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Radical Iraqi Cleric Proposes Bill to Criminalize Relations With Israel

Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s political bloc will criminalize the normalization of relations with Israel.
IRAQI SHI’ITE cleric Muqtada al-Sadr shows his ink-stained finger after casting his vote at a polling station during the parliamentary election in Najaf, Iraq, on May 12. (credit: REUTERS)
IRAQI SHI’ITE cleric Muqtada al-Sadr shows his ink-stained finger after casting his vote at a polling station during the parliamentary election in Najaf, Iraq, on May 12. (credit: REUTERS)

The radical Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announced on Saturday that his political bloc in the Iraqi parliament will submit a bill criminalizing the normalization of relations with Israel.

The Iranian regime-linked Sadr tweeted to his 1.8 million followers: “The Sadrist bloc and its allies … will soon announce a draft project to criminalize normalization and dealing with the Zionist entity at all.”

He said the “issue of normalization and Israeli ambitions to dominate our beloved Iraq.” According to the Kurdistan outlet Rudaw, Sadr said the prevention of Israeli-Iraqi bi-lateral relations “was one of the core reasons that got the Sadrist Movement involved with the electoral process again.”

Arab nations such as Morocco, Bahrain, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates have normalized relations with Israel under the umbrella of the US-led Abraham Accords, triggering panic among countries with pro-Iranian regime Shi’ite politicians like Iraq and Lebanon.

Sadr’s Shi’ite bloc is the largest political faction in the Iraqi parliament, winning 73 seats in the October election. The cleric said that after the bill is submitted by his party, the legislation will be forwarded to the parliament for a vote.

The fanatical Shi’ite cleric Sadr was harbored by Iran’s regime from 2007 until 2011 and studied in the religious city of Qom to advance his clerical resume. In September 2019, he was filmed seated with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the then Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force head Maj.-Gen. Qasem Soleimani. The US eliminated Soleimani during a January 2020 military strike. 

According to Rudaw, Sadr slammed a  conference advocating for Iraq to join the Abraham Accords that was held in the Kurdish capital of Erbil in September. He said Erbil “must forbid such terrorist Zionist meetings” and urged the Iraqi government to arrest the attendees.

“We shall take responsibility for what must be done according to Sharia,” he tweeted in response to the conference.

In 2020, the influential radical cleric issued a fiery anti-gay and anti-American diatribe against the city of Chicago in his effort to stop Iraqi women from protesting gender segregation. Sadr tweeted last week that he “will not allow Iraq to become a Kandahar of religious extremists, nor a Chicago of immorality and homosexuality.”According to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), “His statement is a reference to a slogan from Iraqi protests years ago, when demonstrators chanted ‘Baghdad will not become Kandahar, we want Baghdad to be Chicago.'”

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