RNA - Earlier this October, following calls and intelligence initiated by Saudi Arabia, France ordered a police raid against the Zahra Centre in Paris - a Shia organization, which creed has long been declared war to by Wahhabism/Salafism on account it rejects any and all forms of religious fundamentalism and indoctrination as a founding principle to its faith.
Built around the concept of resistance against oppression - whichever form, shape, or label such oppression may be embodied in and/or under, Shia Islam has been systematically demonized by Saudi Arabia, and those who hold to those schools of thoughts selling bloodshed as a religious axiom.
France has rationalized its aggression based on allegations that the Zahra Center is actively promoting radical Islam and thus falls within France’s counter-terrorism mandate. If such reasoning may hold on paper - if we accept in fact that France is interested in placating radicalism by denouncing the source of its ideology, France’s logic melts before the demands of a rational mind.
By electing Zahra Center as a legitimate target of France’s counter-terrorism efforts, the French authorities are inferring that Shia Islam is the source of terror’s underlying ideology … only we know this to be untrue.
In fact no religious denomination across history has suffered more than Shia Islam by the hands of Islamic radicals. For well over 14 centuries, radicals have declared ‘open season’ on Shia Muslims - destroying their places of worships, vilifying their scholars, mocking their beliefs, outlawing their creed, criminalizing their worship, advocating religious cleanses against their communities.
Examples have been many and well documented. So much in fact that the Al Baqee Organization will on October 11th, challenge Saudi Arabia’s rights violations against religious minorities at the United Nations Human Rights Council.
But to give Caesar his due I will happily admit that none more than the absolute monarchs of Al Saud have been more intent on disappearing Shia Islam from the face of the earth.
In September, I wrote an article for the New Eastern Outlookoutlining the kingdom’s new efforts in outlawing Shia Islam ahead of the Arbaeen pilgrimage in Iraq. A commemoration marking the 40th day of the martyrdom of Imam Hussain - grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, Arbaeen far exceeds in number (by over 17 million to be precise) the pilgrimage of the Hajj, an affront Al Saud has been keen on rectifying as they view themselves as owners of Islam rather than mere practitioners of its tenets.
Where most recoil in horror before the horrors preached by Wahhabism/Salafism, communities have found solace under Shia Islam - safe under the guarantee that all faiths will be offered protection and freedom of practice.
I write in my analysis: “By HRW’s own admission such patterns of behaviors [sectarianism] have comforted radicals in their sectarian pursuit. “The Islamic State and al-Qaeda have used it to justify targeting Saudi Shia with violence: Since mid-2015, the Islamic State has carried out attacks against six Shia mosques and religious buildings in Eastern province and Najran, a southwestern city that also has a large Shia population, killing more than 40 people,” the rights group stated.”
Wahhabist Saudi Arabia sees Shia Islam as its main contender in the pursuit of power over the Muslim world. Only in this imaginative race, Saudi Arabia is chasing its own tail. Shia Islam does not play by Wahhabism’s rules, it sides instead with individuals’ right to choose whichever and whatever they believe.
The likes of al-Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, al-Nusra and other terror denominations have spent rivers of ink calling for the murder of all "Shia infidels" so that none would contend Wahhabism/Salafism’s dogmatic worldview.
How many countries in the Middle East have we seen burn under such cries? Have we forgotten the millions of innocent lives lost in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Bahrain, and Nigeria?
According to Paris authorities Zahra Centre’s activities will be “followed in particular because of the strong support for the leaders of several terrorist organizations and for movements advocating ideas contrary to the values of the republic.”
Now … and this is important, those are dangerous lines heavy with double-entendre.
France under the guise of defending its republic is slowly setting the tone for anti-Shiism, thus adding one more arrow to its anti-Iranian bow. I believe we have seen such scenario play out too many times but naive to its real political motives.
France is not concerned about Zahra Centre … if indeed it wanted to address terror it would most certainly cut ties with those selling murder as state policies, namely Saudi Arabia and other vengeful genocidal regimes in the region, France wants to introduce the idea that Shia Islam and Iran are one so that it could very nicely focus its ire on all Shia Muslims and feed Saudi Arabia’s psychosis against the Islamic Republic.
Although Iran has made a stand for all people on the basis of such principles as freedom, human rights, sovereignty, and political self-determination, it does not speak for the entirety of the Shia community … nor does it claim to.
A flag-bearer of Shia Islam most certainly, the Custodian of Shia Islam no. Iran does not claim to such title, Iran does not ambition to imprint its name or its system of governance onto the Muslim world either - that would be Saudi Arabia.
The same Saudi Arabia countless officials have warned against by the nature of its political and religious creed.
I once more refer to US Department of Treasury’s Under-Secretary Stuart Levey’s comments when he warned in 2009, “We must focus on educational reform in key locations to ensure that intolerance has no place in curricula and textbooks. Unless the next generation of children is taught to reject violent extremism, we will forever be faced with the challenge of disrupting the next group of terrorist facilitators and supporters. And Saudi Arabia is one such key location.”
If anything is endangering France’s republican values, it is its friendship with Saudi Arabia, a nation so intent on dissolving all opposition to its rule that it has resorted to cannibalism. Following the arrest and alleged torture of over 30 members of its ruling elite in November 2017 and the kidnapping this October of Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent journalist for the Washington Post and former Saudi intelligence official, I would say that the kingdom is a dangerous friend to have indeed … Shia Islam on the other hand has already proven to be an invaluable partner in the defeat and opposition of terror.
By Catherine Shakdam, Researcher at al-Bayan Centre for Planning and Studies/Press TV