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Iraqi pilgrims boot Maliki from Arbaeen commemoration Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Iraqi pilgrims boot Maliki from Arbaeen commemoration

Millions of Shia Muslims have made the pilgrimage to Karbala [Twitter]

Date of publication: 23 November, 2016

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Images have emerged that purport to show former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki being kicked out of a Shia shrine by Iraqi pilgrims during Arbaeen commemorations.

Images have emerged that allegedly show former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki being kicked out of a Shia shrine by pilgrims during Arbaeen commemorations.

Social media users have shared pictures of the divisive former leader as he was hurled with abuse and eventually forced prematurely to end his visit to the religious site in Karbala, which lies about 80 kilometres south of Baghdad.

Millions of Shia Muslims have made the pilgrimage to the holy city for Arbaeen, one of the largest religious processions in the world.

Pilgrims shouted "Murder, thief, corrupt, surrenderer of cities and sectarian" at Maliki, before he left the shrine out of fear for his safety, pilgrims reported.

Many Iraqis believe the marginalisation of Sunnis and increasingly sectarian politics under Maliki - along with the backing of Iran - helped fuel the rise of the Islamic State group in Iraq.

They say that fighting corruption, rebuilding institutions, and attending to the basic needs of the population had been neglected under Maliki.


IS swept across northern and western Iraq in the summer of 2014, and at that time many Sunnis welcomed IS as an alternative to what they saw as the increasingly sectarian rule of the then-prime minister.

Last December, Maliki was reportedly hit with the shoes of protesters in Baghdad when he attended a protest to demand the withdrawal of Turkish troops in the north of the country.

Iraqis have been quick to comment on the incident on social media with many echoing similar criticism of Maliki.

Translation: "Pilgrims expel the thief who handed over Iraq to terrorism, Maliki, from the shrine of Imam Hussein, peace be upon him."

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