The Israeli Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center has published a sport tilted “The escalating anti-Shi’ite rhetoric from Sunni clerics belonging to different schools of thought reflects an agreement that the Shi’a is the enemy of the moment.” The report begins:
1. The depth of the Sunni-Shi’ite schism can be seen in all the major arenas? where regional conflicts are being waged. It is reflected in Hezbollah’s growing involvement in the fighting in Syria, the spilling over of the Syrian civil war into Lebanon, record-breaking sectarian violence in Iraq, and the aggressive stance taken by the Persian Gulf states towards Iran and Hezbollah. Thus, the Sunni-Shi’ite schism is emerging as one of the most influential factors shaping the Middle East in a time of regional upheaval.
2. A major force driving the schism is the escalating anti-Shi’ite rhetoric from Sunni clerics who belong to different schools of thought. Of particular note is a speech given on May 31, 2013 by Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, considered by many the current spiritual leader of the Sunni world, in which he said he regretted the many years he had spent on attempts at Sunni-Shi’ite rapprochement. He said that Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi clerics were right to consider Shi’ites as infidels, and adopted their terminology when talking about the Shi’a (‘Hezbollah is the Party of Satan’).
3. The escalating rhetoric is reminiscent of the sentiments in the Sunni world towards the Shi’a during previous ‘waves’, such as the disillusionment that followed the Islamic revolution in Iran, the campaign in Iraq, and the second Lebanon war. It reflects an agreement—shared by shari’a teachers affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Wahhabi establishment, Salafi preachers, and jihadists—that the Shi’a is the enemy of the moment.
4. The meaning of that escalation is that, ideologically speaking, the fight against the Shi’a (and its representatives, Iran and Hezbollah) takes precedence over the fight against the West and Israel—although it does not mean that the fight will necessarily be backed by actual on-the-ground efforts. This coincides with the political and social reality brought about by the regional upheaval: a widening of the fundamental fault lines that run through the Arab and Muslim world.
Read the rest here.
A post from earlier this month reported that that Dr. Salah Sultan, close to Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, had led televised prayers during which he described Hezbollah as “the party of Satan.”
A post from earlier this month reported on comments by Qaradawi calling on Sunni Muslims to join the Syrian rebels in which he also called Hezbollah the party of Satan. In 2008, Qaradawi caused a firestorm in the Islamic world when he accused Shiite Muslims of being heretics who were “invading” Sunni society, accusations he repeated in 2009.