All followers of radical Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr must sign a strict code of conduct after repeated complaints over rogue elements of his militia, a document seen by AFP showed Thursday.
Signed by the anti-US Shiite cleric and distributed throughout his organisation, it calls on all its members to put their name to it, promising "before God, his prophet and Moqtada al-Sadr," to "do no harm to any Iraqi or non-Iraqi, either by word or deed."
It's eight points prohibit "lying, gossiping, having a bad character and using foul language."
Signatories also must promise "not to violate the principle of religion," and to set "education and moral perfection" as a goal.
They must consider "as enemies only the United States, Britain and Israel, and take into account that military resistance should be conducted by specialists."
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Before it was disbanded in 2008, the Mahdi Army numbered some 60,000 fighters with fierce loyalty to Sadr, and was the torch bearer of the Shiite "resistance" after the 2003 US-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.
But the militia, whose members were recruited from disadvantaged neighbourhoods, was accused of having committed crimes against Sunni Muslims, and that it was a cover for common criminals.
"The purpose of this document is to remove from the Sadrist movement those who do not follow the right path, to compel signatories to conduct themselves properly and not commit harmful acts that have happened recently," a Sadrist official said.
On July 10, Sadr said he would not revive the Mahdi Army, complaining it had been infested with "criminals."
Sadr said his decision about the Mahdi Army came after a recent incident in the Amin district of eastern Baghdad where a militiaman in a local dispute called in gunmen who shot and killed a resident and wounded another.
"I am innocent of all the abuses that people commit in my name," Sadr had said.
The Sadrist movement has 40 deputies in parliament and seven ministers in Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's national unity government.