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Iraqi Politicians Stoke Flames Of Religious Sectarianism

Ten years after the American-led invasion of Iraq, the fabric of Iraqi society appears to be more frayed than ever, as politicians exploit renewed sectarian sentiments for personal gain, reports Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
A supporter of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr takes part in a rally, which the participants said was against sectarianism and injustice, in Kut, 150 km (93 miles) southeast of Baghdad, March 16, 2013.    REUTERS/Wissm al-Okili (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR3F2NB
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“When politicians fail to save the country from being torn apart and become a part of the conflict, attention is instinctively diverted toward social and religious leaders in order to achieve this goal.” This [unspoken] adage may not be conclusive, but the people always find solutions to their crises, which do not necessarily comply with the wishes of politicians. The current events that are marking the Iraqi scene 10 years after the ousting of the totalitarian regime, however, elicit a flashback to the starting point where “social and religious consensus imposes societal harmonization.”

The first objection will arise from the fact that religious figures and tribes are themselves a catalyst of political, religious and social rifts. In truth, both religious groups and tribes have merely been used as a scapegoat. Post-2003, a rigid political settlement was established between the politicians who used religions to protect their political interests, following the widely espoused principle that states: “If you wish to control the ignorant, disguise your actions with a religious coating.”

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