Stands >2004 Stands >The Stand of Zu Elqi'da 16 1425H /December 28, 2004 A.D.

The Shiite Crescent

Sayyed Fadlullah: Shiite Muslims are a Source of Power to Arab Nationalism.

Asked in his weekly seminar the following question: Much talk has been reported lately about a “Shiite Crescent” and the concern about the danger the Shiites pose on the Arab identity of Iraq.
Why is the issue of Shiites raised every now and then in the political sphere, in a way that is totally subjective, and does not leave any opportunity for an objective and rational dialogue?

The Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah, said:

We notice that there are several official and unofficial parties in the Islamic world that exploit the Islamic cause and manipulate it to serve its own political interests.

And there are those persons and groups that try to accuse Shiites of various sorts of false charges, including apostasy, in violation for Allah's call to using the best means in dialogue and to refer every difference to Him and His Messenger (p.).

In the midst of these stormy atmospheres that are nurtured by international intelligence agencies and serve to undermine Islam, there was a renewed talk about a “Shiite Crescent" that is not based on any proof, but that conforms with the enemy's interests.

Such intimidation and incitement attempts serve the American offensive that targets certain Shiite Islamic parties in Iran, Syria and Lebanon that might have a different Arab and Islamic strategy than those who are involved in the American project and wish to benefit from sectarian incitation to stay in their positions as an imperial award for their additional services in dividing the nation. 

We ask those people: what made them concerned about the Arab identity of Iraq? Is it because of their awareness of the danger posed by the American occupation and the political, economic and security opportunities it provides for Israel?

Or are they afraid that the Muslim Shiites will obtain the majority, although they know that Iraq’s political system does not depend, like Lebanon, on sectarian quotas? The Iraqi system is based on the notion of citizenship which the Iraqi Shiites fully adhere to… If the question of the majority arouses such fear, why didn’t the dominance of the previous regime cause any such concerns? Then again, what Arabism are they talking about? Is it the one demonstrated by invading Kuwait as a part of the American arrogant project? Or is it the one demonstrated by their letting down their brothers in Palestine and their readiness to cover up for Sharon's criminal practices, as well as their continuing the normalization process with the enemy whether secretly or publicly?

Let them rest assured that the Shiite Iraq is the Iraq of the Arab tribes that are deep rooted in history. The Shiites there have never become Iranian or Turks.

They have always held fast to their Arabian nationalism and Islamism and to their homeland and Arab Islamic identity…

Therefore, those who are making these accusations should not let their political ignorance and superficiality lead them to such illusions like the Shiite state or crescent. Every one knows the big complications of the conditions in and around Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, to the extent that no one could contemplate the idea that Iran would extend to those areas. In addition, Iran itself does not have such ambitious.

Just as other Muslims do not feel that there is a contradiction between Islam and Arabism, the Shiites too have never seen any problem concerning the fact that they are both Arabs and Shiite Muslims.

It is true that they are linked culturally to the Iranians, but that they have never thought that Iran should become their ruler.

Moreover, the Shiites in Iraq have never sought a Shiite mini state. They have always called for a united Iraq where all citizens have equal rights and duties. If they have been persecuted in the past it does mean that they want to persecute others. On the contrary, they wish to live in harmony with their Sunni brothers and the rest of the Iraqi sects and races.

The Shiites were able to prove how much committed to their Arab nationalism they are when they liberated an Arabic land from the Israeli occupier in Lebanon, and when they supported their Palestinian brothers when the others let them down.

The Shiites are Muslims who believe in Muslim unity. But if there were certain deviations among some of them, this sort of deviation exists in other sects as well.

We can not generalize these deviations to accuse the entire sects. Instead, the Shiites as, an Arab and Muslim community, ought to resort to a frank and forthright dialogue with the other Arab and Muslim sects and study the political and religious accusations in accordance with what Islam has called for. Such dialogue should also aim to prevent a civil strife that many enemy intelligence agencies are trying to agitate.

We call on all Arabs to unite in their strategic goals and objectives and seek to regain the elements of strength, especially as they have a lot of sources to depend on in their confrontation of the greater challenges. Islam is a source of strength for the Arabs and Arab nationalism, just as Arabism is a source of strength to Islam, away of racism, sectarianism and all kinds of partisanship.