In recent years, Wahabi clerics have labeled Shias apostates and made no attempt to conceal their endorsement of suicide bombings that target civilians and holy sites in Iraq, Pakistan, and elsewhere. More recently, Saudi forces launched an open attack on Yemeni Houthi civilians in Yemen, thus disregarding several international laws and committing gross human rights violations.When Wahabi cleric Mohammed al-Urefi launched a verbal tirade against Yemeni Shias and accused their Iraqi counterparts of assisting them against Saudi Arabia, very few people could pretend to be unsettled. The sermon on January 1 followed a similar pattern of most others held in Saudi Arabia: blind, hateful, and plagued with the Takfir (labeling as apostates) of Shia Muslims. Al-Urefi, however, took the rhetoric to a reprehensible new level that Muslims had yet to witness by attacking Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Sistani, the revered leader of millions of Muslims around the world. In his sermon, Al-Urefi called Ayatollah Sistani an “atheist and debauched”.
Thousands of Iraqis protested the comments by Al-Urefi this past Friday, and the Iraqi Parliament condemned the statements and called on the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) to speak out against such statements. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki strongly criticized the attack on Ayatollah Sistani and was quick to point out that Saudi clerics have exhibited a tendency to attack Shia scholars due to their hostilities to Shia Islam. The Society of Qom Seminary Teachers also reacted swiftly to the insult by Al-Urefi by denouncing the shameful statement and advising Muslims to be conscientious of plans to cause rifts among Muslims through statements such as those by Al-Urefi.
Al-Urefi’s defamation of Ayatollah Sistani is a riveting portrait of what Saudi Arabia and the Wahabi juggernaut have been reduced to. In order to claim some legitimacy, Wahabis (who represent the ‘religious’ views of Saudi Arabia’s leadership) are attacking respected Muslim figures who have a proven track record of working against imperialist plans to cause strife among Muslims. A man of peace and the true character of Islam would obviously be attacked by Wahabis who advocate terrorism and destruction. The very presence in Iraq of a righteous and forthright leadership under Ayatollah Sistani is a threat to the very existence of the Saudi Arabian government and its plans to override Islam and go against its very teachings.
In recent years, Wahabi clerics have labeled Shias apostates and made no attempt to conceal their endorsement of suicide bombings that target civilians and holy sites in Iraq, Pakistan, and elsewhere. More recently, Saudi forces launched an open attack on Yemeni Houthi civilians in Yemen, thus disregarding several international laws and committing gross human rights violations. More interestingly, the self-righteous Saudis who have been trying to force-feed their twisted doctrine down the throat of the Muslim community were at a loss to justify breaking countless Islamic laws that forbid violence against civilians. Not a single Saudi cleric, Wahabi or not (except perhaps the Shia ones), was willing to condemn the attack on civilians and taking part in the act of war in Dhul Hujjah, one of the four sacred Islamic months in which war is unequivocally prohibited.
In a distant age, some observers considered Saudi Arabia to be the main representative of the world’s one billion Muslims, and by and large, the Wahabis have used this relevance to grow and subject Shias to intense oppression in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries. In a testament to their hypocritical nature, Wahabi clerics have been keen to attack Shias on the basis of them being infidels, but have remained silent on their blatant collaboration with Israel. To be fair, Wahabis don’t merely exist in Saudi Arabia, and their influence dictates policies in Egypt, Jordan, and UAE – countries which have for the past 30 years made no effort to hide their fondness of the Zionist entity. As a result, very few of these countries have spoken out, if ever, against Israel’s actions in the Middle East. Instead, they have stood with Israel time and time again in its oppression of Muslims in Palestine and Lebanon.
Al-Urefi’s attack on Ayatollah Sistani is just another part of a growing list by Wahabis to depreciate from the few Muslim scholars and leaders who refuse to sell out Muslims to Imperial powers. It is of prudence to note that no Arab countries, or the Arab League, have condemned Al Urefi or other Wahabi fanatics for this and previous incidents because it directly conflicts with their character and mantra. Unlike the Islamic leadership of several other countries that has been reduced to mere mouthpieces, Shia scholars have stood steadfast in the face of outside attempts to cause a civil war among Muslims and sacrificed great amounts to secure Islamic unity. Saudi Arabia and its allies have shamed all Muslims, and we should not be surprised by more attacks on those who oppose the current status quo in the Muslim world led by the Wahabis and their Imperial allies.