sabato, Ottobre 24

Fighting tyranny Violence has returned to the Middle East by way of religious oppression and radicalism

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Beirut – Violence has returned to the Middle East by way of religious oppression and radicalism. As millions of Muslims across not just the region, but the world have come together to commemorate the sacred month of Muharram, a month which holds great religious significance for all three Abrahamic faiths, Saudi Arabia has launched a grand crackdown against all Shiites, determined to prevent this one religious community to remember the sacrifice of its Imam: Imam Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad and the third imam of Islam.

On Oct. 22, al-Araby al-Jadeed reported, ”Saudi Arabia, which had the third-highest number of executions last year, has carried out another, as prosecutors seek the death penalty for 16 Shia on the back of unrest.”

Dr. Hasan Saleh, an international relations expert with the University of Sana’a (Yemen) and PhD in Islamic History, told L’Indro: “Because Shiites in Saudi Arabia have refused to quietly surrender their rights, their civil liberties and because they ambition to live by those values which their Imams defended: social-justice, pluralism and equality before the law, Al Saud royals have clamped down on the Shia community.”

He continued: “This so-called dissent, those offenses against the king, the Saudi authorities are using as a cover for repression, hide latent theofascism and western back imperialism. Shiites are being targeted everywhere the kingdom carries influence: in Yemen, Bahrain, the U.A.E., Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, the Sudan, etc. … Everywhere Saudi money pulls strings Shiites have been oppressed most of all, for they base their faith on the idea that resistance to injustice remains not a duty but a religious obligation.”

And because the month of Muharram embodies this very concept of resistance, violence has spiked in the Middle East, deflecting from the message which hides in our history pages – that tyranny needs to be opposed. But it is not just Shiites standing in the eye of the storm. The ultimate targets of Saudi Arabia’s covert colonial campaign in the region are activists, human rights defenders, independent politicians and scholars because their calls, their ideologies, and their teachings mirror those principles Islam embodies in its teachings. And so apostasy has been the word of the day, the ugly label Wahhabis have used to distort the narrative and reduce a movement to a religious heresy.

If Imam Husayn’s name and religious legacy have long rhymed with Islam — Shiite Islam, to be precise — his message and the ideology he carried with him has transcended Islam’s tenets to become a universal cry against tyranny. His name, his life, and his sacrifice have served as inspirations for all those men and women who have always refused to bow to injustice, when they knew they could stand free – whether Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists or atheists.

Courage indeed needs no label; courage of heart and deeds needs no definition. And because courage is as universal as the concept of liberty, the Islamic month of Muharram and Imam Husayn’s sacrifice in Karbala (Iraq) on the day of Ashura continue to inspire generations of men and women, regardless of their beliefs – beyond all manners of division.

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