Iraq probe after posters of religious leaders vandalised

Iraq probe after posters of religious leaders vandalised
2 min read
13 April, 2017
Posters of religious and political figures in Baghdad were torn down in an apparent act of vandalism, prompting authorities to open an investigation and replace the pictures.
Posters of religious and political figures in Baghdad were torn down [Facebook]
Iraqi authorities ordered an investigation into "acts of vandalism" after pictures and posters of religious and political figures in various areas of the capital Baghdad were torn down.

The figures in the posters included Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the leader of Iraq's Supreme Islamic Council Ammar al-Hakim, as well as Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki.

This was the second time this year posters of leading religious and political figures were torn down, a source told The New Arab, adding that the acts of vandalism were "organised".

Religious parties that have dominated the government since the US invasion of Iraq regularly accuse civil movements and seculars of "mobilising" the Iraqi people and public opinion against them.

This makes the secular movements, in the eyes of the religious parties, the "prime suspects" behind the acts of vandalism, which have become a regular phenomenon in Baghdad in the past few years.

"It has become more humorous than it is political," police captain Mohamed Hamza told The New Arab, adding that there was no law punishing vandalism, particularly when it does not affect public property.

"In fact, those parties are the ones violating public property by posting their pictures without permission," Hamza said.

Civil activist Anas Fadel said it was strange for fingers to point at civil movements in such incidents.

"Some Islamist parties are trying to demonise the civil movement and portray it to the people as a group of infidels for obvious reasons," he said.

Tearing down the posters was a "natural spontaneous reaction from young people who do not belong to any party," Fadel explained.

On Wednesday, Iraqi security personnel were seen removing and replacing the torn posters.