Ali Sistani

From Wikispooks
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Person.png Ali Sistani   WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Born4 August 1930
Mashhad, Iran

Ali Sistani, also known as Ayatollah Sistani or al-Sistani, is an Iranian Marji' who resides in Iraq. He was opposed to the 1979 Iranian Revolution which overthrew the US-backed Shah. He moved to Iraq under the rule of Saddam Hussein and has never returned to Iran.

Nobel Peace Prize Nomination

Sistani was proposed for the Nobel Peace Prize twice, both times by Western Jews.

He was first nominated in 2005, two years after the US invasion of Iraq, by Thomas Friedman, former Jewish bureau chief of The New York Times in Beirut and Jerusalem. Who wrote an article in the Times on 20 March 2005 promoting Sistani.[1] In it, he explains how Sistani is important for making sure Iraq doesn’t turn into an anti-Israel theocracy like Iran, writing "maybe most important, Mr. Sistani brings to Arab politics a legitimate, pragmatic interpretation of Islam, one that says Islam should inform politics and the constitution, but clerics should not rule." He further lauds Sistani for not backing anti-Israel and anti-America views, writing "Saddam Hussein built his politics around negating America, Iran and Israel. Arafat built his whole life around negating Zionism" and citing fellow Jew Stephen P. Cohen saying "Sistani did not build his politics on negating someone else". This, despite the fact that he was contradictorily being lauded for building his career by opposing Iran.

He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize again in 2015, this time by Colin Freeman of the British the Daily Telegraph outlet. Freeman wrote "Unlike some Iraqi religious leaders, he doesn't make a habit of going on television and waving a Kalashnikov around. Nor has he ever been pictured with Bush or Blair. Indeed, to my knowledge, he has never consented to meet a single Western politician".[2] This claim directly contradicts reports from high-ranking US politicians such as Donald Rumsfeld meeting with Sistani, which Sistani's official office confirmed took place. He lauded Sistani for ordering Iraqi Shias not to fight Saddam or later Al-Qaeda, writing "Yet throughout all this bloodshed, Sistani has beseeched ordinary Shias not to retaliate", creating a narrative that it was so Shias wouldn’t die doing so, continuing "But as with so many things in Iraq, the horrors that actually took place were nothing compared to how bad it could have been. In telling his fellow Iraqis to turn the other cheek, sometimes when it was quite literally stained with their loved one's blood, Sistani has helped averted all-out disaster, and is credited as such by many Western diplomats. He continues in this role today, as a resurgent al-Qaeda continues to re-ignite the civil war." Freeman then continues to say that Al-Qaeda hates Sistani, though he earlier says that Sistani ordered Shias not to fight Al-Qaeda. Freeman writes: "Al-Qaeda hate him for unsportingly refusing to join in their sectarian civil war. But these are not the only matters on which he has gone against the grain. During the American occupation, he refused to ever sanction attacks on US troops, despite the street cred this would have won him in some Iraqi circles. And to the irritation of his fellow Shia mullahs in neighbouring Iran, he remains resolutely of the "quietist" school of Islam, which says religion has no place in government."

Child Sexual Exploitation

In his book "The Path of the Righteous", Sistani claimed that it is religiously permissible to practice non-penetrative sex with a child under the age of 9, including sexual touching, as long as the child was promised in marriage or mut'ah. A statement issued by Sistani's office in 2019 told BBC reporters that his stance on the issue has changed and the fatwa has been erased from his current books.[3] Despite this, undercover video captured on a hidden camera revealed clerics still practicing and asserting the religious permissibility of the practice while soliciting young girls to the undercover reporter.[4] The cleric was recorded saying "according to Sharia there’s no problem." The reporter then asks if it's fine with a young girl, to which the cleric responds "Yes, nine-year-old plus. There is no problem at all." One solicitor was captured on video telling the undercover reporter what he can do with his temporary child bride, saying "just be careful she doesn’t lose her virginity", and "you can have foreplay with her, lie with her, touch her body, her breasts."[4] He was further recorded saying "it's between you and her where she can take the pain or not".

It was reported that Sistani's followers use the clerics 'marriage services' in order to pay for sex with underaged girls, saying "the cleric has a photo album, sometimes several girls are sitting in his office. If you like one of them, you can take her. If you don't, your second choice is the photo album" and "there are clerics who look for young virgin girls because many customers want them, they are more desired, and people pay more for them. This is happening to many girls - not just a few."[3][4]

One of his followers was interviewed, saying that he personally prefers girls who are around 16 and older because "they are more experienced and more affordable than the younger girls", adding that the 12-year-olds are 'fresh' and thus more expensive, earning the clerics as much as $800 per contract. A woman was interviewed as saying 20 years old is the cut-off age for girls working for the cleric, adding "there are clerics who look for young virgin girls because many customers want them, they are more desired, and people pay more for them. This is happening to many girls - not just a few."[3][4]

Sistani then issued a further public statement, saying "temporary marriage is not allowed as a tool to sell sex in a way that belittles the dignity and humanity of woman". His office issued a statement to the BBC, saying "times had [sic] changed and it had been erased from his current books".[3] Cleric Ghaith Tamimi rebuked the practice, saying that "the clerics are peddling a perverted version of the Muslim law" and "what this man is saying is a crime that must be punished by law. These rules are ugly and cruel and could not come from God or anyone humane".[4]

Corruption Exposé

On 31 August 2019, Alhurra reported an exposé documentary on their Alhurra Investigates program titled "The Holy Persons of Sacred Corruption in Iraq", that Iraqi religious authorities including Ayatollah Sistani were involved in corruption involving public funds in partnership with Iraqi political figures. Sistani was reported to be personally gaining financially from religious sites and real estate deals involving state funds.[5][6][7]

Following the airing of the exposé, Iraq's Communication and Media Commission suspended Alhurra's operations for three months, and threatened the news outlet with "a tougher punishment" if the "offense is repeated".[8][9]

Reporters Without Borders has criticized the Iraqi government, stating "Iraq still has no law on access to state-held information. Investigative reporting on corruption or embezzlement exposes journalists to serious threats."[10][11]

Alhurra defended their work in a statement, saying that the report was "fair, balanced and professional", and stated that the individuals named in the report were given a chance to respond, which they declined.[12][13] The statement further read "Alhurra is committed to fair and professional journalism in Arabic throughout the region. Given the major political, economic and social challenges the region faces, there is a need for greater transparency and honesty, not less".


References

  1. "A Nobel for Sistani". The New York Times. March 20, 2005.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "CSS").
  2. Colin Freeman (4 March 2014). "Forget Obama and the EU. The man who should really have the Nobel Peace Prize is an Obscure Iraqi Cleric". Telegraph. Archived from the original on 7 March 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2017.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "CSS").
  3. a b c d al-Maghafi, Nawal (4 October 2019). "The teenager married too many times to count". BBC.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "CSS").
  4. a b c d e Hollowa, Henry (4 October 2019). "Islamic clerics selling girls as young as 9 for sex in 'pleasure marriages'". Daily Star (United Kingdom).Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "CSS").
  5. "الحرة تتحرى.. الفساد الديني في العراق". Alhurra. 31 August 2019.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "CSS").
  6. "'Hostile news policy': US-funded Arabic channel exposé unites Iraqi Sunni & Shia v foreign meddling". RT. 3 September 2019.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "CSS").
  7. "Iraq suspends work licence of US-based Alhurra TV for 3 months". Middle East Monitor. 3 September 2019.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "CSS").
  8. "بيان بشأن – خروقان قناة الحرة" (PDF). 3 September 2019.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "CSS").
  9. "Iraq suspends work licence of US-based Alhurra TV for 3 months". Middle East Monitor. 3 September 2019.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "CSS").
  10. "Iraq – Still dangerous for journalists". 3 September 2019.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "CSS").
  11. "Iraq: Sunni and Shi'ite Leaders United Against a TV Station". Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. 3 September 2019.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "CSS").
  12. "بيان قناة الحرة حول تحقيق "الحرة تتحرى" عن الفساد في مؤسسات عراقية". Alhurra. 2 September 2019.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "CSS").
  13. "Iraq: Sunni and Shi'ite Leaders United Against a TV Station". Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. 3 September 2019.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "CSS").


57px-Notepad icon.png This is a page stub. Please add to it.