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The story: Iraqi Shiite cleric and politician Muqtada Al-Sadr has warned a Saudi-owned network against airing a series on Caliph Mu’awiya I (661-80), likely in anticipation of a glorification of his rule. Many Shiite Muslims denounce Mu’awiya and his Umayyad successors (661-750) as divisive, alleging that they acted against Caliph Ali bin Abi Talib (656-61) and other figures who Shiites revere. The series will likely also spark reactions for featuring the faces of Prophet Muhammad’s Companions, which both Shiite and Sunni religious authorities reject.
The coverage: Saudi-based media conglomerate Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC)—including MBC Iraq—is expected to air “Mu'awiya'' in the upcoming Islamic lunar month of Ramadhan. Without naming MBC, Sadr on Feb. 21 took to Twitter to describe those who “broadcast false historical series” as “masters of sectarianism.”
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