He said on Thursday that the decision to arrest him reflected the Iraqi government's "failure" to bring peace and security to Iraq
 
Government accusations
 
Iraq's Shia-dominated government however said that Al-Dhari's hardline Sunni organisation had aggravated sectarian divisions in the war-torn country.
 
Speaking on state television on Thursday, Jawad al-Bolani, the interior minister, said: "The government's policy is that anyone who tries to spread division and strife among the Iraq people will be chased by our security agencies."
 
"We have to prove for everyone that the government is national and it is going forward with major steps to achieve security and to achieve its political program," al-Bolani told al-Iraqiyah television.
 
The arrest warrant for al-Dhari was issued by the Iraqi interior ministry on Thursday night.

Al-Dhari said the move would further inflame the sectarian violence in Baghdad and central Iraq.

 

"Since we started our nationalistic and political work after the occupation we have allways been responsive to dialogue and calls for reconcilliation," he told Al Jazeera on Friday.

 

The call for al-Dhari's arrest came two days after Jalal Talabani, the Iraqi president, accused him of having "nothing to do but incite sectarian and ethnic sedition."

 

The interior ministry said it was considering asking international police authorities to arrest him.

 
Sunni response
 

The Association of Muslim Scholars on Friday called on Sunni politicians to resign from government and parliament, a day after the Shia interior minister issued an arrest warrant for the association's leader.

 

"This government should resign before the Iraqi people force it to resign"

Mohammed Bashar al-Faidi, Sunni association spokesman

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The association's spokesman, Abdul-Salam al-Kubaisi, said the arrest warrant was a cover for "the acts of the government's security agencies that kill dozens of Iraqis every day".

 

Al-Kubaisi called for "political groups to withdraw from parliament and the government, which has proven that it is not a national government."

 

Tariq al-Hashimi, the country's Sunni vice-president, also condemned the arrest warrant saying "it is destructive to the national reconciliation plan".

 

In a statement, Al-Hashimi urged the government to cancel the warrant immediately.

Earlier this year, the association blamed the interior ministry for the killing of a nephew and cousin of al-Dhari. Their bodies were found in a bullet-riddled vehicle in west Baghdad.