Thursday, April 09, 2009
Shias In The Gulf React To Discrimination
Shias (Shiites) in Eastern Saudi Arabia have always suffered repression and discrimination in their country in addition to the millions of Shias who are discriminated against as visiting pilgrims to holy sites. Sheikh Nimr, a Shia leader in Saudi, public declared for the secession of the Shia majority eastern portion of the country. Sheikh Nimr made the declaration in February shortly after serious violence between Saudi religious police and Shia pilgrims in the holy city of Medina.
New statements from Shia leaders denouncing the calls to secede have been labeled by some as an act of complacency to the discrimination of Shias in Saudi. Even though I disagree on the notion that the eastern province should secede, I agree that these types of statements are a detriment to any serious progressive dialogue on the issue of discrimination.
Additionally, I resent the fact that NPR falls for the rhetoric that accuses Iran of using Shia-Sunni tensions as a way to increase their influence in the region. Iranian nationalists who dream of having Bahrain as Iranian territory again are out of touch with reality and do not represent the nation. It is possible for Shias to be upset about something without Iran's influence. Just ask Shias in Iraq who have a variety of political viewpoints, many of which have no desire to form a super-Shia state with Iran.