Protesters chant in support the Shiite spiritual leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, in the poster, during a demonstration in Basra, 340 miles (550 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Aug. 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Nabil al-Jurani)
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Iraq's top Shiite cleric said Friday he would no longer deliver regular weekly sermons about political affairs, which for years have been a source of guidance for Iraqi politicians and his millions of followers.Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani did not give a reason for suspending the sermons, which have lately focused on the government's battle against ISIS militants and anti-corruption efforts.Sistani, a reclusive octogenarian, enjoys almost mythical status among millions of Shiite followers and wields authority that few Iraqi politicians would openly challenge.Sistani then endorsed the sidelining of former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.A Friday sermon was also broadcast live on state television from the main mosque in Ramadi, the western capital retaken from ISIS insurgents about a month ago following a six-month siege.
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