Hogan's Alley

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Is Bahrain Demonstration Truly Anti-Terrorist?

Both Andrew Sullivan and Instapundit link to a report by Gateway Pundit about a large demonstration in Bahrain by a Shia crowd protesting the bombing of the Askaria mosque. All three sites take the demonstration as the assertion by moderate Muslims of a rejection of violence and terrorism. I think that there is far less here than meets the eye.

If you follow the links in the Gateway post, especially to the Bahraini blog, Chan'ad Bahraini, you will note that the central message of the demonstration was against Sunni/Shia violence. There is nothing in the reported sentiments of the demonstrators that condemns terrorism against the West or, God forbid, against Israel.

The main sentiment relied on by other bloggers is a sign in Arabic, carried by one demonstrator, that is variously translated as, "No Shia, no Sunni. All of us denounce the exclusivists (terrorists)", and, "No Sunni, No Shia, We are all against exclusivists."

The key word in Arabic is apparently Takfiri, translated either as exclusivist or terrorist. As can be seen in the Wikipedia link for the word by itself, both meanings are possible. However, in the context of a phrase beginning,"No Shia, no Sunni", it seems most likely to refer to opposition to the view that either group is the owner of exclusive truth of Islam, not against terrorism per se.

Sadly, I see here no solid evidence of some emerging moderate Islamic voice as claimed by some bloggers.