Group from Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), better known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha'abi, triggered public rage by taking over one of Mosul’s Arqam mosque. PMF leadership, however, denies these accusations.
Mosul, Ninveh governorate’s capital, has only recently marked a year since it drove ISIS out of its territory.
Sunni Waqaf (religious endowments) official Abu Bakr Kanaan urged Nineveh Governor Nofal Hammadi to step in and free the worship place from the hold fighters.
Addressing the governor, Kanaan said by the time Mosul prepares to celebrate its liberation from ISIS, PMF combatants have desecrated and rebranded the Arqam Mosque.
“Although it seemed the fighters, who entered forcefully, meant to hold prayers, it was later discovered that the group wishes to turn the mosque into its local headquarters,” Kanaan plead.
Iraqi Deputy Ahmed Jubouri, for his part, condemened the PMF takeover of the mosque and urged the group’s chiefs and leaders swiftly intervene and seek punishment for culprits involved.
The PMF, however, released a statement saying that the takeover was staged by a local mob which posed its membership in the group and that real PMF fighters have stepped in to work on probing the incident and restoring the mosque to its rightful community.
Nineveh Deputy Governor Hassan Al Alaaf told Asharq Al-Awsat that the dispute between the Waqaf and the PMF over the situation at Arqam Mosque has been settled, but some tensions remain in place.
“Personally, I am for the army and PMF leaving the cities and the full empowerment of local police forces, but it seems that security leaders still fear the return of terrorist groups in the event of withdrawal of PMF and army forces,” Alaaf noted as strains increase between the area’s local population and security forces taking control of Mosul at the moment.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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