detail - Syria/Iraq Office
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After welcoming words by Gregor Jaecke, Head of the KAS Syria/Iraq Office, Harith Hassan, a researcher at the CEU introduced the topic to the audience. The first day of the conference was devoted to transnational networks of Shiite scholarly seminars. In particular, the differences between the Hawza (University that educates the Shiite clergy) in Iranian Qum and the Hawza in Iraqi Najaf were highlighted. In contrast to the Shiite school of thought in Qum, which follows the tradition of Ayatollah Khomeini and demands a close relationship between politics and religion, the seminar in Najaf on Ayatollah Sistani advocates a formal separation of the seminar from politics. Nevertheless, Najaf plays an influential role in Iraqi politics as well as in the economy, as the participants of the workshop noted in detail. The second day of the conference discussed the different currents within the Shiite community in Iraq and the relationship between the Shiite seminars and the Shiite tribes in central and southern Iraq. In addition, the future significance of the Marjai'ya (the highest Shiite religious authority) in Najaf after the death of Sistani was discussed, as well as how the transition from Sistani to his successor might look in practice.