Iraqis inspect a war-damaged mosque in Fallujah. Global Research file photo
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - Shiite militia known as the Hashd al-Shaabi, who participated in the battle for Fallujah, have been accused of demolishing mosques in the liberated town, an accusation the group denied.
"A large number of mosques inside Fallujah including Firdaws, Furqan, Abu Obeidiya, Nabi Younis, Mudalal and Maaizi have been destroyed and burned down," Sabah Karhut, head of Anbar Provincial Council, announced.
Karhut urged the Iraqi interior and defense ministries to hasten their efforts to identify and prosecute the perpetrators.
Shiite militia officials have dismissed the claims of their involvement in burning or destroying Sunni mosques in Fallujah.
"Such charges against Hashd al-Shaabi are expected. Those political parties accusing us of doing that are embodying external agendas and they cannot see the great successes Hashd al-Shaabi has achieved in battles. Such propaganda has no basis," Nuri Karim, a spokesperson for the Shiite militias, told Rudaw.
A member of the Anbar Provincial Council believes there are trouble makers who have "slipped into" the Shiite militias to tarnish the groups’ image.
"There are sectarian-oriented people holding grudges in their hearts who have slipped into the Hashd al-Shaabi and intend to distort the celebration of our victories [against ISIS] through their acts," Ozal Fahdawi, a Anbar Provincial Council member, told Rudaw.
Fahdawi added that "Fallujah is still a military zone and the city's security is practically in the hands of the [Iraqi] army and Anbar police."
Killings, torture and imprisonment of Fallujah civilians by members of the Shiite militia who backed government troops during the Fallujah offensive were already reported. An investigation is reportedly underway.
An Iraqi member of parliament from Anbar Province believes that in addition to the burning and destruction of mosques, the Fallujah people are still being subjected to torture and killings.
"They are still subjected to being killed or intimidated by sectarian militias or terrorists. They are even being attacked inside refugee camps," said Liqa Wardi.
For example, she added, "Salam refugee camp in southern Baghdad was bombed and that killed 7 refugees and wounded another 11." She did not mention when the attack happened.
That is "a dangerous sign that our government is unable to protect its people," Wardi said.
The central Iraqi city of Fallujah, known as the City of Mosques for the more than 200 mosques found in the city and its surroundings, was retaken from the Islamic State in June after a month-long campaign by the Iraqi military and special forces, joined by Shiite militia and backed by US-led coalition air support.