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]

--> Sign up for Peek in your inbox... every morning! (Go here and check Peek box).

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.