This Repulsive War Has Only Just Begun: What Is The State Of Sunni–Shi'ite Rapprochement?
30 August 2013
By Mshari Al-Zaydi
What is the state of Sunni–Shi'ite rapprochement?
What is left of this rapprochement after the
Khomeinist current, which dominates the Shi'ite arena,
has lost its last Sunni cover, represented by the
Azhar scholars and the jurisprudents' wing of the
Muslim Brotherhood, represented by Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi?
Efforts to bring Islamic sects closer, especially the
Sunni and Shi'ite, have been going on for a long time.
One of its recent episodes in our time was the
establishment of an institution for rapprochement
between Islamic sects in Cairo in 1947, and the
support by Azhar's Sheikh Shaltout and Sheikh Al-Bashri
for these efforts.
Following the Khomeini revolution, which turned Iran
into an Islamic republic, these efforts continued, but
in a different guise, which was the Palestinian issue,
the mantra for anyone in Middle East politics.
In 1990, the international Forum for Islamic sects'
rapprochement was established, headed by the expert in
such matters, Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Al-Taskhiri. I
saw him a number of times at conferences in Riyadh,
Jeddah and Cairo.
Now, Sheikh Qaradawi, who once described Hassan
Nasrallah and Hezbollah as heroes, describes Hezbollah
as the party of Satan, and sees Nasrallah as a
dangerous despot to the Muslim nation. Azhar scholars
in Cairo attack Bashar Al-Assad's regime and
Hezbollah. Qaradawi praises Saudi scholars' early
stance in which they warned against Hezbollah and its
hidden agenda against the Sunnis.
What did Nasrallah and his followers gain from
preferring velayat-e faqih to Shi'ite Arabs? Iran, at
worst, will go back inside its borders and return to
its linguistic, cultural and geographic framework,
because it is a complete nation. But what would Arab
Shi'ites do, when they are part of the Arab fabric, or
even the Muslim fabric, from Pakistan and India in the
east, to Lebanon in the west, and from central Asia in
the north, to Yemen in the south, not to mention in
the diaspora in Europe, what would those do when the
war has ended?
How much damage is being caused by Nasrallah to the
future of coexistence in the Islamic world? This
question is especially urgent as fatwas to support the
oppressed are being issued in Indonesia in the Islamic
Nasrallah says he is against sectarianism and that he
is wary of those who peddle such ideas, and attacks
the media which he says does not report his concerns.
OK, but what about the role of the Hezbollah in
We have been warned, repeatedly, about the dangers of
Sunni fundamentalism, but Hezbollah and their ilk are
only just getting started, having been taken in by
their temporary and inflated victories, thinking that
the story will end there.
A Saudi journalist and expert on Islamic movements
and Islamic fundamentalism as well as Saudi affairs.
Mshari is Asharq Al-Awsat's opinion page Editor, where
he also contributes a weekly column. Has worked for
the local Saudi press occupying several posts at Al -Madina
newspaper amongst others. He has been a guest on
numerous news and current affairs programs as an
expert on Islamic.