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 Iraqi Kurdistan may ban Islamic Friday sermons

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Iraqi Kurdistan may ban Islamic Friday sermons  14.1.2011  

Central [Great] Mosque in Erbil, Kurdistan region of Iraq.
January 14, 2011

ERBIL-Hewlęr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — Secularists in the Iraqi Kurdistan region have pushed through a government ban on the Friday religious sermons, driving an ideological rift with the committed Muslims.

The move by some alleged intellectuals and feminists came after Mullah Farman Kharabaiy, the Imam of Majidawa Mosque in the capital of Erbil, accused a number of leading Kurdish feminists of blasphemy in his Friday sermon, reported Press TV's correspondent in the city, Matt Frazer.

The pamphlet, entitled "A Lost Truth," was distributed by Mullah Farman Kharabaiy of Majidawa Mosque, a mosque in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.

The pamphlet focuses on women's rights issues in Kurdish society, but more specifically targets Iraqi Kurdish women’s rights activists and their push for gender equality in the region, an issue which has been under the spotlight in recent weeks as a hot topic of discussion in the Kurdish parliament. In his pamphlet, Kharabaiy claims that the issue has been widely used by women’s rights activists "as a business to get rich."

Those referred to by Kharabaiy have also complained to the police, alleging that the words by the religious authority constituted a direct threat to their lives.

“The main concern here in Kurdistan is that religious leaders think that they must be the leaders of the whole society…,” Mariwan Naqshabani, a political expert told our correspondent.

The parliament is currently discussing a law which would only allow the government to authorize and broadcast three Friday sermons, one from each of the Kurdistan region's major cities of Erbil, Sulaimaniyah,
www.ekurd.netand Duhok.

“Ninety percent of the people here are Muslim. Those who are gathering signatures and petitioning the government to make this law should consider its acceptance by the majority of the people in the region,” said Salim Koyi from the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan.

“Religious leaders talk about the failures of the political leadership and the absence of government. That's why even the ruling parties are silent, when religious leaders are attacked by intellectuals,” he added.

Our correspondent said, “Many religious groups are ready to stage demonstrations if the law passes and experts agree that the vast majority of the population would oppose such a ban.”

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