([London] Times) Amir Taheri–Religious schism could wreck the Arab Spring

The West often sees Islam as a monolith but in reality it is a patchwork of sects, schools and ways, not to mention some fully fledged religions wearing Islamic masks to avoid persecution. And as always in Islam, religious differences are a cover for political rivalries.

Involved in the schism are three camps. One consists of traditional Sunni Muslims who have just won a share of power in several countries, notably Egypt. The second camp is that of Salafis, Sunni Muslims who dream of reconquering “lost Islamic lands” such as Spain and parts of Russia and to revive the caliphate. In the third camp are Shia militants who hope to overthrow Sunni regimes and extend their influence in southern Asia, Africa and Latin America….

Iran, the leading Shia power, and Saudi Arabia, its Sunni rival, have been fighting sectarian proxy wars for years, notably in Pakistan, Iraq and Lebanon. Last year more than 5,000 people died in sectarian clashes in Pakistan. Under its neo-Ottoman leadership Turkey has abandoned the ringside to join the fray, notably in Libya and Syria. Now Egypt is also testing the waters….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Egypt, Foreign Relations, History, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Violence

3 comments on “([London] Times) Amir Taheri–Religious schism could wreck the Arab Spring

  1. Tomb01 says:

    How can this be? Isn’t Islam the ‘religion of peace’?

  2. Katherine says:

    He’s right about the various factions, of course. Islam began to fracture within a few years of Muhammad’s death. But it seems to me that the “Arab Spring” is already in deep winter.

  3. MichaelA says:

    The Arab Spring is still the Arab Spring, warts and all. But be thankful for this fracturing in Islam which helps to limit the effect of Islamist take-over and dominance of the Spring movement.