Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A BigTest for 'Justice and Accountability'

Earlier today, there were reports that thousands of protesters took to the streets in Diyala and Fallujah demanding that MP and senior member of Sadr movement Bahaa Al-Aaraji be prosecuted under the Justice and Accountability Law.

Al-Aaraji infuriated the Sunni community when had made what many Iraqis considered inflammatory statements in a recent appearance on a TV show: "Shiites, who make up the majority, had been the target of conspiracies since the days of Abu Bakr, to the days of Ahmed Hasan Al-Bakr's party" Aaraji said, referring to the 7th century first Caliph and to Saddam's predecessor who ruled Iraq from 1968 to 1979.

Sunni politicians and protesters considered this statement sectarian incitement and an insult to a major figure of Islamic history. The protesters reportedly held banners that said "Ban sectarian instigators the same way you banned Ba'ath sympathizers" in reference to the recent ban on hundreds of candidates over suspected ties to the Ba'ath Party.

The cabinet, in a press release, condemned Al-Aaraji's comments: "...this statement violate article (7) of the constitution, which prohibits such [sectarian and racist] remarks...those who propagate these [ideas] may be banned from political participation."

Will Al-Aaraji be a scapegoat to give some credibility to the highly divisive and controversial Justice and Accountability Law and the commission in charge of it?
We shall see soon!