Saturday , September 22 2018

Bitter backlash for ‘no chocolate’ cleric

BAGHDAD, Feb 23, (AFP): Iraqis took to social media Monday to pile ridicule on a cleric who said in a sermon that people should cut down on chocolate bars to fight the economic crisis.

At a Baghdad mosque on Friday, Sheikh Jalaleddin al-Saghir took aim at Iraqis’ immoderate love of “Nestle” — a generic term for chocolate bars which they pronounce “Nestelleh”. “Brothers, chocolate bars are not necessary. Restrict your spending because you may be in need tomorrow,” said the cleric, a former MP from one of the country’s leading parties.

A video of the sermon, in which Saghir suggests Iraqis could save 70 percent of their salaries if they tried a bit harder, has since gone viral, drawing widespread online anger and derision. Nabil Jassem, a leading journalist and key figure of a protest movement formed last year against corruption and poor services, released his own video message. “No, your eminence, chocolate bars are very necessary. Why has this fate befallen us?” he asked. “We did not eat chocolate bars in the eighties, we did not eat chocolate bars in the nineties. Are we a poor people, is our state a poor state?”

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