Sunni Cleric and Mufti Rafi al-Rufai. Photo: Rudaw video
ERBIL, Kurdistan - The mufti of Iraq's Sunni community said the Iraqi governments’ oppressions against the Kurds made the nation seek independence. He also said Iraq has become a sectarian state run by Iranian politicians.
Rafi al-Rufai said through his representative Abdulwahab Ani, that Baghdad’s “baseless” decision to cut the Kurdistan Region’s budget share in 2014, during Nouri al-Maliki's tenure as premier, prompted the Kurdistan nation to determine its fate in an independence referendum.
“When oppressions accumulated against the Kurdish nation, they began holding a referendum to stay away from these tyrants," Ani said reading a message from the Iraqi Mufti Rufai in a press conference in Erbil.
Referring to authorities in Baghdad, Rufai says “If the judges were just for the people preserving their homes and dignity…the Kurdish nation would not hold the referendum to determine their fate. But they continued their tyranny.”
He also highly appreciated the Kurdistan Region for hosting over a million internally displaced persons and refugees when fleeing ISIS.
“And you want to impose sanctions on Kurds, fight with them and close air and ground ports on them?" he asked.
He rejected comments from the Iraqi government authorities who accuse the Kurdsitan Region of partitioning Iraq.
“The Iraqi government and its parliament, you should cry and not talk for the integrity of Iraq. You yourself partitioned it."
The Iraqi Mufti went on to slam the Iraqi government's "sectarian" policies.
"The main dangerous thing that these governments carried with them was the disgusting sectarianism which partitioned the integrity of this country and spread hatred among the components of this country," he said.
"Those running and ruling Iraq are associated with Iranian politicians," said the Sunni cleric. "Among those is Qassem Solaimani."
Solaimani is Iran's most powerful man in Iraq and commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force. He was reportedly leading the Iraqi Army and its allied Shiite militia in the fight against ISIS in many areas ISIS once held.
The Iraqi Mufti also accused the Iraqi government and Shiite militia of “destroying Sunni cities and homes, all of this under the pretext of liberating them from ISIS.”
In the wake of the Kurdistan Region's independence referendum, Baghdad harshly responded taking "punitive measures" against Erbil with the Kurdistan government and parliament both calling the measures "collective punishment" against the Region and rejecting to comply with the decisions.