Sheikh Namer al-Namer is a radical Shia cleric who enjoys a following in his little hometown of al-Awamiya in Qatif. If Sheikh Hasan al-Saffar represents the dominant and more tolerant, open-minded voice calling for unity and dialogue with the government, then Sheikh al-Namer stands at the other end of the Shia spectrum with some extreme views and a divisive message. As you might expect, his views didn’t win him many friends, especially in the government who has detained him several times over the past few years.

In his Friday sermon last week, Sheikh al-Namer talked about a possible war between the US and Iran. He asked Iran to reassure the neighboring countries that their peoples’ vital interest will not be compromised, and at the same time said that Iran has the right to defend itself. “They would definitely have the right to close the Straits of Hormuz, to destroy the Zionist entity and to hit American bases and its interests present all over the world,” he added.

Moreover, he said “We stand by Iran and we will do everything to support this country.”

Now of course Sheikh al-Nemer has the right to express his opinion in any issue he wants, but I don’t think the pulpit is the right place to promote his political agenda. I don’t know what the hell he was thinking, but the message he is sending here is certainly unsettling to many of his countrymen and reinforces the prejudices some of them already have regarding the loyalty of Saudi Shia to their homeland.

There are some efforts on both sides to soothe the sectarian tension, but unfortunately most of these efforts remain modest compared to the loud voices of extremists like al-Nemer and his counterparts on the other side of the divide. I believe moderates should work harder and join forces with the King who has repeatedly shown his commitment to dialogue and better understanding between the different trends in our society, as well as between all Muslims and between major faiths around the world.

13 thoughts on “Unsettling

  1. I second you on that, some clerics need to be more wise and responsible when they speak in public.

    But extremists are everywhere, not only in Shaism but also amongst Sunnis and other sects. These voices need to be drown by the moderate and tolerant speeches.

    If the two parties (Sunni & Shia’a) in Saudi Arabia don’t decide to set on one table and settle things out wisely and calmly then a great mischief and chaos might take place just like what happened in a neighbor country.

  2. i believe the alienation the shia have suffered over the manny past years by the kingdom have reproduced the likes of that sheikh !! what these people need to understand there is a new era coming !!

  3. Extremisms begets extremism. The extreme anti-Shi’a nature of the Saudi government, in both it’s actions at home and abroad, only strenthen these types.

    They they off of each other.

  4. Its nice that you are starting to show some neutrality is your posting, one sidedness was getting kind of old. Keep up the good work.

    I don’t know what the hell (he was – not – was he) thinking

    There (are -not- is) some efforts on both sides to soothe the sectarian tension

  5. I fully agree with you. Muslims are labelled as intolerant people. I agree that muslims should be intolerant but they should be intolerant of intolerance. I invite you to visit my blog “voiceoftolerance’ at above address and facilitate tolerance.

  6. Good job Ahmed. You’re starting to be a moderate after all these anti-Sunni extremest. Shiats have their extremest as well. That’s a thing we don’t see often discussed here.

  7. I don’t know much about the thoughts of sheihk Al-Nimr, Ican’t judge him ,he might be a radical person as you say . Even though I agree with you that the speech was no in the right time or place,but according to the parts you’ve mentioned that he is worried about the US attacking Iran and that Iran has the right to defent itself, I agree with him the 2 parts as US has NO RIGHT to attack Iran for silly reasons, they are and in case they will start their war in Iran,it will worsen the bad situation in the middle east.
    I believe in freedom of speech ,and hardly believe in negociation even with those we think have total different opinions.

  8. What was idiotic about what he said? I am a non-Arab sunni Muslim, and if the saudi government is baselessly abusing at-Tasha’yu, then they have a right to fight back.

    There is a disturbing anti-Iranian sentiment that has been in the minds of Arabs since the days of Jahiliyah, even before Shia’ism was established (by bloody force) in Iran.

    Please make a note at what is going on in Palestine, ever since Hamas decided that it would actually take up Iran’s offer of support there has been nothing but abuse and obfuscation from Israel, and even KSA blamed Hamas for its latest difficulty.

    Do you think KSA (or any of the other Arab countries) is sincere then in terms of giving rights to Shia’at and enhancing Muslim unity? KSA and the rest of the Arab league are a huge obstacle in that path. To give yet another example, please recall what was the reaction of Amr Moussa when the official name of Iraq was changed to “Islamic Republic of Iraq”? He nearly shit in his pants. Perish the thought that the people would want to drop the “Arab” from its name and put Islamic. There was such a hue and cry from the nationalists that the name “Republic of Iraq” is now used.

    How does that tie in to the above? Here is how. Ask yourself, do you see the Saudi government reducing its abuse of Shi’at any time in the near future, or in your life time? That is something to think about. Iran has been saying for the longest time to look beyond the Sunni Shia divide and find common cause in Islam. It seems to me that the Arab nations can’t stand that because it undercuts their efforts as being the incompetent leaders of the Muslim world. Iran has the balls to move full steam ahead, maybe KSA need to move to the back of the line and at the same time stob being such a bootlicker to the USA….

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