2006 August 06 Sunday
Saudi Wahhabi Clerics Denounce Hezbollah

The Sunni Muslims see Shiites as heretics. The Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia especially take that position. Sheik Safar al-Hawali has denounced Hezbollah even as Hezbollah battles the Jews of Israel.

A top Saudi Sunni cleric, whose ideas inspired Osama bin Laden, issued a religious edict Saturday disavowing the Shi'ite guerrilla group Hizbullah, evidence that a rift remained among Muslims over the fighting in Lebanon.

Hizbullah, which translates as "the party of God," is actually "the party of the devil," said Sheik Safar al-Hawali, whose radical views made the al-Qaida leader one of his followers in the past.

"Don't pray for Hizbullah," he said in the fatwa posted on his Web site.

Sheik al-Hawali, you'll be happy to know that I'm going to follow your suggestion. No praying to Hizbullah. Got that everybody? Remove Hizbullah from your prayer list.

Saudi Wahhabi cleric Abdullah bin Jibreen also has denounced Hezbollah.

JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia, July 23 -- The war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon has created widespread public support for the militant Shiite group among people across the Arab world, but leaders appear uneasy about the conflict and fear it could boost the influence of Hezbollah's patron Iran, analysts say.


A leading Saudi Wahhabi cleric, Abdullah bin Jibreen, this week issued a fatwa, or edict, saying it was a sin to support or pray for Hezbollah, which strict Wahhabis view as an infidel group because it is Shiite. Bin Jibreen, a member of Saudi Arabia's higher religious council, said that he viewed Hezbollah as an enemy doing bidding for Iran, and that through it Tehran was trying to extend its influence in the region.

Saudi writer Yousef al-Dayni said the reaction of most Saudis has been confused and blurred by the government's position on Hezbollah and bin Jibreen's fatwa. "Some activists and intellectuals want to follow the government line and blame Hezbollah. Some believe this is a war between Iran and Syria and Israel, through Hezbollah by proxy. Some have called for the support of Hezbollah, and others just want to support the Lebanese people," he said. "The extremists influenced by bin Jibreen's fatwa believe this is a fight between Jews and Shiites and the rest of us should not get involved."

A report from 2003 suggests Jibreen is a supporter of Bin Laden.

"Jibreen, who is to speak via video hookup from Saudi Arabia, is an influential cleric whose Web site is linked to the IIASA site. Ahmed said Jibreen praised bin Laden in a speech recorded in Saudi Arabia as recently as two months ago. 'Osama is a man who fought in the path of God for a long time,' Jibreen said, according to a translation provided by the Saudi Institute. 'May God aid him and bring victory to him and by him.'"

So Jibreen sees Jews, Christians, and Shiites all as enemies.

In 2004 Jibreen called on Saudis to go to Iraq to attack Coalition troops (that'd be Americans, Brits, etc).

Another cleric, Sheikh Allamah Ibn Jibreen, was advertised to address the Houston gathering via satellite. On his Web site, linked to that of IIASA as a recommended source of Islamic teaching, Jibreen called on Saudis to go north of the Iraqi border to attack Coalition troops.

Jibreen also praised Osama bin Laden only months ago, calling on God to "aid him and bring victory to him and by him."

I wonder if he hates Shiites or Christian more. Now that the Shiites have the upper hand in Iraq and are killing Sunnis does he argue to hold off on attacking Coalition troops and a shift toward attacking Shia soldiers?

A New York Times article reports on upper class Sunni hostility toward Hezbollah and Shiites.

DAMASCUS, Syria, Aug. 3 — To one Damascus University professor, the faint echo of Israeli bombs exploding in the lower Bekaa Valley brings two fears. He recoils at the destruction he imagines across the border, less than 10 miles from his village home, but deeper down he worries that any Hezbollah triumph will come at the expense of his own Sunni branch of Islam.

“Since the Americans invaded Iraq we have all become aware of the danger from the Shiites,” said the professor, who asked not to be identified by name because discussing sectarian rivalry is taboo in Syria, an authoritarian state run by a religious minority. “Ordinary people only think of Hezbollah as fighting against Israeli aggression. But the educated classes think that if Hezbollah controls the region, then the Sunnis will be abused.”

A December 8, 2004 interview of King Abdullah II of Jordan by Chris Matthews encapsulates the elite Arab view of Hezbollah and Iran as a threat to Sunni Arab states. The Sunni elites fear an alliance of Shia-dominated states running from Iran to Lebanon.

MATTHEWS: Do you think that would be a danger to the region, an alliance between a Shia-led Iraq and Iran?

HIS MAJESTY: If it was a Shia-led Iraq that had a special relationship with Iran and you look at that relationship with Syria and Hezbollah and Lebanon, then we have this now crescent that appears that will be very destabilizing for the Gulf countries and for the whole region.http://www.mfa.gov.jo/interviews_details.php?id=93&menu_id=35

Since the Arab masses mostly just see virtuous Muslims fighting perfidious Jews in Lebanon and Israel the elites of Arab states are frustrated. In their view Israel's approach to conduct of the war against Hezbollah makes it hard for them to tilt against Hezbollah.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 August 06 07:42 AM  Cultural Wars Religious

orontes said at August 14, 2006 12:27 PM:

Obviously these religious clerks work directly for the house of saud and the king of saudi arabia. The ruler family in saudi arabia, by many accounts, is a mafia-style hierarchy that is there to benefit their own personal bank accounts and the interest of US in oil.

I would not trust anything coming out from any country that is ruled by mafia-style dictatorship

CASpears AKA Rasfarengi said at August 14, 2006 12:30 PM:

Is it surprising that Sunni clerics who work under the House of Saud would disnounce a Shia Iranian backed group?

Osama Bin Laden...who is Saudi and adheres to a more radical form of the same ideology believes Shia to be heritics, but that they are not as evil as "none-believers". So after he "finishes us" he will go after them.

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