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Fanaticism is a barrel of gunpowder

Mohammed Al Shaikh

Published: Updated:

Terrorism and sectarianism are inseparable. Whoever is a fanatic to his doctrine, atoning others, is a terrorist even if he doesn’t admit it. When Obama gave Iran the green light to wreak havoc and sabotage Arab countries. Iran employed sectarian division to achieve its plans and its expansionist ambitions. Iran was acutely aware that there are some simple ignorant minds that will fall for the first spark of fanaticism. This is, unfortunately what happened.

I have friends from the Saudi Shiite community and I find them the most noble of men. I trust them. They are the most faithful to the homeland; but they suffer from fanaticism and its implications, just as Sunni intellectuals do. Someone once told me: if Iran wished to achieve its goals, it wouldn’t find better than some Saudi Sunni fanatics, since Sunnis are Intolerant, and they profess loud and clear that Shiites are their ultimate enemy. Naturally, this will push some into the arms of Iran, to defend their existence.

If we were to read the history of some nations who suffered from civil wars, one cannot ignore the horrors, the tragedies and the bloodshed, all because of sectarian and doctrinal differences, which could have been avoided

Mohammed Al Shaikh

What my friend said is convincing and rational; because every exclusionary action will have the same kind of reaction. It is known in political sociology that you cannot deal with political or religious social phenomena unless you surround it with objective dimensions, seek the motivation behind it, their causes, where it came from, and the catalysts that made them a phenomenon on the first place. As long as we privilege the religious affiliation to the national union, we are creating a fissure in the national cohesion. Iran pays millions of dollars and exploits its Arabic-speaking media platforms to infiltrate the Gulf, recruit agents, raise fanaticism and control the minds of some. Some Sunni fanatical idiots fall for the schemes of Iran and call for the exclusion of Shiite citizens of their rights of citizenship, making Iran’s dream come true.

Tragedies that could have been prevented

If we were to read the history of some nations who suffered from civil wars, one cannot ignore the horrors, the tragedies and the bloodshed, all because of sectarian and doctrinal differences, which could have been avoided if some people showed tolerance with the offender, and agreed to live with each other despite differences.

We now live in an era which has seen President Trump ascended to the presidency of the United States. Since the first month of his mandate, he and his cabinets announced their intentions to limit the influence and power of Iran, since curbing its expansion is one of their first priorities. Such a position entails a new mind set from us; most importantly we need to confine our difference with Iran and limit it to the expansion issue, its support for terrorism. We ought to disassociate our populist discourse from the rotting sectarian dimension. We are not against Iran because they are Shiites, and we have no agenda to convert the Iranian Shiites to Sunni, as Iran actively does. We aim to live in peace alongside them, and transcend the issues of sectarian affiliations. Just like they should not threaten our national sovereignty, not seek to shake our security, or interfere in our national affairs under the pretext of supporting the oppressed Shiites. If this were to happen, we could all live in peace.

This article was first published in al-Jazirah newspaper.

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Mohammed Al Shaikh is a Saudi writer with al-Jazirah newspaper. He tweets @alshaikhmhmd

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.