“There’s still a tendency to see these things in Sunni-Shia terms. But the Middle East is going to have to overcome that.” – Condoleezza Rice, January 2007.
“Gaza Shiites claim Hamas persecution,” by Ibrahim Barzak for the Associated Press, January 17:
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) “” A member of Gaza’s tiny Shiite minority says followers were beaten by Hamas police during a religious ceremony last week.
The man said police burst into a house of a fellow Shiite during a gathering to commemorate the suffering of the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Imam Hussein. The man says about 15 worshippers were beaten and briefly detained. He declined to be identified fearing further harassment.
Interior Ministry spokesman Ihab Ghussein said Tuesday that the men were planning “criminal acts.”
It’s the first time Gaza’s Shiite community, believed to number several dozen, has claimed harassment by the territory’s Sunni Muslim rulers.
Despite theological differences, Hamas has traditionally had warm ties with Shiite Iran.
The relationship has reportedly not been as warm in the past year, however. Iran was said to have reduced funding to Hamas due in part to its lack of support for Syria’s Assad.