Worried Lebanese

thought crumbs on lebanese and middle eastern politics

The Mecca document, what reconciliation between Iraqi Shiites and Sunnis?

Posted by worriedlebanese on 21/10/2006

The media reported today that Sunni and Shiite clerics had signed a declaration in Saudi Arabia, pleading for national reconciliation in Iraq between all groups, especially the Sunnis and Shiites.How effective can that be, I asked myself.  Are such agreements supposed to be directly effective or are they only meant to give moral support to concrete political steps?  Either way, they should have a strong moral weight. This is brought by the influence of its signatories and the way it addresses moral issues.  So what was exactly agreed on and by whom?

Mecca meeting

I search the internet for the complete text (here enclosed, with a link to its Arabic version) only to be disappointed by the content and the signatories to it.Neither Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani nor Moqtada al-Sadr were present or represented. But they both declared their support to it after its publication.If one looks closer at the document, one notices that its signatories are not prominent clerics.  But the most disappointing thing about it is its content. It’s only positive feature is that it treats Shiites and Sunnis as equals. However, it does that by pretending that the differences between them are minor, instead of celebrating difference and saying that it enriches the Islamic faith.

Furthermore, there is no general condemnation of violence. It only insists on the fact that Muslims should not shed Muslim blood and that God abhors those who harm Muslims in any way. The only “universal” or ecumenical element in this declaration is its stand on the safeguard of holy places whatever faith they belong to. One finds no mention of the new Iraqi power sharing system or any element of its political system. The only political element present is the principle of unity which is expressed in the most tradition of ways with an exterior party working on annihilating it and creating a “fitna”.  In other words, political divisions and disagreements become source of a conflict and violence brought about by foreigner forces. This is a very popular idea in the Islamic and Arab speaking part of the world.

Most surprisingly, the document ignores the American occupation, and says nothing on acts of violence against the Americans or those who work with them, in the name of resistance. Is that the price of concensualism?

The Mecca Document

A scanned copy of the document (in arabic) can be found on the Organisation of Islamic Countries’ site. http://www.oic-oci.org/

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