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Ashoura – dagen da Hussein ble drept – er som en påminnelse om kløften mellom shiaer og sunnier. Det var sunniene som drepte Hussein. I Jordan våget ikke shiaene besøke en kjent helligdom av frykt for trakassering fra sunniene.

Mange i Jordan reagerte på at Saddam Hussein ble hengt som en tyv. Over hele Midtøsten gir nå krigen i Irak ekko. Men det er ikke slik at Bush og USA har skapt konflikten. Motsetningene går helt tilbake til 600-tallet og striden om «arvefølgen». Under Saddam ble religion og politikk sammenvevd på en uheldig måte. Saddam stolte ikke på shiaer. Nå sitter shiaene med makten og sunniene er nervøse. Det merkes feks. i Saudi-Arabia der 10-15 prosent er shia, konsentrert i nordøst, i de mest oljerike områdene.

Like many Saudi Shiites, Abdullah Abdul-Hussein is worried that if the government does not end anti-Shiite tirades by influential Sunni clerics, the sectarian conflict ravaging
Iraq and threatening Lebanon could spread to his country.
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«This rhetoric provokes trouble,» said Abdul-Hussein, referring to recent statements from key members in Saudi Arabia’s clerical establishment that have urged Sunnis around the world to expel Shiites from their lands.

«We are all citizens of the same country. The government should not allow such excess,» said the 37-year-old merchant, expressing a worry shared by many in this mainly Shiite town.

Fears of sectarian tensions go beyond this sleepy oasis in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, where the kingdom’s Shiite minority is centered. The bloodshed in Iraq and turmoil in Lebanon have enflamed the Shiite-Sunni divide across the Middle East and in much of the Islamic world.

Både i Irak og Libanon er hovedmotsetningen nå mellom shiaer og sunnier. I tillegg kommer de palestinske områdene, Bahrain og Pakistan.

In Bahrain, where a Shiite majority is ruled by a Sunni-led government, sectarian bitterness is also growing. Recently a Sunni lawmaker accused Shiites of stocking weapons at Ashoura religious sites, angering Shiites. While state TV previously covered Ashoura events, this year there has been little mention of the ceremonies.

Elsewhere, a suicide bomber killed a police officer protecting a Shiite Muslim procession in Pakistan on Monday, and rocket fire wounded 11 worshippers at a Shiite mosque, stoking fears of sectarian bloodshed.

Det betyr at det er nok eksplosivt materiale spredt utover på mange land. Økt temperatur ett sted forplanter seg.

At sunni-skriftlærde ikke unnser seg for å spre fordømmelse av shiaene, lover ikke godt.

But other forms of discrimination persist. Shiites say they are barred from sensitive positions in government, the military, schools and hospitals.

Moreover, hard-line Sunni clerics linked to the government have increasingly spoken out against Shiites. One top clergyman, Abdul Rahman al-Barak, recently said Shiites should be considered worse than Jews or Christians. Another went further and called on Sunnis to expel Shiites. The strict Wahhabi interpretation of Sunni Islam that the kingdom follows considers Shiites as infidels.

Sectarianism casts shadow over Mideast

By DONNA ABU-NASR, Associated Press Writer