Ringtone fight in the Iraqi parliament



Swopa of Needlenose points to an astonishing story in the Times of London:
The fragile state of the sectarian divide in Iraqi politics was exposed today when a fight broke out in parliament after a mobile phone ringtone played a Shia Muslim chant.

A procedural session of the Iraqi parliament was suspended as Shia and Sunni leaders stormed out to protest the ringtone and the subsequent scuffle, which erupted between the armed bodyguards of the Sunni speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani and the hardline Shia politician, Gufran al-Saidi.

The mobile phone belonged to Ms al-Saidi, who is a member of the Islamist movement led by the radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. According to Ms al-Saidi, one of her guards was holding her phone when it rang, playing a Shia prayer.

Mr al-Mashhadani sent one of his guards -- because of the risk of assassination in Baghdad, all Iraqi politicians come to parliament accompanied by armed men -- to ask her to turn it off. But the phone rang again, at which point a fight broke out in the lobby of the parliament building, with guards from both sides and a veiled Ms al-Saidi joining in.
[Needlenose, image by See El Photo]

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