91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Detroit's Iraqi Consul General says registry of condolences not intended for Soleimani

Ziad Buchh

About one dozen protesters gathered outside the Iraqi Consulate of Detroit Tuesday afternoon.

The consulate announced on Monday that it was open Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon this week for people to offer condolences for those killed in last week's U.S. drone strike at a Baghdad airport.

On its website,  the consulate announced "the opening of a record of my condolences for the lives of the righteous martyrs who were killed as a result of the recent American raids in Iraq."

Khalid Somo of Sterling Heights and other protesters said it is wrong for Iraq to honor the Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was among those killed. Soleimani was widely viewed as one of the most powerful Iranian government officials.

"He's a killer. Soleimani is a killer in all the of the world," said Somo. "He killed Iraqi people and American people and Syrian people and Lebanese people."

Adnan Al Majoon, the Iraqi Consul General in Detroit, said the registry of condolences is not intended for Soleimani. He said it is intended as an opportunity to offer condolences only for Iraqi nationals. He attributed the misunderstanding to media reports that incorrectly described the registry as an opportunity to mourn Soleimani. 

Al Majoon had no comment about the registry covering condolences to Iraqi-born militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, also killed in the drone strike. The U.S. government has viewed Muhandis as responsible for coordinating violence against American interests for decades.

Al Majoon said it is not unusual for the government of Iraq to direct its consulates to open a memorial for Iraqis after a significant tragedy.

Iraq's Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted such a directive in connection with deaths arising from the recent drone strike. 

Virginia Gordan has been a part-time reporter at Michigan Radio since fall 2013. She has a general beat covering news topics from across the state.