House of Saud's School of Thought!
DUBAI: An influential cleric of Saudi Arabia’s hardline Sunni school of Islam has denounced Shia Muslims as “infidels” in a new religious edict that comes amid rising sectarian tension in the region. “The rejectionists (Shias) in their entirety are the worst of the Islamic nation’s sects. They bear all the characteristics of infidels,” Sheikh Abdel-Rahman al-Barrak said in the fatwa, or ruling, distributed on Islamist websites. “They are in truth polytheist infidels, though they hide this,” the fatwa said, citing theological differences 14 centuries after the death of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), such as reverence of shrines which followers of Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi school consider abhorrent. Concern is growing in Saudi Arabia over Shia-Sunni violence in Iraq which has taken the northern neighbour to the brink of civil war. Sunni-Shia tensions are also high in Lebanon, where Shias are leading efforts to bring down a Sunni-led cabinet. “The Sunni and Shias schools of Islam are opposites that can never agree, there can be no coming together,” the fatwa said. Barrak, an independent scholar, has come to be regarded by many as the highest authority for Wahhabi Muslims. Clerics of the austere Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam have long dismissed Shias as virtual heretics and Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority complains of second-class treatment. But Barrak’s fatwa was the strongest in recent years. The fatwa, which was published on Barrak’s website in response to a follower’s question, also appeared to criticise efforts by some government-backed Saudi preachers at reconciliation between Sunnis and Shias. reuters