Volunteer imams stage protest to demand permanent employment

ERBIL, August 2 – Volunteer imams and preachers in the Kurdistan region staged a protest outside the Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs in Erbil on Tuesday, demanding permanent employment.

The group of 50 men said they were voicing the demands of approximately 3,000 preachers who have provided religious services in the region for as many as 12 years and made multiple requests for permanent contracts.

Demonstrator and preacher Rawej Ahmed told 964: “We have been working for free in the mosques, which makes us unable to work in any other field. Some preachers and imams have been volunteering in the region’s mosques for about 12 years, so today we demanded employment again, hoping that the relevant authorities will respond to our demands this time.”

Fares Jawhar, Director-General of the Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs, said: “We support the volunteer clergy, and we will raise their demands. Once the economic situation of the government improves and the Iraqi government pays its financial dues, employing volunteer religious figures will be one of our priorities.”