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Friday, September 26, 2008

Contentious clerics By Salama A Salama

While the West grapples with its anti-Muslim activists, we're being educated by clerics with a fondness for trivia. And it's not only the preachers that are to blame. Our politicians are playing the same game. They like the one- upmanship of a Sunni-Shia divide. They thrive on the polemics of sectarianism.

Muslim nations are suffering not because of the Shias, but because of the frightening reality that is engulfing us all. Muslim nations are suffering because human rights are being trampled upon, and because Muslims are faced by hate in their expatriate abodes. Muslim nations are suffering because we are not doing much about the massacres in Darfur and Somalia, or turbulence in Iraq and Yemen.

We mustn't go on encouraging doctrinal debates that can only worsen sectarian tensions, as is already happening in several parts of the Arab world, Bahrain and Lebanon included. We cannot go on encouraging theological trivia for we would soon lose track of what's relevant and what is not. Clerics, both Muslim and Christians, must start speaking of things that really matter. And there is no shortage there.


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