Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — In a statement Iraq's
Kurdistan region president Massoud Barzani condemned
Friday evening’s disturbances in the town of Zakho,
Duhok province, where at the instigation of some
Islamic clerics a group of young people went on the
rampage and in an unlawful act set fire to a number
of shops and hotels selling alcoholic beverages.
Barzani stated that these acts of violence seemed to
Following these events, the headquarters of one of
the opposition Islamic parties in Zakho and Dohuk
were set on fire by local mobs.
“I condemn both these unlawful acts. I call on the
people of the Kurdistan Region to preserve our
traditions of ethnic and religious co-existence. I
have ordered the formation of a committee to look
into these disturbances and bring to justice those
responsible,” Barzani said in his statement.
“Unfortunately, on Friday some Mullahs and a group
of youth committed unlawful acts and caused
instability in Zakho,” Barzani’s statement read.
“They attacked some tourist locations especially
those of Christians
Massoud Barzani, Kurdistan region president. Photo
and it seems the attacks had been pre-planned,”
Following fiery Friday sermons by some Muslim
clerics, rioters stormed liquor stores, a massage
parlor and several hotels in the border city of
After the attack on the businesses that are mainly
run by the province’s Christian community, groups of
people raided the political offices and media
organizations of the Kurdistan Islamic Union in
Duhok and Simel. The buildings were ransacked and
According to the police, around 30 people, the
majority of them policemen sustained injuries in the
riots. But no casualties were reported.
In a statement on Saturday, President Barzani said
the attacks on the Islamic Union headquarters were
“Unfortunately, a group of people attacked the
headquarters of the Kurdistan Islamic Union, which
was an unjust act” Barzani’s statement read.
Barzani said that no one is allowed to cause
instability in the Kurdistan region and that a
special committee will investigate Friday’s
incidents and bring the perpetrators to justice.
“Protecting harmony among Kurdish communities is not
only the responsibility of Kurdistan government,” he
said in his statement. “It’s everyone’s
responsibility and we will not allow anyone to
threaten this harmony,”
Ahmed Doski, Duhok Police Chief said at least 6
offices of the opposition Kurdistan Islamic Union
KIU were attacked by rioters on Friday.
In an official statement the Islamic Union condemned
“We have witnessed attacks on our 13th and 3rd
branches as well as our Spede TV and radio stations
in Simel by supporters of a party that is in charge
of the area,” read the statement. “The attacks were
irresponsible and far from all moral basis.”
It is said that angry mobs stormed the offices of
the Islamic Union in retaliation to the clerical
sermons who instigated people against the sale of
alcohol, massage parlors and gambling.
But the Islamic Union denied any connections to the
violent incidents in Zakho.
A statement by the party read, “The Islamic Union
does not have any preachers in that city (Zakho) to
justify the violence,”
In a press conference on Saturday, Salahaddin
Bahaddin, secretary-general of the Islamic Union
held the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)
responsible for the attacks on the offices of his
“Yesterday’s events in the Badinan region didn’t
have anything to do with Islamic Union,” Bahaddin
said. “Those events are scenarios to kill any chance
of reform and peace. Therefore we hold the KDP,
Kurdistan’s presidency and the government
responsible for those attacks on our offices and we
will take matter to court.”
Kurdistan Region’s ministry of the interior
condemned the attacks.
“We condemn all violent acts and all sides must keep
calm,” the statement read. “We will not allow the
rule of law to be breeched by anyone for any
On Saturday members of the Islamic Union staged
peaceful demonstrations in Erbil and Sulaimani
demanding that the attackers are brought to justice.
Press freedom organization in Kurdistan has
that violations against journalists in Kurdistan has
"gone beyond all limits" as
across Duhok province on Friday and Saturday.
"In 48 hours, 6 media offices have been torched, 6
journalists have been put in jail and 16 more
journalists have been subjected to attacks," Metro
center said in a statement.
The statement criticizes authorities in Kurdistan
Region for not protecting press freedom during
While this story has been covered by all the
opposition TV stations, it has been ignored by the
TV stations of the two ruling parties of Barzani's KDP and Talabani's PUK.
The Association of Kurdish Muslim scholars sent a
to KRG a copy of which was received by ekurd.net on Saturday, "We had sought prior
permission to hold the demonstration from concerned
authorities. We had earlier stated and submitted our
demands to Kurdistan Regional Parliament and his
Excellency President Massoud Barzani" the statement
said. "We have overtly called on KRG to put a ban on sale of alcoholic
beverages and its illegal consumption in our
religious institutions. Our universities have been
turned into fornication houses."
In a series of similar
incidents in 2005, the office
of the Islamic Union in Duhok was stormed by
protesters. The building was set on fire and several
staff members were killed.
Sources: krp.org | rudaw.net | kurdiu.org |
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