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Yussef al-Qaradawi is stirring things up again.

When last heard from, the Egyptian-born TV-preacher with a massive Al-Jazeera viewing audience was at the center of a maelstrom touched off by former London mayor Ken Livingstone's invitation to visit the British capital. People from across the political spectrum protested the reception accorded the homophobic, anti-semitic Muslim Brotherhood imam whose approval of suicide operations against Israeli civilians and Infidel troops in Muslim lands should have earned him treatment as a security threat rather than a VIP.

These days Qaradawi is waging a campaign in the Arabic media against his fellow Muslims - specifically the Shia minority whom extremist Sunnis like himself see as heretics. He told the London-based pan-Arab daily, Asharq al-Awsat, that thanks to Iran's orchestrated efforts to undermine the Sunnis, "countries that were purely Sunni are becoming Shia."

In response, Iran's Ayatollah Mohamed Ali Taskhiri, Secretary General of the "World Assembly for Proximity among the Islamic Schools of Thought", condemned Qaradawi's statements, which, he said, were "poisoned with hypocrisy and deceit."

Other religious and political figures from around the region jumped into the fray. A Lebanese MP from Hezbollah, the militant Shia political party, blamed the controversy on foreign powers (i.e. the US and Israel). Though some Sunni spokesmen criticized Qaradawi's sectarianism they also deplored how the Shia were treating fellow Sunnis.

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NB DeAtkine
January 1st, 2010
12:01 AM
Exactly right on the shi'a -sunni divide. A couple of points that I think butress your article 1 The US middle East Academia is totally sunni-centric...so is our State dept. Our constant "reaching out" to Sunni thugs in Anbar province was part of this syndrome. We have few scholars who actually really understand the Shi'a and Juan Cole is not one of them. 2 In reading the British historical take on Iraq, people like Gertrude Bell and Freya Stark, the Shi'a are always the mystics,fanatics, and I think this British attitude was part of their failure in Basra.

James Pawlak
November 22nd, 2008
7:11 PM
Lock them all in a (Big) closet, equip them with good bladed weapons and let them fight it our.

Bill Walsh
October 29th, 2008
7:10 AM
Just a vocabulary note: The Imam Mahdi is in *occultation* (the state of being hidden), not "occlusion" (the state of being closed off).

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