Sheikh Muqtada Al Sadr
Birth: 12 August 1973 (Age: 43)
Source of Influence: Political
Status: Featured in current year
The son of the late Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Sadiq Al-Sadr, Muqtada is a highly influential political leader who inherited control over large social institutions that served millions in the slums of Baghdad. He gained prominence after the US invasion of Iraq by creating the Mahdi Army, an armed insurgency movement that formed its own courts and system of law enforcement. Al-Sadr leads one of the largest parliament blocs, the Al-Sadr Bloc. Along with Grand Ayatollah Sistani, he is one of the two most important Shia leaders in Iraq. Over the past few years he has spoken increasingly for Shia-Sunni unity and has become critical of the Al-Maliki government.