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Iraqi MP denies Sistani calls for armed resistance

BAGHDAD, May 23 (KUNA) -- An Iraqi MP Friday brushed aside reports suggesting Sayyed Ali Sistani had issued a religious fatwa permitting armed resistance against foreign forces, and affirmed that the Shiite cleric had called, since collapse of baathist regime, for peaceful resistance.
Sheikh Jalaluddin Al-Saghir, head of the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) bloc at the parliament, told KUNA these press reports about the alleged fatwa "are totally baseless." He said the policy of Sistani was based "on resisting the occupiers via peaceful means and he is still supporting the political process therefore there these claims are false." A source close to Sistani in Najaf said the senior cleric did not issue the fatwa, and was still committed to his previous position which emphasized that Iraq was not a scene for "jihad or armed confrontation." The source, speaking to KUNA on condition of anonymity, said Sistani's position was clear since the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime. "He had called repeatedly for peaceful resistance to get the foreign forces out of Iraq," he added.
Iraqi and Western media working in Iraq said Sistani has issued a number of fatwas permitting armed resistance against foreign forces.
Sistani, since the 2003 liberation of Iraq, has always called for holding free elections and rejected all forms of sectarian seditions. (end) mhg.bs KUNA 240055 May 08NNNN