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Wednesday, 25 October 2017 20:40

UN Delegation Visits Karbala, Meets with Grand Ayatollah Al-Sistani’s Representative, Tours Museum and Manuscript Restoration Lab

Karbala, Iraq - A delegation from United Nations Iraq visited the city of Karbala on Tuesday 24 October 2017. Led by Gyorgy Busztin, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) for Iraq for Political and Electoral Affairs, the delegation had an audience with Sheikh Abdul Mahdi al-Karbalaiee,

the representative of the Supreme religious authority in Iraq (Marjaiya) Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani in karbala.
Also in the delegation were the Representative of UNESCO in Iraq, Louise Haxthausen, and Samir Ghattas, Director of Public Information and spokesperson at the UN Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). Also in attendance was the head of the media department at the Imam Al Hussein Shrine, Mr. Jamal Eldin Al-Shahrestani.
Mr. Busztin’s visit was to bid farewell to the Marjaiya on the conclusion of his term in Iraq. It was also an occasion for Mr. Busztin to praise the role of the Marjaiya as a guardian of the unity and the conscience of Iraq, praising the Marjaiya’s positions on the recent developments in the country. He also outlined the efforts made by the United Nations in Iraq in the political, humanitarian and development fields.

Ms. Haxthausen noted the historical richness of Karbala and explained the cultural activities of UNESCO in Iraq, notably the efforts to preserve some of the country’s rich history that suffered immensely under the terrorist Daesh group, which had wantonly destroyed the country’s ancient heritage in all the areas it had occupied. Ms. Haxthausen also outlined UNESCO’s work and how the cultural agency can assist in the efforts to preserve and restore Iraq’s heritage.

Mr. Ghattas noted to Sheikh Al-Karbalaiee the overwhelming public and media interest in the weekly Friday sermons delivered by the Sheikh on behalf of the Marjaiya and its impact.

Sheikh Al-Karbalaiee appreciated the work of the UN and called for a more robust role, in particular to convey to the world the true image of Iraq as a country rich with history, culture and wishing to living in peace, as well as cooperation on culture and restoration.

The delegation also visited the Imam Al Hussein Museum at the shrine and received an elaborate explanation from the curator on the history of the site, which was badly damaged in 1991 when Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein brutally crushed the Shia uprising against his rule in the wake of the Gulf War. The delegation also saw first-hand restoration work on the many ancient Islamic manuscripts at a high-tech specialized laboratory and expressed appreciation about the level of professionalism in handling the precious material.

For more information, please contact: Mr. Samir Ghattas, Director of Public Information/Spokesperson
United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, Phone: +964 790 193 1281, Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
or the UNAMI Public Information Office: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Additional Info

  • Agency: UNAMI
Last modified on Thursday, 26 October 2017 10:23