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Cleric eyes government as election upset rocks Iraq

BAGHDAD: Populist Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr on Tuesday eyed a broad coalition after appearing to deal a blow to both Iranian and American influence with a shock election triumph that has upended Iraqi politics. Counting was still ongoing three days after the first parliamentary poll since the defeat of the Islamic State group, but the fiery Shia preacher's grouping was in the lead with 16 of 18 provinces tallied. Victory for the veteran nationalist's Marching Towards Reform alliance with Iraq's communists -- pitched an…

Police arrest seminary teacher for sexually assaulting teenager in Karachi

KARACHI: Police on Sunday arrested a cleric on charges of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old seminary student in Gulistan-e-Johar area of the city. The victim informed police that Qari Muhammad Saleem sexually assaulted him on Saturday night inside the madressah, prompting police to take action against the cleric. Subsequently, Qari Saleem was arrested in a raid conducted by police. According to police, medical examination confirmed the teenager had been subjected to ‘unnatural offence’. A case has been registered…

Senior Iran cleric urges Palestinians to rise (intifada) against Israel

TEHRAN: A senior Iranian cleric called during Friday prayers for Palestinians to “rage” against Israel after US President Donald Trump declared Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state. After the prayers Iranians took to the streets of Tehran and other cities to protest against Trump’s decision, calling for “death” to Israel and the United States and burning their flags. Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, an ultra-conservative and a key leader of the main weekly Muslim prayers, said Trump had drawn a line on years of peace…

Turkey denies ‘ludicrous’ reports of plan to seize cleric from US

ISTANBUL: Turkey has dismissed what it said were ludicrous reports that Turkish officials may have discussed a plan to seize a wanted U.S.-based Muslim cleric and hand him over to Ankara in exchange for millions of dollars. In a statement, the Turkish embassy in Washington repeated Ankara’s request for the extradition of the cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who it says masterminded last year’s failed military coup, but said Turkey would not operate outside the law to achieve that goal. The statement followed a Wall Street…