Azzaman, January 9, 2015
A senior Shiite cleric has ruled against the building of a cemetery for British soldiers killed in action in Iraq.
The ruling by Moqtada al-Sadr comes following reports that British troops were constructing a cemetery for their soldiers on Iraqi soil.
“Sadr has ordered British occupation troops to stop building the cemetery,” according to a report on the website of his parliamentary bloc known as Ahrar, or liberals.
Sadr, according to the report, has even threatened the Brits with grave consequence if they proceed ahead with the construction of the cemetery.
The report was based on an interview Sadr had given to the Iraqi weekly al-Huda.
Sadr is one of Iraq’s most powerful clerics. His political movement has 40 deputies in the parliament.
His military wing, known as Mahdi Army, battled British occupation forces in southern Iraq before their withdrawal in 2010.
Currently, his heavily armed militias are playing a pivotal role in halting the advance of Islamic State militants into Shiite heartland in central and southern Iraq.
“If the Brits do not remove their cemetery, we will do what is required,” Sadr was quoted as saying.
“I order them (the Brits) to recover the bodies of their dead and bury them in their land among their families and loved ones,” he said. “They (British dead soldiers) have no place on our soil.”