Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia stokes anti-Shia sentiment: Analyst

Saudi Arabia stokes anti-Shia sentiment

The Saudis and the regional monarchies are funding Takfirism, thereby creating a sectarian Frankenstein’s monster of fanatics beyond their control, an analyst says.

In a column for The Independent, Patrick Cockburn said Takfirism, financed by Riyadh and Persian Gulf monarchies, “is creating the ingredients for a sectarian civil war engulfing the entire Muslim world.”

“The [anti-Shia] hate propaganda is often gory and calls openly for religious war,” he wrote.

Cockburn added that “anti-Shia satellite television” stations financed mainly by Saudi regime seek to sully the image of Shias.

“Shia activists point in particular to the establishment in 2009 of two satellite channels, Safa TV and Wesal TV, which they accuse of having strong anti-Shia bias,” he wrote.

The analyst stated that Saudi clerics “have shown great skill in communicating extreme sectarian views through modern communications technology such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, giving them a much wider audience than they had previously enjoyed.”

He referred to a study conducted on foreign-backed militants operating in Syria, saying they mainly come from Saudi Arabia.

The great majority of the militants had joined the terrorist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, both of which are highly sectarian organizations, he added.

“A deeply dangerous development is that the foreign fighters, inspired by film of atrocities and appeals to religious faith, may sign up to go to Syria but often end up as suicide bombers in Iraq, where violence has increased spectacularly in the past 12 months,” wrote Cockburn.

He said Saudi Arabia and its regional allies have funded satellite television networks “central to the resurgence of al-Qaeda across the Middle East, to a degree that Western politicians have so far failed to grasp.”

Cockburn noted that the Saudi regime and other monarchies continue to support Takfiri groups “through private donations.”

Saudi Arabia has played a major role in activating the sanctuaries and safe havens for al-Qaeda in Iraq and has ensured that there would be an effective recruitment by creating the ideal environment through sectarian rhetoric and divisions.

Takfiri terrorist groups who kill Muslims, including women and children, in bomb attacks in Iraq and Syria, follow the Wahhabi ideology.

Wahhabism which is practiced in Saudi Arabia is disavowed by Shia and Sunni Muslims.

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