“Shiites are Muslims but they are heretics and their danger comes from their attempts to invade Sunni society,” said Qaradawi, who was quoted in the Egyptian independent daily Al Masry al Youm. “They are able to do that because their billions of dollars trained cadres of Shiites proselytizing in Sunni countries. . . . We should protect Sunni society from the Shiite invasion.”
Those opinions were first published on September 6. Since then, Qaradawi, a man with a polished voice and a gray beard who hosts a show on Islamic law on TV channel Al Jazeera, has been chastised by Shiite scholars and writers in what has turned into a war of polemics and personal attacks played out on websites and in newspapers from Doha to Cairo.
Qaradawi’s statements are dangerous and may “push the Muslim people in the direction of more division,” Ayatollah Mohammed Taskhiri, vice president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, was quoted as saying in the Iranian press. The Tabnak News Agency, which is close to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Council, condemned the comments as a “calculated conspiracy against Iranian Shiites.” — from this article
What a very novel notion, to some (especially in Washington). What an unheard-of idea, to some (especially in Washington) — that Sunnis should be alarmed by Shi’a, and Shi’a alarmed by Sunnis. This must end, of course, and we shall ignore the fact that the Sunni-Shi’a hostility goes back to Ali, that is, back to the earliest days of Islam.
Why, it was Bush who, after the war in Iraq had begun, exclaimed with surprise, when he overheard others discussing Sunnis and Shi’a, that “I thought they were all Muslims.” And it was Condoleezza Rice who said that the Sunnis and the Shi’a “will just have to overcome” their ancient hatreds and learn to live together. Perhaps she had in mind a New-England-Town-Meeting setting, where in the new “free” Iraq everyone could sit down with everyone else and simply hammer out a compromise, just the way Americans do, or British, or Canadians.
And if the Bush Administration has its way, 1300 years of hostility will be overcome. And Islam, an ideology that fosters suspicion, and revenge, and group-think, and aggression and violence, will for some inexplicable reason — possibly the effects of that “freedom” transplanted to “ordinary moms and dads” in the Middle East — will no longer have these effects on the minds of Muslims in Iraq, and all shall be well.
Yes, if the Bush Administration understands Iraq aright — and of course it must, mustn’t it? — any conceivable fissures between the two sects in Iraq will be solved through appeals to common sense, and by Americans bringing more toys and good things to eat to the boys and girls on the other side of the mountain, in distant Mesopotamia.
Of course, what should have happened, and happened long ago, is the cool, calm identification of the certain consequences of the removal of Saddam Hussein. The most certain of these was the end of Sunni rule in Iraq, and the transfer of power, inexorable and permanent, to the Shi’a in Iraq. And the removal of Saddam Hussein also meant the removal of the regime that had caused neighboring Iran the most trouble. Freed from any inhibitions, the Iranians have been making political inroads through appeals to the Shi’a in Lebanon, now the largest of that country’s sects have inveigled the Alawites of Syria to do their bidding (and have provided a fatwa that allows the syncretistic Alawites, with their worship of Mary, to claim nervously that they are indeed “real Muslims”). They have also held onto three islands claimed by the U.A.E. They have appealed to Shi’a in Bahrain (where 70% of the population chafes under a Sunni ruler), and in the Eastern (Hasa) Province of Saudi Arabia, where all of that country’s oppressed Shi’a, as well as all of that country’s major oil fields, are to be found.
And most alarming of all, the Iranians have been engaged in missionary activities among Sunni Muslims, attempting to convert them to Shi’a Islam and, in some cases, apparently meeting with success.
In Yemen Shi’a tribes fight the Sunni-run government. In Bahrain, the Ruler tries nervously to offer citizenship to Sunni Arabs from outside. In Kuwait, the one-quarter of the population that is Shi’a (including a rich friend or two of Fouad Ajami) chafes at under-representation in the government. In Pakistan the Shi’a are attacked by a Sunni group, Sipah-e-Sahaba, that specializes in attacks on Shi’a professionals (doctors, engineers), and Shi’a mosques.
And now comes Qaradawi, with his rage at the Shi’a — a rage perhaps compounded by the conversion of his own son to Shi’ism.
This, from the viewpoint of Infidels, is not a bad thing. This is a very good thing.