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Sunday , February 23 2020

Shun sectarianism – ‘Govts share responsibility’


At the height of apartheid between the white minority and black majority in the Republic of South Africa, the Rev Archbishop Desmond Tutu, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, said of the continued conflict that it was unfortunate that so many people became victims, because at the end of the day the country would be ruled by the majority blacks. ‘So why does the conflict not end?’

We write this in light of the Sunni-Shiite conflict that threatens all the countries of the region. This age-old conflict is a result of ignorance and deliberate marginalization by the disputing parties, laws and the role played by some institutions, the lack of freedoms, and tampering with the rights of religious and ethnic minorities, and this has been exploited by the forces of darkness to expand the area of their influence.

The sad truth is that many people do not wish to pay attention to it, they ignore the fact that no single party has the sole authority, no matter what anyone did, to eliminate the other party and it is plain absurd to live this conflict forever.

In a distinguished article written by a colleague and friend, Khalil Haidar under the title ‘Shiites of Kuwait and the Iran-Saudi conflict’ on Sept 20, 2016, he called on the Shiites in the region to play a positive role in the continued Saudi-Iran fallout because according to Haidar as a result of this conflict they will find themselves paying a heavy price, particularly those in the GCC countries, should the conflict continue.

The writer blames some of the Shiite leaders and their activism, and the silence of their political media. Their actions lack sound judgment or wisdom to control political accounts and decisions which are tinted with sectarian tendencies.

The writer added the position taken by those leaders is not in the best interest of the Shiites and their future stability in the arena social and political relations and their advancement inside the Kuwaiti and GCC society.

He also noted in the article, that a large number of graduates and educated people and intellectuals from among the majority of the Shiites pay close attention to the situations in Iran.

They incline towards the official Iranian policy, the ideas of the clerics, and the jurisprudence at a time when we find the Iranians themselves divided over official policy and the reform movement that is against the official policy.

Some of the Iranians are calling for non-interference in Arab and Gulf affairs and urge reconciliation with Saudi Arabia and the majority of Sunni and Arab countries in order to build a national policy that makes Iran prosper, that revives the economy and save the fallen currency, to make it easy for Iranians to travel to any part of the world and that means Iran stay away from extremism and the so-called interference groups.

Although we agree with the views of our dear colleague, Abu Aziz, the issue is not, of course, that simple. Ignorance is the master of the situation, and the absence of basic freedoms magnifies and strengthens this ignorance.

In consequence thereof, it is not fair to put the continuation of the conflict on the failure of some ‘wise Shiites and some of their leaders’ for failing to end the conflict. The majority of them are politicians and clerics and their popularity and very survival perhaps lies beneath the continuation of the differences.

There is no hope with them. The responsibility to end the conflict or to reduce its impact lies on the shoulders of the governments of the region whose educational syllabuses, their media, suspicious silence have all contributed to sedition.

This is in addition to satellites and publications which have widened the scope of sectarian forces and leaders of religious movements. They have triumphed in deepening the sectarian gap and differences between the segments of the society. The one who can solve the problems is the one who created it.

By Ahmad Al-Sarraf

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