Iraq summons Egyptian ambassador over al-Azhar’s Shia militia remarks

Iraq’s foreign ministry summoned on Tuesday the Egyptian ambassador to Iraq, Ahmed Darwish, in protest against the rececnt unfavorable remarks by al-Azhar against Shia militias, supporting the government in its fight against the Islamic State, Anadolu Agency reported.
The Iraqi ministry handed Darwish a protest memo, decrying last week's statement made by the Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayyeb, in which he slammed the pro-government Shia militias, Popular Mobilization, for committing “massacres against the Sunni people in Iraq”.
The Iraqi ministry said the statement by Tayyeb “damages the brotherly, special relations between the two countries”.
It lauded the militia as “heroes” who “rose up to the call for liberating the homeland”.
Tayyeb had labelled the Popular Mobilization as “an extremist Shia militia”, urging action to cease “massacres” committed against Sunnis in Iraq. He said the paramilitary force committed “barbaric crimes” in Sunni areas that had fallen to Iraqi government forces in Tikrit and Anbar, situated in northern and western Iraq.
Al-Azhar is commonly regarded as the highest Sunni religious institution in the Islamic World.
The Popular Mobilization, which comprises volunteers and armed Shia militias, has faced accusations of carrying out mass executions of Sunnis as well as other violations since last summer, when Shia factions mobilized to fight against the Islamic State, the Sunni terrorist organization that has taken control over large areas of Iraq and Syria.
Edited translation from Anadolu Agency

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