The Iraqi Consulate in Detroit is facing backlash after announcing it would be holding a memorial for Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani.
The Michigan-based Consulate came under fire and even got the attention of the FBI after posting an announcement of the event honoring the Iranian military leader as well as Cmdr. Abu Mahdi Al-Mohandes, who were killed in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad last week.
Some reports indicated that the country of Iraq directed the Consulate to open the register of condolences.
“The Consulate General of the Republic of Iraq in Detroit announces the opening of a register of condolences to the lives of the martyrs who have fallen as a result of the recent American raids in Iraq,” the announcement read, noting that it would be open to people on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“We have a good relationship with the consulate and are in constant communication. We haven’t had any complaints but we will keep an eye on the event,” Southfield Police Deputy Chief Nick Loussia told the Detroit Free Press.
Soleimani, who was the Head of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force – a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization – was “actively developing plans” to attack American personnel, according to the Pentagon.
“General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more,” the U.S. Department of Defense said in a statement last week.
But a statement from the Office of the President of Iraq expressed that their “hearts hurt deeply from having to hear the tragic news about the martyrdom of the two commanders…who played a significant and crucial role and showed the most wonderful pictures of altruism in fighting against ISIS.”
Michigan Democrat Rep. Rashida Tlaib was part of a protest in downtown Detroit on Saturday to denounce the U.S. airstrike.
Why did she never got so passionate when Soleimani was ordering the killing of hundreds of thousands in Iran, Syria, Iraq & …?pic.twitter.com/8wNNSw2h5P
— Heshmat Alavi (@HeshmatAlavi) January 5, 2020
The Iraqi Consulate’s announcement drew sharp criticism from many and some reportedly alerted the FBI.
“We are aware of events scheduled – both locally and nationally – in response to recent overseas incidents,” Special Agent Mara R. Schneider said, according to the Detroit Free Press.
“The FBI in Michigan is always on guard for potential threats to our community and we are working with our law enforcement partners and staying in close contact with FBI headquarters to assess any threats to our area,” she said. “While there is no specific and credible threat to this area at this time, we urge the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.”
“We are Iraqis not Iranians… we’re against it,” Nabby Yono with the Arab American & Chaldean Council told WXYZ-TV, noting that the Iranians should hold their own event and that Iraqi’s should have nothing to do with paying respects to an Iranian official.
Social media users on Facebook where the announcement was posted condemned the “shameful” plan to hold the memorial event and many called it out as an “insult to the martyrs of the October Revolution.”
“Shame on u, How about the thousands of people who died in Iraq since October during the revolution, how come there was no funeral for them,” asked one Facebook user.
Twitter users also expressed their outrage.
This. Is. Disgusting.
— Josef Mirna (@JosefMirna) January 7, 2020
What a joke!
— Kristin (@kristintweeted) January 7, 2020
Condolences for a terrorist…
— Moderate Pushed Right (@CourtneyCzk) January 7, 2020
If they are referring to terrorists as “martyrs” they need to be shown the door…How disrespectful to all the victims of their reign of terror. He was also a genocidal maniac. So there’s that.
— EmilyTheStrange (@ChaosandFlames) January 7, 2020
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