be taken in combating corruption and achieving the demanded reform, provided that its members are allowed to be informed accurately of the situation and meet with the influential actors in the country, especially the representatives of the demonstrators in the various governorates in order to listen to their demands and views. And if the committee completes its work and determines the required legislative, executives or juridical steps, all the prerequisites must come into effect immediately through its legal steps, even with the help with the supreme religious authority and popular support. This was the suggestion the government didn’t act upon, but it could perhaps be an appropriate solution to the current crisis.

We hope reason, logic, and the interest of the country will be given precedence by the decision-makers to tackle the country’s issues before it is too late. And we also hope that everyone realizes the perilous repercussions of the use of violence and counter-violence in the current demonstrations' movement to avoid all that.

May God guide everyone to what leads to the goodness of Iraq and its people. And Allah's peace, mercy and blessings be upon you, brothers and sisters."
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