Iraq's top Shia cleric suspends weekly political sermons

The sermons lately focused on the government's battle against Islamic State militants and anti-corruption efforts


Reuters February 05, 2016
An undated photo of top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. PHOTO: AFP

BAGHDAD: Iraq's top Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, on Friday said he would no longer deliver regular weekly sermons about political affairs, which for years have been a source of guidance for his followers.

Sistani's aide Ahmed al-Safi, who delivered the message, did not give a reason for suspending the sermons, which have lately focused on the government's battle against Islamic State militants and anti-corruption efforts.

"It has been decided not to continue this on a weekly basis at the present time, but only as demanded by events", Safi said in a televised speech from the southern shrine city of Kerbala before reciting a prayer.

Iraq's top Shia cleric calls for corrupt officials to be prosecuted

Sistani, a reclusive octogenarian, enjoys almost mythical status among millions of Shia  followers and wields authority that few Iraqi politicians would openly challenge.

His political sermons have ranged over issues such as security, elections and the economy.

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