Shiites should regard the Arab Spring as a continuity of their own revolution in asking for freedom and dignity, a member of the Supreme Shiite Islamic Council in Lebanon said.
Sheikh Sayyed Hani Fahs was commenting on the recent political victory of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab world after popular uprisings shook the region in the past couple of years.
“Our Sunni brothers should not get overexcited about their victory, because a majority does not need to fight for its share, but for its role,” he said in an interview with Al Arabiya, aired on Thursday.
“The majority in our region [Sunnis] has the task of protecting the diversities, and not only between religions, but also within the sects,” he added.
“I like to call it the diversity within the unity and the unity between diversities.”
Sheikh Fahs urged people from all beliefs to embrace the Arab Spring.
“Some of us say we learned about freedom from the Christians in our region, and now, we see some Christians siding with the dictator under the excuse of being scared from Islamists. This is illogical.”
The Sheikh believes the building of civil democratic states, devoid of political Islam, is the best political solution for Arab nations.
“When Turkey was building a secular state, while embracing modern Islam, we were looking at it as a role model,” he said.
“This model should have been implemented as a result of the Islamic Revolution in Iran.”
Talking about the Iranian intervention in the Arab region, the Sheikh said it was the result of an absence of any clear Arab plan, whether on political, economic or social levels.
“If Iraq and Lebanon had a true national plan for their mutual states, the Iranian intervention would be automatically halted. But today, Iraq for example, has been abandoned to the U.S. from one side and Iran from the other, without any Arab role to play in it.”
Speaking of the Shiites in Iraq, the Sheikh underlined the need for a mutual dialogue between the country’s different components and a common vision for the future: “We want to help the Shiites in Iraq liberate themselves from the fears of the past, and for the Sunnis in the country to free themselves from the doubts of the future. The same is true for the Christians.”
Sheikh Fahs rejected the idea that conflicts in the region spilling over into Lebanon and causing problems.
“The Arab Spring will not open the door for a civil war in Lebanon; on the contrary, it will stop it.”
Allegedly the biggest representative of the Shiites in Lebanon, Hezbollah has been defending Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime since the start of the revolution in March 2011.
Acknowledging the strength and power that Hezbollah holds today, and the big role of the party in liberating Lebanon from Israel, Sheikh Fahs said: “I wish the Shiite collective mind had grown as much as their muscle; that way, we would have accomplished our goals in partnership with others, and not at the expense of others.”
Sheikh Fahs spoke about the need to find a new plan for Hezbollah’s weapons which the state has no control over, especially after the Lebanese liberation from the Israeli occupation in the year 2000, and the 2006 war with Israel.
“The weakness of the state in Lebanon should not be used as an excuse to remain armed or use weapons according to one’s wishes.”
The Sheikh called for all parties in the country to pursue their dialogue, while expressing hope that politicians, intellectuals and religious figures not in governance could also sit together to discuss the building of a civil, democratic state in Lebanon.