Not THAT chestnut again!

9 Apr, '06
Hosni Mubarak looking very much like a child molester
The Egyptial president for life, raising the spectre of Shi’aphobia

Today’s humungous brain-fart belongs to non other than that democrat-despot-I’m-president-for-life- dammit-respect-me-and-I’m- the-non-elected-leader- of-the-Arabs Hosni Mubarak:

There are Shia in all of those states in very big percentages, and the loyalty of those Shia is to Iran, most of them are loyal to Iran. Their loyalty is not to their particular countries.”

Hey Hassoooni, flip that scratched record, fear-mongering is a bit old (but not as old as you obviously, even with all the hair colour in the world)

King Abdulla of Jordan tried it before, and ended up apologising for his brain-fart. We await yours…

Hat tip Big Pharaoh

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Comments (28)

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  1. Will says:

    Sounds a bit like a personal attack there Mahmood!!! 🙂

    How palpable is the division between the Shia and Sunni factions? How close is Iraq to civil war?

  2. 50% says:

    Mubarak is a jukebox, put a quarter (or 100 files) and he will say anything you want

  3. mahmood says:

    Will, if Mubarak didn’t mount a personal attack with that statement of his on over 300 million people, I don’t know what is. It is not becoming of a so called “leader of the Arab world” to sow division like this, unless he is mentally ill that is, and I believe due to this person’s advanced age, he might well be, and this utterance is proof positive that he is.

  4. Will says:

    I am certainly not defending Mubarak.

    I hope I am not being obtuse. Is there no truth in what he is saying?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Hosni; from where you came with that idea?! Did any king came and told you that his people are more loyal to Iran than their own country?! It is a critical situation which raises a lot of question marks. We don’t need any apology from “Mr. Loyal to Dollar” .. We need that our government to call the ambassador and tell him to deliver a strong message saying that our people are loyal to their country and you have no right to say any of those sick ideas.

  6. bahraini4eva says:

    Mubarak is just escalating the already chaotic ongoing war taking place in Iraq by making such absurd statements. To claim that all shias are loyal to Iran and not their own countries is a statement one wouldn’t expect to come out from the mouth of an “elected” leader or any Muslim! We are all one who believe in the same God and Prophet, and to further divide between sunnis and shias will result in no more than further violence and killings of innocent people!

  7. NomadicArab says:

    Although I do not know the context under which this was stated, I’m not really surprised. Mubarak’s government has always been known to be unaccepting of other religions. The Copts of Egpyt have been pleading for equal treatment for years now. It is a pity that instead of bringing the Arab world together and focusing on more important issues, such sweeping generalizations are made.

  8. Will says:

    I see.

  9. Ibn says:


    In light of the dubious at best, and dangerous at worst, “partnerships” that have arisen between the Iraqi Shias and the Iranians via SCIRI, Mahdi/Badr brigades, dont you think that what Mubarak is saying might actually be true on a grand scale?

    In a region that where people define themselves as well as their loyalties in terms of sect, tribe and clan, where there is little concept of a nation-state, dont you think that it might be true that the majority of Shias probably are more loyal to Iran than to their native countries?


  10. mahmood says:

    No, I don’t think so Ibn.

    In fact I know so, being a Shi’a myself with good connections to the community I live in, I can tell you categorically that Shi’as do not plead allegiance to Iran, Iraq, Saudi, or any other country than that which they have been born in, or have become citizens of.

    There is a misconception amongst those who do not understand even the salient points of Shiism to label them as they are not loyal, simply because they choose to “follow” the religious edicts of “Marji’s” who happens to reside in Iran, Iraq or Lebanon or wherever else they might choose to reside. That is completely different and requires a whole lot of articles to explore this part of the religion, but to put it very simply: following a Marji’ is a personal choice bestowed on every Shi’i and s/he can change his mind and follow someone else at any time that s/he likes (some justification required) if it is found that the person they are following has become too extreme, or you simply do not agree any more with his interpretations.

    In essence, you would use the Marji’, the religious leaders, as reference points to practice and explain your religion. They are not objects of, and should never be considered as, the definition of citizenship.

  11. LiB Team says:

    Hosny Mobarak “La Vache Quiri”, Public phone and one hell of a dinosaur, he should shut the hell up cuz he’s nothing but a repetitive idiot!

  12. mahmood says:

    Full coverage on this fiasco and Saidi’s new brainfart in today’s Al-Wasat in Arabic.

  13. Husni guy is out of his brains!
    Why would he make such remarks in he given situation in Iraq right now?

    I bet if Iran or the Shiites pay him a couple of dollars, he’ll start talking about the great Islamic Power of the Islamic Republic…!

  14. Ibn says:

    Hmm..interesting points Mahmood.

    I will concede I do not know too much about Shia history in the middle east.

    I am curious as to how you explain the seemingly Shia-Iraqi/Iranian alliance however. If not loyalty, what forces do you think are at work here?


  15. onlooker says:

    Hi Mahmood.

    I can’t help but think that with these comments, Mr. Mubarak has very conveniently eliminated the possibility of an Egyptian-led Arab “peacekeeping” force in Iraq… in other words, something he didn’t likely want to do anyway it seems is now out of the question.

    I don’t think he says anything by accident, and I don’t think he’s crazy. Powermad, maybe, but not nuts. He knew what he was saying.

  16. mahmood says:

    onlooker, you have a point. Talk big and don’t deliver seem to be the hallmark of Mubarak.

    Ibn, no idea, haven’t been following that side of the story.

  17. Chanad says:

    Obviously, Hosni is fearmongering, as was King Abdullah last year. And anyone living in Bahrain is very familiar with the Shia-Iran bogeyman that is used to discredit threats to the regime.

    Having said that, the situation is bit more complex. There is a reason why these leaders feel so threatened by Arab Shia (or at least, why they are so successful in spreading fear).

    The nation state demands that its citizens be entirely devoted to the state — even more so in our middle eastern dictatorships. Any competitors to this devotion are rarely tolerated.

    In the Shia marja’ taqleed system, one makes a personal choice about which religious leader to follow from among a list of recognized maraji. Some (certainly not all) people have chosen Ayatollah Khamenei (or other Iranian pro-regime marja) as their religious leader. The issue this poses is that Khamenei is not only a transnational religious leader, but also a political head of state. And according to his worldview, religious leaders need to be directly involved in politics. There is probably no other example in the world where the roles of both political and religious authority are endowed to such a degree in a single individual. So, if he were to make a religio-political statement that conflicted with the desires of the Bahraini govt, where would the sympathies of Khamenei’s Bahraini followers lie?

    This is why the Bahraini govt feels so threatened by all the huge portraits of Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamenei that are carried around in Manama during Muharram. And remember the Khamenei cartoon protests in Bahrain last year? It seems the protesters refused to recognize any difference between Khamenei’s political role and his spiritual role.

    To use an extreme analogy, imagine if a US citizen during the Cold War were to hang up posters of Kruschev, and assert that “I only consider him as my spiritual leader, not my political leader”. The US state would not look on this too favourably, because regardless of how a devotee views him, Kruschev was an international political figure.

    The main point is that nation states do not like political transnationalism, because it challenges the authority of the state.

    So of course, labelling all Shias as Iranian agents is blatantly wrong, and usually intentionally provocative — essentialism is a useful tactic for threatened politicians. But it should also be recognized that there does exist an element in modern Shi’ism that, potentially, directly challenges the desired monopoly of authority in the Arab dictatorship states.

  18. Chanad says:

    Sorry, I just thought of a more appropriate analogy than the Kruschev one.

    Compare the situation with how threatened the Gulf states were by the spread of Nasserism/Pan-Arabism. The names were different, but the accusations thrown around by the state were almost identical to the more recent Shia-Irani bogeyman. Nation-states do not like transnationalism, by definition.

  19. mahmood says:

    But it should also be recognized that there does exist an element in modern Shi’ism that, potentially, directly challenges the desired monopoly of authority in the Arab dictatorship states.

    Does that make all Catholics then traitors to their country of origin or residence as they follow the Pope, whose positions (at least Pope John Paul) cross the religious/political divide?

    If the Arab states are that concerned with this particular issue, they should work at fixing it: work at bettering the standard of living of their people and separating religion from state would go a long way… but as all use religion specifically to subjugate their citizens, and intentionally reduce the standard of living in order to “control” their people, there is not much hope to see a resolution to this, other than getting more (paid) fear-mongers to creep out from their hiding holes.

  20. jasra jedi says:

    chanad .. very well articulated.

    mahmood .. i am not sure that the analalogy with the pope is accurate. for example, the vatican doesn’t condone abortion, but some christian catholic countries do. i think that ayatollah khomeini has much more power than the pope in the moslem world because of the concept of the marja’ and because of the inherent weakness of the state in these issues.

    also, the nation-states cannot compete historically with the power of al marja-iyah purely on the basis of time! one has been around for far much longer than the other.

    and, it has to be said, beyond any reasonable doubt, that most of the shia groups in the nation states are discriminated against .. institutionally. and that is partly the problem.

    as for iraq .. i am not sure what is going on there. i think that in times of war, a survivor, in his/her bid to survive, will ally themselves with who is stronger. in lebanon, the chistian lebanese allied somewhat with israel. does that mean that their loyalties were to the israelis? no. it means that their real enemy was within lebanon, with other lebanese, and they were reinforcing their troops. ditto for hizbollah. nasrallah is very lebanese.

    so, the relationship between sadr and sciri is interesting. sistani’s role is also interesting. and i think that from what little i know, there is a significant difference between sadr and sistani in their ethos and approach. does that mean that their allegiances are towards iran? no. but they are going to use whatever iran will give them for their own goals, which are iraqi situated and iraqi specific. and for the record, imho, the restraint and the wisdom of the iraqi shia is the most significant factor in the fact that civil war hasnt broken out with reckless abandon. and, they have been provoked to the hilt ….

    this one is complicated. and will have reverbations throughout the whole gulf. and it will be very itneresting to watch. king abdulla’s (jordan) comments last year and hosni’s comments this year should be read for what they are .. a reflection on where their own achilles heel lies with respect to the loyalty and identity of their own people… and how they think this ‘civil war’ in iraq will play out ..

  21. mahmood says:

    hats off JJ, and point conceded.

  22. Chanad says:

    I wrote earlier:

    But it should also be recognized that there does exist an element in modern Shi’ism that, potentially, directly challenges the desired monopoly of authority in the Arab dictatorship states.

    JJ helped make my point, but I should just clarify what exactly I meant in my statement above when I referred to “an element of modern Shi’ism”. Specifically, I am taking about Khomeini’s concept of wilayat al faqih (which of course not all Shias adhere to).

    The marja’ taqleed system is transnational, but it is not inherently or explicitly political. Many of the maraji’ have a quietist approach to politics. However, the concept of wilayat al faqih proposes that religious scholars have a duty to get involved in politics. This is the explicitly transnational political element I was referring to.

    I should also note that adherents of wilayat al faqih are not the only ones in the world that have this feature. Take for example Al Muhajiroun/Hizb ut Tahrir, another explicitly transnational political organization. If they ever manage to get mainstream support, then you can bet that state governments will not deal with them lightly. Another one is Islamism… in theory it also has a transnational political agenda, but in practice they always end up acting within the national sphere, as shown by Olivier Roy. There are also some American Jews who always make their political decisions in line with that of the Israeli state.

    However in none of the above cases are the transnational political and religious roles combined as acutely as in the current implementation of wilayat al faqih by the Iranian regime. This is why its so easy to employ the Shia-Iranian bogeyman.

  23. jasra jedi says:

    Chanad ..

    Help me with this. Its something that I have been trying to understand. Does Sistani beleive in ‘wialayt al faqih’? Or not?

    And, is there a movement in modern Shism that counteracts Wilayat al Faqih? If so, what is it?

  24. Chanad says:

    JJ I’m really not that well informed about the specifics. I’m sure there are other readers who know much more, so I hope they’ll step up and correct me if I’m off the mark.

    I remember an article by Juan Cole where he wrote about Sistani’s views. He said that Sistani was opposed to wilayat al faqih. The main point was that he doesn’t think the clergy should seek posts in the government, but should rather push their influence in civil society. I’ll try to find the article link.

    I don’t know if there is a movement to directly counteract wilayat al faqih, but there certainly are many people who oppose it and who do not adhere to it. Sistani and his mentor al-Khoei are examples. Some people have suggested that in post-Saddam Iraq, the Najaf school in general may serve to counteract WaF.

    In Iran I think the big names who rejected WaF were Motahhari and Allama Tabatabai. I’m not sure about this though.

    In India and Pakistan most of the Akhbaris are very much against WaF I believe.

    On that note here’s a question I’ve been wanting to know about for a while. Where do Bahrain’s Akhbari scholars stand on the question of wilayat al faqih? and more generally how do they understand the concept of marja’ taqleed?

  25. jasra jedi says:

    You know Chanad .. I really think that the WaF vs non WaF approach is the CRUX of the reformation of Islam.

    WaF’ers (for the lack of a better term) will sevrely impede the reformation of Islam because they will link it to Politics, and as a result, the evolutionary process will be very very slow and will strengthen the religious rigidity and its incestous relationship with the ‘State’.

    Non WaF’ers have a better chance at taking their own time reassessing Islamic jurisprudence without it affecting people’s life on a day to day basis. The fundamental ethos here is a separation of ‘Mosque’ from ‘State’.

    But,this means that the evolution in Islam will come from the Shia and not the Sunnis .. and thats why what happens in Iraq is so crucial .. because it may outline the altrenative to Iran’s WaF state …

    I don’t know where Bahrain’s scholars come out .. Mahmood? Wuold you be able to help? Or where is our friend Salman Rahma when we need him??

  26. mahmood says:

    I think Tawfeeq Al-Rayyash would be better help in this subject JJ, Tawfiq, over to you!

  27. jasra jedi wote earlier:

    Or where is our friend Salman Rahma when we need him??

    I didn’t think I would be missed 🙂
    Sorry for being away, I am currently busy with some serious personal life issues, I hope to resolve soon.
    Plus, most of the time, the discussions tend to change into personal attacks far away from the intellectual benefit desired. This doesn’t acually encourages me alot to contibute.

  28. Anonymous says:

    “WaF’ers (for the lack of a better term) will sevrely impede the reformation of Islam because they will link it to Politics, and as a result, the evolutionary process will be very very slow and will strengthen the religious rigidity and its incestous relationship with the ‘State’.”

    How would the linking of politics to Islam severely impede the
    reformation of Islam? This seems like a massive assumption.
    History does not show religious development being slowed down
    by an association with politics, does it? If it does, I’d appreciate
    somebody giving me an example to back this assertion up.
    If religion stands on its own (and what does _that_ mean?),
    how will that speed up its development?


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