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Harith al-Dari: 'Sunnis feel marginalised'

One of the most influential Iraqi Sunni clerics explains why his followers are fighting the government in Baghdad.

Last updated: 19 Apr 2014 08:52
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The situation is not getting any better in Iraq. Violence is on the rise again, and so far, more than 1,300 people have been killed this year. Battles between Sunni fighters and government troops continue.

There is a difference between resistance and terrorism. In any case, irrespective of the accusation, we supported the resistance from the start and we still do. If Iraq were to be occupied again, we would fight again to liberate our country.

Harith al-Dari

Thousands of people are fleeing Anbar province and Fallujah as Sunni tribal fighters resist both al-Qaeda and government forces loyal to Shia Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The Sunni tribes are angry about what they say are abuses by a Shia-dominated government, but they do not want al-Qaeda to fill any vacuum.

The prime minister, in turn, is requesting more help and weapons from the United States.

As the situation gets more complex, the head of the United Nations mission in Baghdad is appealing to both sides. He says political, social and religious leaders of Iraq have an urgent responsibility to come together.

One of those important leaders in the Sunni community is Harith al-Dari.

He, as well as his son, is accused by the Iraqi regime and the US government of supporting terrorism - a charge he denies.

As chairman of the Association of Muslim Scholars he has a large following in Iraq, and is an influential voice in shaping the direction the country is taking.

So, is the country coming apart? What does the Sunni community really want? And why does the Sunni community feeling marginalised by the Iraqi government?

We explore all this as Harith al-Dari, one of the most influential Iraqi Sunni clerics, talks to Al Jazeera.

Talk to Al Jazeera   can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0430 and 1930; Sunday: 1930; Monday: 1430 .   

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