Archive | January 21st, 2016

Turkish opposition leader calls Erdogan ‘tinpot dictator’

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© www.japantimes.co.jp
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party

Turkish prosecutors have launched an investigation against leader of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu, after he called President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a “tinpot dictator.” The chief prosecutor’s office in Ankara launched the probe against Kilicdaroglu on charges of “openly insulting the president,” the official Anatolia news agency reported on Monday.

Kilicdaroglu, who was speaking out against the president at a CHP congress over the weekend, slammed Erdogan over the detention of Turkish academics last week for filling a petition in condemnation of Ankara’s military crackdown in the Kurdish-dominated southeast.

“Academics who express their opinion are being detained, one by one, because of a tinpot dictator,” Kilicdaroglu had told the meeting, saying in an address to Erdogan, “How dare you send police to these peoples’ doors and have them detained. Tell us, tinpot dictator, what do honor and pride mean to you? Either you maintain your impartiality and get respect or I will remind you every day what honor and pride mean,” he added.

Erdogan, himself, has separately filed a civil lawsuit against Kilicdaroglu, seeking 100,000 Turkish Liras ($33,300) in compensation for “slander” from the CHP leader, the private NTV channel said. Erdogan had in June last year filed another lawsuit against Kilicdaroglu for “slander” after the opposition leader said the president’s vast palace in Ankara had gold-plated toilet seats.

Concerns have mounted in recent months over freedom of expression in Turkey, in particular over the spiraling numbers of Turks being taken to court on charges of insulting Erdogan, who is accused by his opponents of promoting authoritarianism.

Meanwhile, Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag criticized Kilicdaroglu for the comments against the president, writing on Twitter, “Only those who lack intelligence, knowledge, and morality can insult others like that under the disguise of freedom of expression.”

Prosecutors on Thursday began a large investigation into over 1,200 academics for engaging in “terrorist propaganda” by signing a petition, urging Ankara to halt “its deliberate massacres” in the Kurdish-majority region. On Friday Turkish police detained at least 18 of them, sparking freshinternational concerns over restrictions on freedom of expression in Turkey.

The developments come as the Turkish army has been engaged in large-scale offensives against militants of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) in southeastern regions since last July. The renewed violence shattered a fragile two-and-a-half-year ceasefire between the two sides.

The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey said recently that as many as 162 civilians have been killed in the restive regions placed under a government-imposed curfew since August 2015. The PKK, seeking autonomy in Turkey’s southeast, launched its militancy against Turkey in 1984. So far, more than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

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Iran DM: Iran will test new missiles despite US sanctions

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© www.worldtribune.com
Iranian Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehqan

Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan says the Islamic Republic will unveil new domestically-designed and manufactured missiles in the near future in defiance of new US sanctions against the country over its missile program.

“[Any] attempt to impose new sanctions [against Iran] under irrelevant pretexts is indicative of the continued US hostile policy and acrimony toward the Iranian nation, and a futile effort to undermine Iran’s defense might,” Dehqan said on Monday. He added that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s missile industry is fully domestically-manufactured and anchored in science and expertise of the country’s defense sector. “Hence, sanctions against [certain] people and companies will have no impact on the development of the industry, and we will actually demonstrate [their ineffectiveness] by displaying new missiles,” he added.

Earlier on Monday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the country will continue to enhance its missile capabilities in defiance of the “destructive” US sanctions over the Islamic Republic’s missile program.”We will respond to such propaganda stunts and disruptive measures by more robustly pursuing our lawful missile program and promoting our defense capabilities and national security,” the statement added. It further noted that Iran’s missiles serve defensive and deterrent purposes and have not been designed to carry nuclear warheads. “The Iranian missile program has by no means been designed to carry nuclear weapons and is not in contravention of any international principle,” the statement pointed out.

On October 11, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) successfully test-fired its first guided ballistic missile dubbed Emad. Washington slammed the test, claiming the projectile is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. It vowed to respond with more sanctions.

The US Department of the Treasury said in a statement on Sunday that it has imposed new sanctions on several individuals and firms over Iran’s ballistic missile program, claiming that the program “poses a significant threat to regional and global security.” The statement said five Iranian citizens and a network of companies based in the United Arab Emirates and China were added to a US blacklist.

In recent years, Iran has made great achievements in its defense sector and attained self-sufficiency in producing essential military equipment and systems. The Islamic Republic has repeatedly said its military might poses no threat to other countries, reiterating that its defense doctrine is based on deterrence.

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US sanctions are illegal as American arms used against Palestinians and Yemenis

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© Leonhard Foeger / Reuters
Iran has accused the US of hypocrisy and said that new sanctions imposed by the US are illegal, as arms sold by Washington are being used against people in Palestine and Yemen, the Iranian Foreign Ministry has stated.A spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Hossein Jaberi Ansari, says that Tehran will continue to enhance its missile capabilities, despite Washington introducing fresh sanctions, following a missile test by Iran in October, Press TV reports.

“The US sanctions against Iran’s ballistic missile program … have no legal or moral legitimacy,” Reuters cited Ansari as saying in a televised news conference.

“America sells tens of billions of dollars of weaponry each year to countries in the region,” Ansari said. “These weapons are used in war crimes against Palestinian, Lebanese and most recently Yemeni citizens.”

The Foreign Ministry concluded by saying that they would not negotiate with the US on other issues, while sanctions introduced by the Washington, which Iran called “propaganda measures,” would be met with a firm response.

“We will respond to such propaganda stunts and measures meant to harm [us], by more robustly pursuing our lawful missile program and promoting our defense capabilities and national security,” the statement said, as cited by Press TV.

On Sunday, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on 11 companies and individuals for helping to supply Iran’s ballistic missile program.

“Iran’s ballistic missile program poses a significant threat to regional and global security, and it will continue to be subject to international sanctions,” Adam J. Szubin, acting Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said in a statement.

“We have consistently made clear that the United States will vigorously press sanctions against Iranian activities outside of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – including those related to Iran’s support for terrorism, regional destabilization, human rights abuses and ballistic missile program.”

On December 31, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Tehran should expand its missile program in response to threats of new US sanctions.

In a letter to Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan, Rouhani said that Iran needed to step up its missile capabilities in response to aggressive actions by the US, which was threatening to impose more sanctions over a missile test that Tehran held in October. Rouhani said Iran had a right to continue developing its missiles, since they are not capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

“As the US government is clearly still pursuing its hostile policies and illegal meddling… the armed forces need to quickly and significantly increase their missile capability,” Rouhani wrote.

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62 richest people as wealthy as poorest half of world’s population

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Obscene inequality: 62 richest people as wealthy as poorest half of world’s population, according to Oxfam report

Growing inequality means that the world’s wealthiest 62 people own as much as the poorest half of the planet’s population – some 3.6 billion people – according to a new report from Oxfam.

Image result for POOR PEOPLE CARTOON

The richest 1% – around 73 million out of the world’s 7.3 billion people – now own as much as everyone else put together, said the report, published ahead of the annual World Economic Forum of global political and business leaders in Swiss ski resort Davos.

Oxfam said urgent action was needed to tackle the “inequality crisis” and called on world leaders – including Prime Minister David Cameron – to take action to crack down on tax-dodging by the rich, which denies governments in the developing world billions of pounds a year which could be used on health, education and anti-poverty measures.

Mr Cameron promised in a speech in Davos three years ago to get tough on avoidance, warning corporate tax-dodgers to “wake up and smell the coffee”.

But Oxfam said that promised measures to increase transparency in British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, such as the Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands, have not yet been implemented. While the UK has made good on Mr Cameron’s promise to introduce public registers of companies’ owners, only one overseas territory – Montserrat – has followed suit.

The report found that the gap between rich and poor had widened “dramatically” over the past 12 months. As recently as 2010, the combined wealth of the 388 richest people was needed to equal that of the poorest half of the world, but that number has since plummeted to 80 last year and 62 now.

The total wealth of the poorest half of the world fell by a trillion US dollars (£694bn) since 2010 even though the actual number of people in this group rose by 400 million, said the report, An Economy for the 1%. Meanwhile, the wealth of the super-rich 62 rose by more than half a trillion dollars over the same period to 1.76 trillion (£1.22 trillion). This equates to an average of around £20 billion for each of the 62, who include just nine women.

Although the number of people living in extreme poverty halved between 1990 and 2010 globally, the average annual income of the poorest 10% has increased by less than three dollars (£2.08) a year over the past 25 years.

Oxfam said action on tax should form part of a three-pronged approach, alongside increased investment in public services and action to boost the income of the lowest paid – with priority given to ending the era of tax havens. Allowing governments to collect tax owed is “vital” to meeting the new international development goal of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030, the charity said.

Oxfam GB chief executive Mark Goldring said: “It is simply unacceptable that the poorest half of the world population owns no more than a small group of the global super-rich – so few, you could fit them all on a single coach.

“World leaders’ concern about the escalating inequality crisis has so far not translated into concrete action to ensure that those at the bottom get their fair share of economic growth. In a world where one in nine people go to bed hungry every night we cannot afford to carry on giving the richest an ever bigger slice of the cake.

“Tackling the veil of secrecy surrounding the UK’s network of tax havens would be a big step towards ending extreme inequality. Three years after he made his promise to make tax dodgers ‘wake up and smell the coffee’, it is time for David Cameron to deliver.”

Globally, the super-rich are estimated to have a total of 7.6 trillion dollars (£5.3trn) stashed in offshore accounts, depriving governments around the world of 190 billion dollars (£132bn) in tax revenues each year, said the report.

As much as 30% of all African financial wealth is believed to be held offshore, costing 14 billion dollars (£9.7bn) in lost tax revenue each year – enough to save four million children’s lives a year through improved healthcare and employ enough teachers to get every African child into school – said Oxfam.

Nine out of ten WEF corporate partners have a presence in at least one tax haven and it is estimated that tax dodging by multinational corporations costs developing countries at least 100 billion dollars (£69bn) a year, said Oxfam. Corporate investment in tax havens increased almost quadrupled between 2000 and 2014.

Mr Goldring said: “Ending extreme poverty requires world leaders to tackle the growing gap between the richest and the rest which has trapped hundreds of millions of people in a life of poverty, hunger and sickness.

“It is no longer good enough for the richest to pretend that their wealth benefits the rest of us when the facts show that the recent explosion in the wealth of the super-rich has come at the expense of the poorest.”

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U.S. breaks spirit of Iran agreement in less than 24 hours

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Iranian president Hassan Rouhani

Just yesterday, shortly before the Iranian nuclear deal went into implementation. I asked

How long until the U.S. will, one way or another, transgress against it – if not in letter then in spirit?

The answer is in. It took the U.S. less than 24 hours to break the spirit of the deal and to again promote hardliners in Tehran:

The US Treasury says it is imposing new ballistic missile sanctions on Iran after Tehran released five American prisoners. The move also comes less than a day after some of the sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear program were removed by the US and EU.

Washington has imposed sanctions on 11 companies and individuals for helping to supply Iran’s ballistic missile program, the Treasury Department stated.

“Iran’s ballistic missile program poses a significant threat to regional and global security, and it will continue to be subject to international sanctions,” Adam J. Szubin, acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said in a press release.

The US move comes after an Iranian missile test carried out in October that broke a UN Security Council resolution restricting the development of missiles that are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

The nuclear agreement makes sure that Iran does not have and can not develop nuclear warheads. What sense then does it make to restrict its ballistic missile capabilities?

Of Iran’s neighbors Pakistan, Russia and Saudi Arabia all have medium to long range ballistic missiles. Missiles from Israel and the U.S. also can reach Tehran. Four out of those five have nuclear warheads for their missiles. Turkey is developing its own offensive missile capability.

Absent an Iranian program to develop nuclear weapons there is absolutely no justification for the upholding of the UN resolution and for new sanctions.

Even before U.S. prisoners were to be freed by Iran yesterday as part of the nuclear [deal] Hillary Clinton irresponsibly called for new sanctions on Iran. On can understand that as the money she wastes for egomaniac campaigning to become president comes from Israel-Firsters like Haim Saban.

Saban says his greatest concern is to protect Israel. At a conference in Israel, Saban described his formula. His three ways to influence American politics were: make donations to political parties, establish think tanks, and control media outlets.

Clinton’s statement likely added a seven digit figure to her campaign fund.

That Clinton is corrupt down to her last fiber is not news. But there was no such reason for the Obama administration to now make this move. It is an expression of arrogance and disdain for decency.

Next month the people of Iran will vote for a new parliament. The Rouhani government, with which the nuclear deal was successfully negotiated, now looks as if it was duped into the deal. The hardliners opposed to that government were just given the very best argument they could have asked for. They always said the U.S. can not be trusted. The Obama administration proved them to be right.

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History: Shia Islam

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Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Arabic term vector Ashura (translation: tenth).  Ashura is on the tenth day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar. Sunni muslim observe this day by fasting and shia by commemorate the karbala tragedy - stock vector

 

“Shia” and “Shias” redirect here. For other uses, see Shia (disambiguation).

Shia (/ˈʃiːə/Arabic: شيعة‎ Shīʿah), an abbreviation of Shīʻatu ʻAlī (شيعة علي, “followers of Ali”), is a branch of Islam which holds that the Islamic prophet Muhammad‘s proper successor as Caliph was his son-in-law and cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib. Shia Islam primarily contrasts with Sunni Islam, whose adherents believe that Muhammad’s father-in-law Abu Bakr, not Ali ibn Abi Talib, was his proper successor.[1][2]

Adherents of Shia Islam are called Shias or the Shi’a as a collective or Shi’i individually.[3] Shia Islam is the second-largest branch of Islam: in 2009, Shia Muslims constituted 10–13% of the world’s Muslim population.[4] Twelver Shia(Ithnā’ashariyyah) is the largest branch of Shia Islam.[5] In 2012 it was estimated that perhaps 85 percent of Shias were Twelvers.[6]

Shia Islam is based on the Quran and the message of the Islamic prophet Muhammad attested in hadith recorded by the Shia, and certain books deemed sacred to the Shia (Nahj al-Balagha).[7][8] Shia consider Ali to have been divinely appointed as the successor to Muhammad, and as the first Imam. The Shia also extend this “Imami” doctrine to Muhammad’s family, theAhl al-Bayt (“the People of the House”), and certain individuals among his descendants, known as Imams, who they believe possess special spiritual and political authority over the community, infallibility, and other divinely-ordained traits.[9] Although there are myriad Shia subsects, modern Shia Islam has been divided into three main groupings: TwelversIsmailis and Zaidis, with Twelver Shia being the largest and most influential group among Shia.[10][11][12]

Etymology

Main article: Shia etymology

The word Shia (Arabic: شيعة‎ shīʻah /ˈʃiːʕa/) means follower[13] and is the short form of the historic phrase shīʻatu ʻAlī (شيعة علي /ˈʃiːʕatu ˈʕaliː/), meaning “followers of Ali”, “faction of Ali”, or “party of Ali”.[14] Shi’a and Shiism are forms used in English, whileShi’ite or Shiite, as well as Shia, refer to its adherents.

Terminology

The term for the first time was used at the time of Muhammad.[15] At present, the word refers to the Muslims who believe that the leadership of the community after Muhammad belongs to Ali and his successors. Nawbakhti states that the term Shia refers to a group of Muslims that at the time of the prophet and after him regarded Ali as the Imam and Caliph.[16] Al-Shahrastani expresses that the term Shia refers to those who believe that Ali is designated as the Heir, Imam and caliph by the prophet[17] and also Ali’s authority never goes out of his descendants.[18] For the Shia, this conviction is implicit in the Quran and history of Islam. Shia scholars emphasize that the notion of authority is linked to the family of the prophets as the verses 3:33,34 shows: “Indeed, Allah chose Adam and Noah and the family of Abraham and the family of ‘Imran over the worlds – (33) Descendants, some of them from others. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing. (34)”[19] Shia search for the true meaning of the revelation to get the purpose of the life blood and the human destiny.[20]

Beliefs

Imamate

Succession of Ali

Shia Muslims believe that just as a prophet is appointed by God alone, only God has the prerogative to appoint the successor to his prophet. They believe God chose Ali to be Muhammad’s successor, infallible, the first caliph (khalifa, head of state) of Islam. The Shias believe that Muhammad designated Ali as his successor by God’s command.[21][22]

Ali was Muhammad’s first cousin and closest living male relative as well as his son-in-law, having married Muhammad’s daughter Fatimah.[23][24] Ali would eventually become the fourth Muslim (sunni) caliph.[25]

After the Farewell Pilgrimage, Muhammad ordered the gathering of Muslims at the pond of Khumm and it was there that Shia Muslims believe Muhammad nominated Ali to be his successor. The hadith of the pond of Khumm was narrated on 18th ofDhu al-Hijjah of 10 AH in the Islamic calendar (10 March 632 AD) at a place called Ghadir Khumm, located near the city of al-Juhfah, Saudi Arabia.[26] Muhammad there stated:

Oh people! Reflect on the Quran and comprehend its verses. Look into its clear verses and do not follow its ambiguous parts, for by Allah, none shall be able to explain to you its warnings and its mysteries, nor shall anyone clarify its interpretation, other than the one that I have grasped his hand, brought up beside myself, [and lifted his arm,] the one about whom I inform you that whomever I am his master (Mawla[a])), then Ali is his master (Mawla); and he is Ali Ibn Abi Talib, my brother, the executor of my will (Wasiyyi), whose appointment as your guardian and leader has been sent down to me from Allah, the mighty and the majestic.

— Muhammad , from The Farewell Sermon[28]

  1. ^ The word mawla has many meanings as discussed in the book “Patronate And Patronage in Early And Classical Islam” By Monique Bernards, John Nawas on page 25:
    [M]awla may refer to a client, a patron, an agnate (brother, son, father’s brother, father’ brothers son), an affined kinsman, (brother-in-law, son-in-law), a friend, a supporter, a follower, a drinking companion, a partner, a newly-converted Muslim attached to a Muslim and last but not least an ally. Most of these categories have legal implications. In Islamic times, the term malawa mostly referred to Muslim freedmen and freed non-Arabs who attached themselves to Arabs upon their conversion to Islam. In these senses, Mawla is commonly translated as “a client”. The association of malwa with non-arabs and a low status imparted an increasingly pejorative connotation to it.[27]

Shia Muslims believe this to be Muhammad’s appointment of Ali as his successor.

Ali’s caliphate

The Investiture of Ali at Ghadir Khumm (MS Arab 161, fol. 162r, AD 1309/8 Ilkhanid manuscript illustration)

When Muhammad died in 632 CE, Ali and Muhammad’s closest relatives made the funeral arrangements. While they were preparing his body, Abu BakrUmar, and Abu Ubaidah ibn al Jarrah met with the leaders of Medina and elected Abu Bakr as caliph. Ali and his family accepted the appointment for the sake of unity in the early Muslim community.[23] It was not until the murder of the third caliph, Uthman, in 657 CE that the Muslims in Medina in desperation invited Ali to become the fourth caliph as the last source,[23] and he established his capital in Kufah in present-day Iraq.[14]

Ali’s rule over the early Muslim community was often contested, and wars were waged against him. As a result, he had to struggle to maintain his power against the groups who betrayed him after giving allegiance to his succession, or those who wished to take his position. This dispute eventually led to the First Fitna, which was the first major civil warwithin the Islamic Caliphate. The Fitna began as a series of revolts fought against the first imam, Ali ibn Abi Talib, caused by the assassination of his political predecessor, Uthman ibn Affan. While the rebels who accused Uthman of prejudice[clarification needed] affirmed Ali’skhilafa (caliph-hood), they later turned against him and fought him.[23] Ali ruled from 656 CE to 661 CE,[23] when he was assassinated[24] while prostrating in prayer (sujud). Ali’s main rival Muawiyah then claimed the caliphate.[29]

Hasan ibn Ali

Upon the death of Ali, his elder son Hasan became leader of the Muslims of Kufa, and after a series of skirmishes between the Kufa Muslims and the army of Muawiyah, Hasan agreed to cede the caliphate to Muawiyah and maintain peace among Muslims upon certain conditions:[30][31]

  1. The enforced public cursing of Ali, e.g. during prayers, should be abandoned
  2. Muawiyah should not use tax money for his own private needs
  3. There should be peace, and followers of Hasan should be given security and their rights
  4. Muawiyah will never adopt the title of Amir ul momineen
  5. Muawiyah will not nominate any successor

Hasan then retired to Medina, where in 670 CE he was poisoned by his wife Ja’da bint al-Ash’ath ibn Qays, after being secretly contacted by Muawiyah who wished to pass the caliphate to his own son Yazid and saw Hasan as an obstacle.

Husayn

The Imam Hussein Shrine in Karbala, Iraq is a holy site for Shia Muslims.

Husayn, Ali’s younger son and brother to Hasan, initially resisted calls to lead the Muslims against Muawiyah and reclaim the caliphate. In 680 CE, Muawiyah died and passed the caliphate to his son Yazid. Yazid asked Husayn to swear allegiance (bay’ah) to him. Ali’s faction, having expected the caliphate to return to Ali’s line upon Muawiyah’s death, saw this as a betrayal of the peace treaty and so Husayn rejected this request for allegiance. There was a groundswell of support in Kufa for Husayn to return there and take his position as caliph and imam, so Husayn collected his family and followers in Medina and set off for Kufa. En route to Kufa, he was blocked by an army of Yazid’s men (which included people from Kufa) near Karbala (modern Iraq), and Husayn and approximately 72 of his family and followers were killed in the Battle of Karbala.

The Shias regard Husayn as a martyr (shahid), and count him as an Imam from the Ahl al-Bayt. They view Husayn as the defender of Islam from annihilation at the hands of Yazid I. Husayn is the last imam following Ali whom all Shiah sub-branches mutually recognise.[32] The Battle of Karbala is often cited as the definitive break between the Shiah and Sunni sects of Islam, and is commemorated each year by Shiah Muslims on the Day of Ashura.

Imamate of the Ahl al-Bayt

Main article: Imamah (Shia doctrine)

Zulfiqar with and without the shield. The Fatimid depiction of Ali‘s sword as carved on the Gates of Old Cairo, namely Bab al-Nasr. Two swords were captured from the temple of the pagan polytheist god Manāt during the Raid of Sa’d ibn Zaid al-Ashhali. Muhammad gave them to Ali, saying that one of them was Zulfiqar, which became the famous sword of Ali and a later symbol of Shiism.[33]

Most of the early Shia differed only marginally from mainstream Sunnis in their views on political leadership, but it is possible in this sect to see a refinement of Shia doctrine. Early Sunnis traditionally held that the political leader must come from the tribe of Muhammad—namely, the Quraysh tribe. The Zaydis narrowed the political claims of Ali’s supporters, claiming that not just any descendant of Ali would be eligible to lead the Muslim community (ummah) but only those males directly descended from Muhammad through the union of Ali and Fatimah. But during the Abbasid revolts, other Shia, who came to be known as Imamiyyah (followers of the Imams), followed the theological school of Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq, himself the great great grandson of the Prophet Muhammad’s son-in-law Imam Ali . They asserted a more exalted religious role for Imams and insisted that, at any given time, whether in power or not, a single male descendant of Ali and Fatimah was the divinely appointed Imam and the sole authority, in his time, on all matters of faith and law. To those Shia, love of the imams and of their persecuted cause became as important as belief in God’s oneness and the mission of Muhammad.[citation needed]

Later most of the Shia, including Twelver and Ismaili, became Imamis. Imami Shia believe that Imams are the spiritual and political successors to Muhammad.[citation needed] Imams are human individuals who not only rule over the community with justice, but also are able to keep and interpret the divine law and its esoteric meaning. The words and deeds of Muhammad and the imams are a guide and model for the community to follow; as a result, they must be free from error and sin, and must be chosen by divine decree, or nass, through Muhammad.[34][35]

According to this view, there is always an Imam of the Age, who is the divinely appointed authority on all matters of faith and law in the Muslim community. Ali was the first imam of this line, the rightful successor to Muhammad, followed by male descendants of Muhammad through his daughter Fatimah.[citation needed]

This difference between following either the Ahl al-Bayt (Muhammad’s family and descendants) or Caliph Abu Bakr has shaped Shia and non-Shia views on some of the Quranic verses, the hadith (narrations from Muhammad) and other areas of Islam. For instance, the collection of hadith venerated by Shia Muslims is centered on narrations by members of the Ahl al-Bayt and their supporters, while some hadith by narrators not belonging to or supporting the Ahl al-Bayt are not included. Those of Abu Hurairah, for example, Ibn Asakir in his Ta’rikh Kabir and Muttaqi in his Kanzu’l-Umma report that Caliph Umar lashed him, rebuked him, and forbade him to narrate hadith from Muhammad. Umar said: “Because you narrate hadith in large numbers from the Holy Prophet, you are fit only for attributing lies to him. (That is, one expects a wicked man like you to utter only lies about the Holy Prophet.) So you must stop narrating hadith from the Prophet; otherwise, I will send you to the land of Dus.” (A clan in Yemen, to which Abu Huraira belonged.) According to Sunnis, Ali was the fourth successor to Abu Bakr, while the Shia maintain that Ali was the first divinely sanctioned “Imam”, or successor of Muhammad. The seminal event in Shia history is the martyrdom in 680 CE at the Battle of Karbala of Ali’s son Hussein ibn Ali, who led a non-allegiance movement against the defiant caliph (71 of Hussein’s followers were killed as well). Hussein came to symbolize resistance to tyranny.

It is believed in Twelver and Ismaili Shia Islam that ‘aql, divine wisdom, was the source of the souls of the prophets and imams and gave them esoteric knowledge called ḥikmah and that their sufferings were a means of divine grace to their devotees.[36][37] Although the imam was not the recipient of a divine revelation, he had a close relationship with God, through which God guides him, and the imam in turn guides the people. Imamate, or belief in the divine guide, is a fundamental belief in the Twelver and Ismaili Shia branches and is based on the concept that God would not leave humanity without access to divine guidance.[38]

Imam of the time, last Imam of the Shia

The Mahdi is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will rule for seven, nine or nineteen years (according to differing interpretations) before the Day of Judgment and will rid the world of evil. According to Islamic tradition, the Mahdi’s tenure will coincide with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Isa), who is to assist the Mahdi against the Masih ad-Dajjal (literally, the “false Messiah” or Antichrist). Jesus, who is considered the Masih (Messiah) in Islam, will descend at the point of a white arcade, east of Damascus, dressed in yellow robes with his head anointed. He will then join the Mahdi in his war against the Dajjal, where Jesus will slay Dajjal and unite mankind.

Theology

The Shia Islamic faith is vast and inclusive of many different groups.[14] Shia theological beliefs and religious practises, such as prayers, slightly differ from the Sunnis’. While all Muslims pray five times daily, Shias have the option of always combiningDhuhr with Asr and Maghrib with Isha’, as there are three distinct times mentioned in the Quran. The Sunnis tend to combine only under certain circumstances.[39][40] Shia Islam embodies a completely independent system of religious interpretation and political authority in the Muslim world.[41][42] The original Shia identity referred to the followers of Imam Ali,[43] and Shia theology was formulated in the 2nd century AH, or after Hijra (8th century CE).[44] The first Shia governments and societies were established by the end of the 3rd century AH/9th century CE. The 4th century AH /10th century CE has been referred to by Louis Massignon as “the Shiite Ismaili century in the history of Islam”.[45]

Hadith

The Shia believe that the status of Ali is supported by numerous hadith, including the Hadith of the pond of KhummHadith of the two weighty thingsHadith of the pen and paperHadith of the invitation of the close families, and Hadith of the Twelve Successors. In particular, the Hadith of the Cloak is often quoted to illustrate Muhammad’s feeling towards Ali and his family by both Sunni and Shia scholars. Shias prefer hadith attributed to the Ahl al-Bayt and close associates, and have their own separate collection of hadiths.[46][47]

Profession of faith

Kalema at Qibla of the Mosque of Ibn Tulun in Cairo, Egypt with phrase “Ali-un-Waliullah”

The Shia version of the Shahada, the Islamic profession of faith, differs from that of the Sunni. The Sunni Shahada states There is no god except Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of the Allah, but to this the Shia append Ali is the Wali (guidance) of God, علي ولي الله. This phrase embodies the Shia emphasis on the inheritance of authority through Muhammad’s lineage. The three clauses of the Shia Shahada thus address tawhid (the unity of God), nubuwwah (the prophethood of Muhammad), and imamah (imamate, the leadership of the faith).

Infallibility

Ali is credited as the first male to convert to Islam.
Main article: Ismah

Ismah is the concept of infallibility or “divinely bestowed freedom from error and sin” in Islam.[48] Muslims believe that Muhammad and other prophets in Islam possessed ismah. Twelver and Ismaili Shia Muslims also attribute the quality to Imams as well as to Fatimah, daughter of Muhammad, in contrast to the Zaidi, who do not attribute ‘ismah to the Imams.[49]Though initially beginning as a political movement, infallibility and sinlessness of the imams later evolved as a distinct belief of (non-Zaidi) Shiism.[citation needed]

According to Shia theologians, infallibility is considered a rational necessary precondition for spiritual and religious guidance. They argue that since God has commanded absolute obedience from these figures they must only order that which is right. The state of infallibility is based on the Shia interpretation of the verse of purification.[50][51] Thus, they are the most pure ones, the only immaculate ones preserved from, and immune to, all uncleanness.[52] It does not mean that supernatural powers prevent them from committing a sin, but due to the fact that they have absolute belief in God, they refrain from doing anything that is a sin.[53]

They also have a complete knowledge of God’s will. They are in possession of all knowledge brought by the angels to the prophets (nabi) and the messengers (rasul). Their knowledge encompasses the totality of all times. They thus act without fault in religious matters.[54] Shias regard Ali as the successor of Muhammad not only ruling over the community in justice, but also interpreting Islamic practices and its esoteric meaning. Hence he was regarded as being free from error and sin (infallible), and appointed by God by divine decree (nass) to be the first Imam.[55] Ali is known as “perfect man” (al-insan al-kamil) similar to Muhammad, according to Shia viewpoint.[56]

Occultation

Main article: The Occultation

The Occultation is a belief in some forms of Shia Islam that a messianic figure, a hidden imam known as the Mahdi, will one day return and fill the world with justice. According to the Twelver Shia, the main goal of the Mahdi will be to establish an Islamic state and to apply Islamic laws that were revealed to Muhammad.[57]

Some Shia, such as the Zaidi and Nizari Ismaili, do not believe in the idea of the Occultation. The groups which do believe in it differ as to which lineage of the Imamate is valid, and therefore which individual has gone into occultation. They believe there are many signs that will indicate the time of his return.

Twelver Shia Muslims believe that the Mahdi (the twelfth imamMuhammad al-Mahdi) is already on Earth, is in occultation and will return at the end of time. Fatimid/ Bohra/ Dawoodi Bohra believe the same but for their 21st Tayyib, whereas Sunnis believe the future Mahdi has not yet arrived on Earth.[58]

History

History of Shia Islam

Ghazan and his brother Öljaitü both were tolerant of sectarian differences within the boundaries of Islam, in contrast to the traditions of Genghis Khan.

Historians dispute the origin of Shia Islam, with many Western scholars positing that Shiism began as a political faction rather than a truly religious movement.[59][60] Other scholars disagree, considering this concept of religious-political separation to be an anachronistic application of a Western concept.[61]

Following the Battle of Karbala, as various Shia-affiliated groups diffused in the emerging Islamic world, several nations arose based around a Shia leadership or population.

  • Idrisids (788 to 985 CE): a Zaydi dynasty in what is now Morocco
  • Uqaylids (990 to 1096 CE): a Shia Arab dynasty with several lines that ruled in various parts of Al-Jazira, northern Syria and Iraq.
  • Buyids (934–1055 CE): at its peak consisted of large portions of modern Iraq and Iran.
  • Ilkhanate (1256–1335): a Mongol khanate established in Persia in the 13th century, considered a part of the Mongol Empire. The Ilkhanate was based, originally, on Genghis Khan‘s campaigns in theKhwarezmid Empire in 1219–1224, and founded by Genghis’s grandson, Hulagu, in territories which today comprise most of Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, and Pakistan. The Ilkhanate initially embraced many religions, but was particularly sympathetic to Buddhism and Christianity. Later Ilkhanate rulers, beginning with Ghazanin 1295, embraced Islam his brother Öljaitü promoted Shia Islam.[clarification needed]
  • Naubat Khan accepted Islam under the Guidance of Mughal General Bairam Khan‘s son Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana.
  • Bahmanis (1347–1527 CE): a Shia Muslim state of the Deccan in southern India and one of the great medieval Indian kingdoms.[62] Bahmanid Sultanate was the first independent Islamic Kingdom in South India.[63]

Fatimid caliphate

  • Fatimids (909–1171 CE): Controlled much of North Africa, the Levant, parts of Arabia and Mecca and Medina. The group takes its name from Fatima, Muhammad’s daughter, from whom they claim descent.
  • In 909 CE the Shiite military leader Abu Abdallah, overthrew the Sunni ruler in Northern Africa; which began the Fatimid regime.[64]

Safavids

Shah Ismail I of Safavid dynastydeclared himself the Mahdi and thereincarnation of Ali.[65] Causing sectarian tensions in the Middle Eastwhen he destroyed the tombs of Abū Ḥanīfa and the Sufi Abdul Qadir Gilaniin 1508.[66] In 1533, Ottomans, upon their conquest of Iraq, rebuilt various important Sunni shrines.[67]

A major turning point in Shia history was the Safavid dynasty (1501–1736) in Persia. This caused a number of changes in the Muslim world:

  • The ending of the relative mutual tolerance between Sunnis and Shias that existed from the time of the Mongol conquests onwards and the resurgence of antagonism between the two groups.
  • Initial dependence of Shiite clerics on the state followed by the emergence of an independent body of ulama capable of taking a political stand different from official policies.[68]
  • The growth in importance of Iranian centers of religious learning and change from Twelver Shiaism being a predominantly Arab phenomenon.[69]
  • The growth of the Akhbari School which preached that only the Quran, hadith are to be bases for verdicts, rejecting the use of reasoning.
  • Shah Ismail I also proclaimed himself the Mahdi and a reincarnation of Ali.[70]

With the fall of the Safavids, the state in Persia – including the state system of courts with government-appointed judges (qadis) – became much weaker. This gave the Sharia courts of mujtahids an opportunity to fill the legal vacuum and enabled the ulama to assert their judicial authority. The Usuli School also increased in strength at this time.[71]

Community

Demographics

Islam by country              Sunni              Shias      Ibadi

Distribution of Sunni and Shia branches of Islam

One of the lingering problems in estimating the Shia population is that unless the Shia form a significant minority in a Muslim country, the entire population is often listed as Sunni. Shiites are estimated to be 21–35% of the Muslim population in South Asia, although the total number is difficult to estimate due to that reason.[72] It is variously estimated that 10–20%[73][74][75][76] of theworld’s Muslims are Shia. They may number up to 200 million as of 2009.[75] The Shia majority countries are IranIraqAzerbaijan, and Bahrain.[77][78] They also form the plurality in Lebanon. Shias constitute 36.3% of entire local population and 38.6% of the local Muslim population of the Middle East.[79]

Shia Muslims constitute 27-35% of the population in Lebanon, and as per some estimates from 35%[77][80] to over 35-40% of the population in Yemen,[81] 30%-35% of the citizen population in Kuwait (no figures exist for the non-citizen population),[82][83] over 20% in Turkey,[75][84] 10–20% of the population in Pakistan,[75]and 10-19% of Afghanistan‘s population.[85][86]

Saudi Arabia hosts a number of distinct Shia communities, including the Twelver Baharna in the Eastern Province andNakhawila of Medina, and the Ismaili Sulaymani and Zaidiyyah of Najran. Estimations put the number of Shiite citizens at 2-4 million, accounting for roughly 15% of the local population.[87]

Significant Shia communities exist in the coastal regions of West Sumatra and Aceh in Indonesia (see Tabuik).[88] The Shia presence is negligible elsewhere in Southeast Asia, where Muslims are predominantly Shafi’i Sunnis. That is, except in Vietnam and Cambodia, where the totality of the small Muslim minority is made up of Shias of Imami persuasion.[citation needed]

A significant Shia minority is present in Nigeria, made up of modern-era converts to a Shia movement centered around Kanoand Sokoto states.[75][76][89] Several African countries like Kenya,[90] South Africa,[91] Somalia,[92] etc. hold small minority populations of various Shia denominations, primarily descendants of immigrants from South Asia during the colonial period, such as the Khoja.[93]

According to Shia Muslims, one of the lingering problems in estimating Shia population is that unless Shia form a significant minority in a Muslim country, the entire population is often listed as Sunni. The reverse, however, has not held true, which may contribute to imprecise estimates of the size of each sect. For example, the 1926 rise of the House of Saud in Arabia brought official discrimination against Shia.[94]

List of nations for which the Shia population may be estimated

Figures indicated in the first three columns below are based on the October 2009 demographic study by the Pew Research Center report, Mapping the Global Muslim Population.[75][76]

Nations with over 100,000 Shia[75][76]
Country Shia population[75][76] Percent of Muslim population that is Shia[75][76] Percent of global Shia population[75][76] Minimum estimate/claim Maximum estimate/claim
Iran 66,000,000 – 70,000,000 90–95 30–35
India 40,000,000 – 50,000,000 25–31 22–25 40,000,000[95] – 50,000,000.[96]
Pakistan 20,000,000 – 30,000,000 5–20 10-15 43,250,000[97] – 57,666,666[98][99]
Nigeria 20,000,000-25,000,000 10-15 10-12 22-25 million[100][not in citation given]
Iraq 19,000,000 – 22,000,000 65–67 10–12
Yemen 8,000,000 – 10,000,000 35–40 5
Turkey 7,000,000 – 11,000,000 10–15 4–6
Azerbaijan 5,000,000 – 7,000,000 65–75 3-4 85% of total population[101]
Afghanistan 3,000,000 – 4,000,000 10–15 <2 15–19% of total population[85]
Syria 3,000,000 – 3,500,000 10-13 <2
Saudi Arabia 3,000,000 – 4,000,000 10–20 <1
Lebanon 1,000,000 – 1,600,000[102] 30-35[103][104][105] <1 Estimated, no official census.[106]
Tanzania <2,000,000 <10 <1
Indonesia 1,000,000 0.5 <1
Kuwait 360,000 – 480,000 30-35[82][83] <1 30%-35% of 1.2m Muslims (citizen only)[82][83]
Germany 400,000 – 600,000 10–15 <1
Bahrain 850,000 – 900,000 65–70 <1 100,000 (66%[107] of citizen population) 200,000 (70%[108] of citizen population)
Tajikistan 400,000 7 <1
United Arab Emirates 300,000 – 400,000 10 <1
United States 200,000 – 400,000 10–15 <1
Oman 100,000 – 300,000 5–10 <1 948,750[109]
United Kingdom 100,000 – 300,000 10–15 <1
Qatar 100,000 10 <1
Bosnia and Herzegovina 30,000 3 <1

Proportion of the world total of Shia Muslim adherents by continents displayed as a pie diagram:

 America 0.6 %
 Europe 4.4 %
 Africa 0.8 %
 Asia 94 %

Persecution

Main articles: Anti-Shiism and Shia–Sunni relations

The history of Sunni-Shia relations has often involved violence, dating back to the earliest development of the two competing sects. At various times Shia groups have faced persecution.[110][111][112][113][114][115]

Militarily established and holding control over the Umayyad government, many Sunni rulers perceived the Shia as a threat – to both their political and their religious authority.[116] The Sunni rulers under the Umayyads sought to marginalize the Shia minority, and later the Abbasids turned on their Shia allies and imprisoned, persecuted, and killed them. The persecution of the Shia throughout history by Sunni co-religionists has often been characterized by brutal and genocidal acts. Comprising only about 10–15% of the entire Muslim population, the Shia remain a marginalized community to this day in many Sunni Arab dominant countries without the rights to practice their religion and organize.[117]

In 1514 the Ottoman sultanSelim I, ordered the massacre of 40,000 Anatolian Shia.[118]According to Jalal Al-e-Ahmad, “Sultan Selim I carried things so far that he announced that the killing of one Shiite had as much otherworldly reward as killing 70 Christians.”[119]

In 1801 the Al Saud-Wahhabi armies attacked and sacked Karbala, the Shia shrine in eastern Iraq that commemorates the death of Husayn.[120]

Under Saddam Hussein‘s regime, 1973 to 2003, in Iraq, Shia Muslims were heavily persecuted.[121]

In March 2011, the Malaysian government declared the Shia a “deviant” sect and banned them from promoting their faith to other Muslims, but left them free to practice it themselves privately.[122][123]

Holidays

Shia, celebrate the following annual holidays:

The following days are some of the most important holidays observed by Shia Muslims:

  • Eid al-Ghadeer, which is the anniversary of the Ghadir Khum, the occasion when Muhammad announced Ali’s Imamate before a multitude of Muslims.[124] Eid al-Ghadeer is held on the 18th of Dhu al-Hijjah.
  • The Mourning of Muharram and the Day of Ashura for Shia commemorates Husayn ibn Ali’s martyrdom. Husayn was a grandson of Muhammad who was killed by Yazid ibn Muawiyah. Ashurah is a day of deep mourning which occurs on the 10th of Muharram.
  • Arba’een commemorates the suffering of the women and children of Husayn ibn Ali’s household. After Husayn was killed, they were marched over the desert, from Karbala (central Iraq) to Shaam (Damascus, Syria). Many children (some of whom were direct descendants of Muhammad) died of thirst and exposure along the route. Arbaein occurs on the 20th of Safar, 40 days after Ashurah.
  • Mawlid, Muhammad’s birth date. Unlike Sunni Muslims, who celebrate the 12th of Rabi’ al-awwal as Muhammad’s birthday or deathday (because they assert that his birth and death both occur in this week), Shia Muslims celebrate Muhammad’s birthday on the 17th of the month, which coincides with the birth date of the sixth imam, Ja’far al-Saadiq.[125] Wahhabis do not celebrate Muhammad’s birthday, believing that such celebrations constitute a bid‘ah.[126]
  • Fatimah‘s birthday on 20th of Jumada al-Thani. This day is also considered as the ‘women and mothers’ day”.[citation needed]
  • Ali‘s birthday on 13th of Rajab.
  • Mid-Sha’ban is the birth date of the 12th and final Twelver imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi. It is celebrated by Shia Muslims on the 15th of Sha’aban.
  • Laylat al-Qadr, anniversary of the night of the revelation of the Quran.
  • Eid al-Mubahila celebrates a meeting between the Ahl al-Bayt (household of Muhammad) and a Christian deputation from Najran. Al-Mubahila is held on the 24th of Dhu al-Hijjah.

Holy sites

The holiest sites common to all Muslims are MeccaMedina and Jerusalem. For Shias, the Imam Husayn ShrineAl Abbas Mosque in Karbala, and Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf are also highly revered.

Other venerated sites include Wadi-us-Salaam cemetery in NajafAl-Baqi’ cemetery in Medina, Imam Reza shrine inMashhadKadhimiya Mosque in KadhimiyaAl-Askari Mosque in SamarraSahla Mosque and Great Mosque of Kufa in Kufa and several other sites in the cities of QomSusa and Damascus.

Most of the Shia holy places in Saudi Arabia have been destroyed by the warriors of the Ikhwan, the most notable being the tombs of the Imams in the Al-Baqi’ cemetery in 1925.[127] In 2006 a bomb destroyed the shrine of Al-Askari Mosque.[128]

Branches

The Shia belief throughout its history split over the issue of the Imamate. The largest branch are the Twelvers, followed by the Zaidi and Ismaili. All three groups follow a different line of Imamate.

Twelver

Main article: Twelver

Twelver Shia or the Ithnā’ashariyyah’ is the largest branch of Shia Islam, and the term Shia Muslim often refers to the Twelvers by default. The term Twelver is derived from the doctrine of believing in twelve divinely ordained leaders, known asThe Twelve Imams. Twelver Shia are also known as Imami or Ja’fari, originated from the name of the 6th Imam, Ja’far al-Sadiq, who elaborated the twelver jurisprudence.[129]

Twelvers constitute the majority of the population in Iran (90%),[130] Azerbaijan (85%),[14][131] Bahrain (70%), Iraq (65%), Lebanon (65% of Muslims).[132][133][134]

Doctrine

Names of all 12 Imams (descendants of Imam Ali) written in the form of Arabic name على ‘Ali’

Twelver doctrine is based on five principles.[135] These five principles known asUsul ad-Din are as follow:[136][137]

  1. Monotheism, God is one and unique.
  2. Justice, the concept of moral rightness based on ethics, fairness, and equity, along with the punishment of the breach of said ethics.
  3. Prophethood, the institution by which God sends emissaries, or prophets, to guide mankind.
  4. Leadership, a divine institution which succeeded the institution of Prophethood. Its appointees (imams) are divinely appointed.
  5. Last Judgment, God’s final assessment of humanity.

More specifically, these principles are known as Usul al-Madhhab (principles of the Shia sect) according to Twelver Shias which differ from Daruriyat al-Din (Necessities of Religion) which are principles in order for one to be a Muslim. The Necessities of Religion do not include Leadership (Imamah) as it is not a requirement in order for one to be recognized as a Muslim. However, this category, according to Twelver scholars like Ayatollah al-Khoei, does include belief in God, Prophethood, the Day of Resurrection and other “necessities” (like belief in angels). In this regard, Twelver Shias draw a distinction in terms of believing in the main principles of Islam on the one hand, and specifically Shia doctrines like Imamah on the other.

Books

Besides the Qurʾan which is common to all Muslims, the Shiʿah derive guidance from books of traditions (“ḥadīth”) attributed to Muḥammad and the twelve imams. Below is a list of some of the most prominent of these books:

The Twelve Imams

The Twelve Imams are the spiritual and political successors to Muhammad for the Twelvers.[citation needed] According to the theology of Twelvers, the successor of Muhammad is an infallible human individual who not only rules over the community with justice but also is able to keep and interpret the divine law and its esoteric meaning. The words and deeds of Muhammad and the imams are a guide and model for the community to follow; as a result, they must be free from error and sin, and Imams must be chosen by divine decree, or nass, through Muhammad.[34][35] Each imam was the son of the previous imam, with the exception of Hussein ibn Ali, who was the brother of Hasan ibn Ali.[citation needed] The twelfth and final imam is Muhammad al-Mahdi, who is believed by the Twelvers to be currently alive and in occultation.[38]

Jurisprudence

See also: Shia clergy

The Twelver jurisprudence is called Ja’fari jurisprudence. In this jurisprudence Sunnah is considered to be the oral traditions of Muhammad and their implementation and interpretation by the twelve Imams. There are three schools of Ja’fari jurisprudence: Usuli, Akhbari, and Shaykhi. The Usuli school is by far the largest of the three. Twelver groups that do not follow Ja’fari jurisprudence include AleviBektashi, and Qizilbash.

In Ja’fari jurisprudence, there are ten ancillary pillars, known as Furu’ ad-Din, which are as follows:[139]

  1. Prayer
  2. Fasting
  3. Pilgrimage
  4. Alms giving
  5. Struggle
  6. One Fifth (One Fifth) (20% tax on yearly earnings after deduction of household and commercial expenses.)
  7. Directing others towards good
  8. Directing others away from evil
  9. Love those who are in God’s path
  10. Disassociation with those who oppose God

Tree of the Shia Islam

According to Twelvers, defining and interpretation of Islamic jurisprudence is the responsibility of Muhammad and the twelve Imams. As the 12th imam is in occultation, it is the duty of clerics to refer to the Islamic literature such as the Quran and hadith and identify legal decisions within the confines of Islamic law to provide means to deal with current issues from an Islamic perspective. In other words, Twelver clerics provide Guardianship of the Islamic Jurisprudence, which was defined by Muhammad and his twelve successors. This process is known as Ijtihad and the clerics are known as Marja, meaning reference. The labels Allamah and Ayatollah are in use for Twelver clerics.

Zaidi (“Fiver”)

Main article: Zaidiyyah

ZaidiyyaZaidism or Zaydi is the second largest branch of Shia Islam.[citation needed] It is a Shia school named after Zayd ibn Ali. Followers of the Zaidi fiqh are called Zaidis (or occasionally Fivers). However, there is also a group called Zaidi Wasītīs who are Twelvers (see below). Zaidis constitute roughly 42–47% of the population of Yemen.[140][141]

Doctrine

The Zaydis, Twelvers, and Ismailis all recognize the same first four Imams; however, the Zaidis recognize Zayd ibn Ali as the fifth. After the time of Zayd ibn Ali, the Zaidis recognized that any descendant of Hasan ibn Ali or Hussein ibn Ali could be imam after fulfilling certain conditions.[142] Other well-known Zaidi Imams in history were Yahya ibn ZaydMuhammad al-Nafs al-Zakiyya and Ibrahim ibn Abdullah. In matters of Islamic jurisprudence, the Zaydis follow Zayd ibn Ali’s teachings which are documented in his book Majmu’l Fiqh (in Arabic: مجموع الفِقه). Al-Hadi ila’l-Haqq Yahya, founder of the Zaydi state in Yemen, instituted elements of the jurisprudential tradition of the Sunni Muslim jurist Abū Ḥanīfa, and as a result, Zaydi jurisprudence today continues somewhat parallel to that of the Hanafis.

The Zaidi doctrine of Imamah does not presuppose the infallibility of the imam nor that the Imams receive divine guidance. Zaidis also do not believe that the Imamate must pass from father to son but believe it can be held by any Sayyid descended from either Hasan ibn Ali or Hussein ibn Ali (as was the case after the death of Hasan ibn Ali). Historically, Zaidis held that Zayd was the rightful successor of the 4th imam since he led a rebellion against the Umayyads in protest of their tyranny and corruption. Muhammad al-Baqir did not engage in political action, and the followers of Zayd believed that a true imam must fight against corrupt rulers.

Timeline

The Idrisids (Arabic: الأدارسة‎) were Arab[143] Zaydi Shia[144][145][146][147][148][149] dynasty in the western Maghreb ruling from 788 to 985 C.E., named after its first sultan, Idris I.

A Zaydi state was established in GilanDeylaman and Tabaristan (northern Iran) in 864 C.E. by the Alavids;[150] it lasted until the death of its leader at the hand of the Samanids in 928 C.E. Roughly forty years later the state was revived in Gilan and survived under Hasanid leaders until 1126 C.E. Afterwards, from the 12th to 13th centuries, the Zaydis of Deylaman, Gilan and Tabaristan then acknowledged the Zaydi Imams of Yemen or rival Zaydi Imams within Iran.[151]

The Buyids were initially Zaidi[152] as were the Banu Ukhaidhir rulers of al-Yamama in the 9th and 10th centuries.[153] The leader of the Zaydi community took the title of Caliph. As such, the ruler of Yemen was known as the Caliph, al-Hadi Yahya bin al-Hussain bin al-Qasim ar-Rassi Rassids (a descendant of Hasan ibn Ali the son of Ali) who, at Sa’dah, in 893-7 CE, founded the Zaydi Imamate, and this system continued until the middle of the 20th century, when the revolution of 1962 CE deposed the Zaydi Imam. The founding Zaidism of Yemen was of the Jarudiyya group; however, with increasing interaction with Hanafi and Shafi’i rites of Sunni Islam, there was a shift from the Jarudiyya group to the Sulaimaniyya, Tabiriyya, Butriyya or Salihiyya groups.[154] Zaidis form the second dominant religious group in Yemen. Currently, they constitute about 40–45% of the population in Yemen. Ja’faris and Isma’ilis are 2–5%.[155] In Saudi Arabia, it is estimated that there are over 1 million Zaydis (primarily in the western provinces).

Currently the most prominent Zaydi movement is Houthis movement, known by the name of Shabab Al Mu’mineen (Believing Youth). In 2014–2015 Houthis took over the government in Sana’a, which led to the fall of the Saudi Arabian-backed government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.[156] Houthis and their allies gained control of a significant part of Yemen’s territory and were resisting the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen seeking to restore Hadi in power. Both the Houthis and the Saudi Arabian-led coalition were being attacked by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.[157][158]

Ismaili (“Sevener”)

Main article: Isma’ilism

Ismailis gain their name from their acceptance of Isma’il ibn Jafar as the divinely appointed spiritual successor (Imam) to Ja’far al-Sadiq, wherein they differ from the Twelvers, who accept Musa al-Kadhim, younger brother of Isma’il, as the true Imam.

After the death or Occultation of Muhammad ibn Ismaill in the 8th century, the teachings of Ismailism further transformed into the belief system as it is known today, with an explicit concentration on the deeper, esoteric meaning (bāṭin) of the faith. With the eventual development of Twelverism into the more literalistic (zahir) oriented Akhbari and later Usuli schools of thought, Shiaism developed in two separate directions: the metaphorical Ismailli group focusing on the mystical path and nature of God and the divine manifestation in the personage of the “Imam of the Time” as the “Face of God”, with the more literalistic Twelver group focusing on divine law (sharī’ah) and the deeds and sayings (sunnah) of Muhammad and his successors (theAhlu l-Bayt), who as A’immah were guides and a light to God.[159]

Though there are several sub-groupings within the Ismailis, the term in today’s vernacular generally refers to The Shia Imami Ismaili Muslim (Nizari community), generally known as the Ismailis, who are followers of the Aga Khan and the largest group among the Ismailiyyah. Another community which falls under the Isma’il’s are the Dawoodi Bohras, led by a Da’i al-Mutlaq as representative of a hidden imam. While there are many other branches with extremely differing exterior practices, much of the spiritual theology has remained the same since the days of the faith’s early Imams. In recent centuries Ismailis have largely been an Indo-Iranian community,[160] but they are found in India, Pakistan, Syria, Palestine, Saudi Arabia,[161] Yemen, China,[162] Jordan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, East Africa and South Africa, and have in recent years emigrated to Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and North America.[163]

Ismaili Imams

Main article: List of Ismaili imams

After the death of Isma’il ibn Jafar, many Ismailis believed that one day the messianic Mahdi, whom they believed to be Muhammad ibn Ismail, would return and establish an age of justice. One group included the violent Qarmatians, who had a stronghold in Bahrain. In contrast, some Ismailis believed the Imamate did continue, and that the Imams were in occultation and still communicated and taught their followers through a network of dawah “Missionaries”.

In 909, Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi Billah, a claimant to the Ismaili Imamate, established the Fatimid Caliphate. During this period, three lineages of imams formed. The first branch, known today as the Druze, began with Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah. Born in 386 AH (985), he ascended as ruler at the age of eleven. The typical religiously tolerant Fatimid Empire saw much persecution under his reign. When in 411 AH (1021) his mule returned without him, soaked in blood, a religious group that was forming in his lifetime broke off from mainstream Ismailism and did not acknowledge his successor. Later to be known as the Druze, they believe al-Hakim to be the incarnation of God and the prophesied Mahdi who would one day return and bring justice to the world.[164] The faith further split from Ismailism as it developed very unusual doctrines which often class it separately from both Ismailiyyah and Islam.

The second split occurred following the death of Ma’ad al-Mustansir Billah in 487 AH (1094). His rule was the longest of any caliph in any Islamic empire. Upon his passing away, his sons, Nizar the older, and Al-Musta’li, the younger, fought for political and spiritual control of the dynasty. Nizar was defeated and jailed, but according to Nizari tradition, his son escaped to Alamut, where the Iranian Ismaili had accepted his claim.[165] From here on, the Nizari Ismaili community has continued with a present, living Imam.

The Mustaali line split again between the Taiyabi (Dawoodi Bohra is its main branch) and the Hafizi. The former claim that At-Tayyib Abi l-Qasim (son of Al-Amir bi-Ahkami l-Lah) and the imams following him went into a period of anonymity (Dawr-e-Satr) and appointed a Da’i al-Mutlaq to guide the community, in a similar manner as the Ismaili had lived after the death of Muhammad ibn Ismail. The latter (Hafizi) claimed that the ruling Fatimid Caliph was the Imam, and they died out with the fall of the Fatimid Empire.

Pillars

Ismailis have categorized their practices which are known as seven pillars:

The Shahada (profession of faith) of the Shia differs from that of Sunnis due to mention of Ali[166]

Contemporary leadership

The Nizaris place importance on a scholarly institution because of the existence of a present Imam. The Imam of the Age defines the jurisprudence, and his guidance may differ with Imams previous to him because of different times and circumstances. For Nizari Ismailis, the imam is Karim al-Husayni Aga Khan IV. The Nizari line of Imams has continued to this day as an unending line.

Divine leadership has continued in the Bohra branch through the institution of the “Unrestricted Missionary” Dai. According to Bohra tradition, before the last Imam, At-Tayyib Abi l-Qasim, went into seclusion, his father, the 20th Al-Amir bi-Ahkami l-Lah, had instructed Al-Hurra Al-Malika the Malika (Queen consort) in Yemen to appoint a vicegerent after the seclusion – theUnrestricted Missionary, who as the Imam’s vicegerent has full authority to govern the community in all matters both spiritual and temporal while the lineage of Mustaali-Tayyibi Imams remains in seclusion (Dawr-e-Sitr). The three branches of the Mustaali, the Alavi BohraSulaimani Bohra and Dawoodi Bohra, differ on who the current Unrestricted Missionary is.

Tradition

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Harney, John (January 3, 2016). “How Do Sunni and Shia Islam Differ?”New York Times. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
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  3. ^ Shi’a is an alternative spelling of Shia, and Shi’ite of Shiite. In subsequent sections, the spellings Shia and Shiite are adopted for consistency, except where the alternative spelling is in the title of a reference.
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References

 

Further reading

External links

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Michael Snyder
It looks like it is going to be another chaotic week for global financial markets. On Sunday, news that Iran plans to dramatically ramp up oil production sent stocks plunging all across the Middle East. Stocks in Kuwait were down 3.1 percent, stocks in Saudi Arabia plummeted 5.4 percent, and stocks in Qatar experienced a mammoth 7 percent decline. And of course all of this comes in the context of a much larger long-term decline for Middle Eastern stocks. At this point, Saudi Arabian stocks are down more than 50 percent from their 2014 highs. Needless to say, a lot of very wealthy people in Saudi Arabia are getting very nervous. Could you imagine waking up someday and realizing that more than half of your fortune had been wiped out? Things aren’t that bad in the U.S. quite yet, but it looks like another rough week could be ahead. The Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are all down at least 12 percent from their 52-week highs, and the Russell 2000 is already in bear market territory. Hopefully this week will not be as bad as last week, but events are starting to move very rapidly now.Much of the chaos around the globe is being driven by the price of oil. At the end of last week the price of oil dipped below 30 dollars a barrel, and now Iran has announced plans“to add 1 million barrels to its daily crude production”

Iran could get more than five times as much cash from oil sales by year-end as the lifting of economic sanctions frees the OPEC member to boost crude exports and attract foreign investment needed to rebuild its energy industry.

The Persian Gulf nation will be able to access all of its revenue from crude sales after the U.S. and five other global powers removed sanctions on Saturday in return for Iran’s curbing its nuclear program. The fifth-biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries had been receiving only $700 million of each month’s oil earnings under an interim agreement, with the rest blocked in foreign bank accounts. Iran is striving to add 1 million barrels to its daily crude production and exports this year amid a global supply glut that has pushed prices 22 percent lower this month.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what this is going to do to the price of oil.

The price of oil has already fallen more than 20 percent so far in 2016, and overall it has declined by more than 70 percent since late 2014.

When the price of oil first started to fall, a lot of people out there were proclaiming that it would be really good for the U.S. economy. But I said just the opposite. And of course since that time we have seen an endless parade of debt downgrades, bankruptcies and job losses. 130,000 good paying energy jobs were lost in the United States in 2015 alone because of this collapse, and things just continue to get even worse. At this point, some are even calling for the federal government to intervene. For example, the following is an excerpt from a CNN article that was just posted entitled “Is it time to bail out the U.S. oil industry?“…

America’s once-booming oil industry is suddenly in deep financial trouble.

The epic crash in oil prices has wiped out tens of thousands of jobs, caused dozens of bankruptcies and spooked global financial markets.

The fallout is already being felt in oil-rich states like Texas, Oklahoma and North Dakota, where home foreclosure rates are spiking and economic growth is slowing.

Now there are calls in at least some corners for the federal government to come to the rescue.

Is it just me, or is all of this really starting to sound a lot like 2008?

And of course it isn’t just the U.S. that is facing troubles. The global financial crisis that began during the second half of 2015 is rapidly accelerating, and chaos is erupting all over the planet. The following summary of what we have been seeing in recent days comes from Doug Noland

The world has changed significantly – perhaps profoundly – over recent weeks. The Shanghai Composite has dropped 17.4%over the past month (Shenzhen down 21%). Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down 8.2% over the past month, with Hang Seng Financials sinking 11.9%. WTI crude is down 26% since December 15th. Over this period, the GSCI Commodities Index sank 12.2%. The Mexican peso has declined almost 7% in a month, the Russian ruble 10% and the South African rand12%. A Friday headline from the Financial Times: “Emerging market stocks retreat to lowest since 09.”

Trouble at the “Periphery” has definitely taken a troubling turn for the worse. Hope that things were on an uptrend has confronted the reality that things are rapidly getting much worse. This week saw the Shanghai Composite sink 9.0%. Major equities indexes were hit8.0% in Russia and 5.0% in Brazil (Petrobras down 9%). Financial stocks and levered corporations have been under pressure round the globe. The Russian ruble sank 4.0% this week, increasing y-t-d losses versus the dollar to 7.1%. The Mexican peso declined another 1.8% this week. The Polish zloty slid 2.8% on an S&P downgrade (“Tumbles Most Since 2011”). The South African rand declined 3.0% (down 7.9% y-t-d). The yen added 0.2% this week, increasing 2016 gains to 3.0%. With the yen up almost 4% versus the dollar over the past month, so-called yen “carry trades” are turning increasingly problematic.

Closer to home, the crisis in Puerto Rico continues to spiral out of control. The following is an excerpt from a letter that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew sent to Congress on Friday

Although there are many ways this crisis could escalate further, it is clear that Puerto Rico is already in the midst of an economic collapse

Puerto Rico is already in default. It is shifting funds from one creditor to pay another and has stopped payment altogether on several of its debts. As predicted, creditors are filing lawsuits. The Government Development Bank, which provides critical banking and fiscal services to the central government, only avoided depleting its liquidity by halting lending activity and sweeping in additional deposits from other Puerto Rico governmental entities. A large debt payment of $400 million is due on May 1, and a broader set of payments are due at the end of June.

It isn’t Michael Snyder from The Economic Collapse Blog that is saying that Puerto Rico is “in the midst of an economic collapse”.

That is the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury that is saying it.

Those that have been eagerly anticipating a financial apocalypse are going to get what they have been waiting for.

Right now we are about halfway through January, and this is the worst start to a year for stocks ever. The Dow is down a total of 1,437 points since the beginning of 2016, and more than 15 trillion dollars of stock market wealth has been wiped out globally since last June.

Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people out there that are in denial.

There are a lot of people that still believe that this is just a temporary bump in the road and that things will return to “normal” very soon.

They don’t understand that this is just the beginning. What we have seen so far is just the warm up act, and much, much worse is yet to come.

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on Middle East stocks crash as the global financial apocalypse accelerates

Corporate Philanthropism

NOVANEWS

Corporate Philanthropism: Who Exactly Benefits Most from the “Global Giving” by Billionaires?

Global Research
charity

As the world’s political and economic elite gather to discuss their top concerns at the annual Davos summit in the Swiss Alps and with attention this week focused on the scourge of economic inequality, a new report begs questions about the potentially disastrous role the super-wealthy are playing when it comes to addressing key problems of global inequity, endemic poverty, and international development.

Released on Wednesday, the study by the UK-based social justice group Global Justice Now takes a specific look at the impact of the world’s largest philanthropic charity, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), to assess how large-scale private giving may be “skewing” how international aid works. In its conclusion, the report argues that what may look like altruism on a grand scale may actually mask a sinister reality about how the billionaires of the world insulate their personal fortunes while using their out-sized influence to project their private ideologies and further financial interests. The result, the report suggests, is that many of the people and communities who such charities purport to be helping, may actually be worse off in the long run.

With more than $43 billion in assets, the Gates Foundation is often lauded as a global force for social good that uses its vast financial resources to launch initiatives and support existing projects in order to, according to its mission, “help all people lead healthy, productive lives.”

The new report, however—entitled Gated Development: Is the Gates Foundation Always a Force for Good?—argues that regardless of good intentions or motivations, the foundation’s “concentration of power is undemocratically and unaccountably skewing the direction of international development” which in turn is “exacerbating global inequality and entrenching corporate power internationally.”

As Mark Jones, lead researcher and author of the report, explains in the introduction:

Analysis of the BMGF’s programmes shows that the foundation, whose senior staff is overwhelmingly  drawn from corporate America, is promoting  multinational corporate interests at the expense  of social and economic justice. Its strategy is  deepening – and is intended to deepen – the  role of multinational companies in global health  and agriculture especially, even though these  corporations are responsible for much of the  poverty and injustice that already plagues the  global south. Indeed, much of the money the  BMGF has to spend derives from investments in  some of the world’s biggest and most controversial  companies; thus the BMGF’s ongoing work  significantly depends on the ongoing profitability  of corporate America, something which is not  easy to square with genuinely realising social and  economic justice in the global south.

Polly Jones, head of campaigns and policy at Global Justice Now, highlights why the foundation’s unique role as a private organization is so troubling when it comes to putting a check on its enormous influence on the world stage.

“The Gates Foundation has rapidly become the most influential actor in the world of global health and agricultural policies, but there’s no oversight or accountability in how that influence is managed,” argues Polly Jones.

“This concentration of power and influence is even more problematic when you consider that the philanthropic vision of the Gates Foundation seems to be largely based on the values of corporate America. The foundation is relentlessly promoting big business-based initiatives such as industrial agriculture, private health care and education. But these are all potentially exacerbating the problems of poverty and lack of access to basic resources that the foundation is supposed to be alleviating.”

Based on a careful review of the charity’s behavior, the report offers these specific criticisms of the Gates Foundation:

  • The relationship between the money that the foundation has to give away and Microsoft’s tax practices. A 2012 report from the US Senate found that Microsoft’s use of offshore subsidiaries enabled it to avoid taxes of $4.5 billion – a sum greater than the BMGF’s annual grant making ($3.6 billion in 2014).
  • The close relationship that BMGF has with many corporations whose role and policies contribute to ongoing poverty. Not only is BMGF profiting from numerous investments in a series of controversial companies which contribute to economic and social injustice, it is also actively supporting a series of those companies, including Monsanto, Dupont and Bayer through a variety of pro-corporate initiatives around the world.
  • The foundation’s promotion of industrial agriculture across Africa, pushing for the adoption of GM, patented seed systems and chemical fertilisers, all of which undermine existing sustainable, small-scale farming that is providing the vast majority of food security across the continent.
  • The foundation’s promotion of projects around the world pushing private healthcare and education. Numerous agencies have raised concerns that such projects exacerbate inequality and undermine the universal provision of such basic human necessities.
  • BMGF’s funding of a series of vaccine programmes that have reportedly lead to illnesses or even deaths with little official or media scrutiny.

In Polly Jones’ forward to the report, she explains why the ideological underpinnings of the foundation—often overlooked or ignored in mainstream assessments—are essential to understanding the downside of BMFG’s powerful influence:

[This report] demonstrates that the trend to involve business in addressing poverty and inequality is central to the priorities and funding of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. We argue that this is far from a neutral charitable strategy but instead an ideological commitment to promote neoliberal economic policies and corporate globalisation. Big business is directly benefitting, in particular in the fields of agriculture and health, as a result of the foundation’s activities, despite evidence to show that business solutions are not the most effective.

For the foundation in particular, there is an overt focus on technological solutions to poverty. While technology should have a role in addressing poverty and inequality, long term solutions require social and economic justice. This cannot be given by donors in the form of a climate resilient crop or cheaper smartphone, but must be about systemic social, economic and political change – issues not represented in the foundation’s funding priorities.

Earlier this week, Oxfam International released a report showing that economic inequality across the globe has soared to such heights that now a mere 16 individual billionaires, including Bill Gates, own more wealth than the 3.6 billion people who represent the poorest half of the world’s population. In total, the report confirmed, the richest 1% of people now own more than the bottom 99% combined.

These shocking levels of unequal distribution of wealth are the cause, say experts, of increasingly intractable poverty levels in places like sub-Saharan Africa and across the Global South.  “The richest,” said Oxfam’s executive director Winnie Byanyima, “can no longer pretend their wealth benefits everyone – their extreme wealth in fact shows an ailing global economy. The recent explosion in the wealth of the super-rich has come at the expense of the majority and particularly the poorest people.”

Last week, as Common Dreams reported, international watchdog group The Global Policy Forum put out its own critical report critical regarding the impacts of large philanthropic foundations and charities. Employing the term “philanthrocapitalism” to described the phenonomen, the report argues that the “influence of large foundations in shaping the global development agenda, including health, food, nutrition, and agriculture” raises “a number of concerns in terms of how it is affecting governments and the UN development system.”

And the intersection between outrageous levels of inequality on the one hand and the rise of powerful private foundations on the other shows how interlocked these phenomenons have become. As Gary Olson, professor of political science at Moravian College in Pennsylvania, wrote recently at Common Dreams, “The one thing that Big Philanthropy must overlook is the green elephant astride the boardroom’s conference table, the economic system that causes and extends [economic and social] injustices in perpetuity.”

Posted in WorldComments Off on Corporate Philanthropism

Are the US Elites Attempting to Destroy Europe ?

NOVANEWS

Are the US Elites Attempting to Destroy Europe by Triggering A Flood of Immigrants and Refugees?

Global Research
Refugees-Europe

A side effect of the American neocon strategy of up-ending the Middle East is to flood Europe, and in particular, Germany, the continent’s dominant power, with non-Christian immigrants.  

The author argues that this is deliberate, and that Merkel and Obama are neocon patsies, leading Europe to destruction, and that Russia is one of the few countries whose leadership understands what is happening, and is fighting back.

A few years ago, views like these would be considered on the fringe.  Today they are going mainstream.  Witness the popularity of Donald Trump.

From the United States to Europe, the Western elite are allowing a massive influx of foreigners to enter their lands, radically transforming the face of Western societies in a bid to divide, conquer and expand their military and financial rule across an unsuspecting planet.

Angela Merkel was even named Time’s “Person of the Year” for spearheading the influx which threatens to tear Europe apart.

Despite the media-generated characterization of Europe as only too willing to allow swarms of refugees into their conservative societies, recent history provides us with an altogether different picture. As early as 2010, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in response to rising anti-immigrant sentiment, sent shockwaves around the world when she admitted that efforts to create a multicultural society in Germany have “utterly failed.”

Today, Merkel is humming a completely different tune as a wave of refugees storms Europe from all corners. Trusting the public’s short memory span, the German leader has put out the welcome mat along her country’s lengthy border, telling the world Germany is ready to accept over 1 million new arrivals – and on practically the same day that 130 people were killed by alleged Islamic fundamentalists around Paris.

Part of the public’s change of heart towards the plight of refugees came from the tragic story of Aylan Kurdis, the Syrian child whose body was found washed up along a shoreline in Turkey after the boat he had been traveling in capsized. Of course, the corporate-owned, super-consolidated media, never one to ignore a tragic moment (and especially one with graphic photographs) posted the story on every newspaper frontpage across Europe. Indeed, these were the same Western newspapers that ignored the depravations brought to children around the Middle East from NATO attacks on sovereign countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now in Syria. One need only read the subtitle that accompanied The Sun’s front page headline, which said: “Bomb Syria for Aylan.” Talk about using tragedy to sell the ugliest agenda of them all: War.

So while the European people are being coerced by a relentless media campaign to accept Syrian refugees or be labeled neo-fascists (a word few Germans can tolerate following the harrowing memory of Nazi Germany, a memory the media will never let the German people live down), the refugees are being magnetically drawn to Europe by the promise of easy money and easy jobs. Note: it has been proven that most of the new arrivals to Europe are not from Syria, but rather from other war-torn places, like Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

Refugees in Germany receive up to 345 euro per month from the government, whereas in Sweden the monthly allowance is up to 224 euro. Compared to the places and situations where the refugees are escaping from, this temptation of free money is practically impossible to ignore.

Was this chaos planned?

While on the surface it may seem that the refugee crisis has taken Western leaders by surprise, in fact it is all part of their plan for global domination, which was outlined in a paper by the now-defunct group of US neoconservatives known as The Project for a New American Century (PNAC).

In September 2000, the group released a document entitled: ‘Rebuilding America’s Defenses – Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century,’ in which the power-crazed individuals came out and admitted their goal of asserting US military power around the globe in order to remain the world’s supreme superpower.

The PNAC identified five nations it deems as “deeply hostile to America” – North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria (former US General Wesley Clark added another three to that list a bit later: Lebanon, Somalia and Sudan). It should come as no surprise that two of these five countries have already suffered a US-led occupation/capitulation, while Syria is still managing to survive, albeit only due to the military intervention of Russia.

Moscow seems to have come to the correct conclusion that Islamic State is simply a proxy army created by the United States to smash down the doors of sovereign states.

Judging by the scope of these diabolical plans, it is altogether impossible that the United States could not see well in advance that a flood of desperate refugees would soon be streaming towards the European Union in search of safety.

But again, this is part of the overall plan that the US elite desire, otherwise they would not be so aggressively pushing for the rights of the illegal aliens over the rights of their natural born citizens.

This makes sense when we consider the absolute wreck that the Western elite have made of the European economy, with nations like Greece, Italy, Portugal and others on the brink of total insolvency, and only surviving due to impossible-to-return loans pushed on them by the IMF and World Bank.

There is the temptation to point to the colorful life story of Barack Hussein Obama – America’s first black president of Kenyan descent who is known to hold strong opinions on the way minorities have been treated present and past – as a powerful reason for national borders collapsing around the world, and most shockingly in the United States and the European Union. Indeed, the real estate tycoon Donald Trump has practically sealed his nomination for the Republican presidential candidacy on nothing more than the promise to build a “gigantic wall” separating America and Mexico. So why doesn’t Obama make an equally simple promise and shut down the Trump threat once and for all?

Although I do believe that Obama is predisposed by both his skin color and life history to show sympathy to the plight of refugees and minorities, and is thereby less inclined to shut down America’s borders, I don’t think the US president’s race can explain everything (although it has a wonderful way of scaring off any would-be critics out of fear of being branded ‘racist’). The simple fact is that Obama is reading from a script that was written many years ago. Washington is simply weighed down by too many powerful, behind-the-scenes puppet masters for anything to happen by chance in the realm of US politics.

According to a German sociologist Gunnar Heinsohn, by mid-21st century millions of migrants from Africa and Asia (950 million of them are already willing to relocate to the EU) will drag Europe back into the Dark Ages. So isn’t this exactly what Barack Obama, a man with African roots, should be willing to achieve through his foreign policy?

 We would be amiss to singularly blame Obama for destroying the once proud European civilization (now hanging by a thread in a few stubborn holdouts, like Russia, Hungary and Belorussia). The blame must be placed on the very malevolent system that every American leader is forced to either accept or fight once in the Oval Office (John F. Kennedy is perhaps the best proof as to what will happen to any US leader who attempts to be his own man and demand real change.

 We can no longer allow ourselves to be deluded as to what is really happening in the world today. The United States is actively and intentionally destroying the old fabric of nationality – the very glue that holds together cultures and civilizations – around the world, and it does not matter if the state is friend or foe, Christian or Muslim, rich or poor.

The ultimate plan is to smash any homogeneity that exists and replace it with a US-led imperial system that relies on brute force to maintain “peace and order.”

This is much easier achieved if people no longer have anything remotely in common with their neighbors. The microcosm of this demonic system is already playing out on Main Street, USA, where local police forces are actually receiving military-grade weapons to use against the American people – while our national borders remain open to killers, rapists and drug traffickers from South America (!).

In Europe, the very same tragedy is playing out like a cold-blooded murder in broad daylight. Thanks to America’s reckless foreign policy agenda, which went absolutely insane following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, NATO countries are being helplessly dragged into battles and regardless of the public outcry and protests against these illegal wars, which have already happened in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and now Syria – all of which have resulted – or soon will result – in failed states.

But the real failed states will eventually be the old colonial powers of Europe, which sit on the front line of the refugee tsunami provoked by the US that is now crashing across the region, threatening to engulf every city from Lisbon to Helsinki.

This development only plays further into Washington’s hands as the European people – increasingly terrified by pre-planned acts of war, terrorism and financial collapse – look to a savior to rescue them. At that point, they will walk happily and blindly into captivity like lambs on the way to slaughter, believing they are free until the moment of their destruction.

In other words, when it is too late to reverse their fate and the real face of the global tyrant is revealed.

Posted in USA, EuropeComments Off on Are the US Elites Attempting to Destroy Europe ?

Global Unemployment and the World Economic Crisis

NOVANEWS

A Bleak ILO Unemployment Report and even Bleaker Projections

Global Research
Unemployment-Public-Domain-300x300

This is a transcript of an interview of Dr. Peter Koenig with PressTV, focussing on the recently released ILO Unemployment Report.

The interview is preceded by a brief news summary of the ILO report. 

According to AFP, January 19, 2016: 

“Global unemployment rose in 2015 and is expected to worsen further over the next two years, the International Labour Organization said Tuesday, citing downturns in key emerging economies. In a new report, the ILO estimated that 197.1 million working-age people were unemployed in 2015, an uptick of 0.7 percent compared to 2014 figures. In 2016, the figure is expected to rise by a further 2.3 million, with another 1.1 million people added to the jobless roster in 2017, the report said. The figures also made clear that employment rates have not recovered from the financial crash of 2008, as 27 million more people were out of work last year as compared to the pre-crisis level.

“The global economy is not generating enough jobs,” ILO chief Guy Ryder told journalists.

He pointed to “the significant slowdown in emerging markets coupled with a sharp decline in commodity prices”, as the culprits fuelling a grim outlook for the global job market. – The report said that much of the trouble in the developing world stems from struggling Brazil and especially China, which last year saw its slowest GDP growth in a quarter century. Once key drivers of global job growth, major emerging economies in Asia and Latin America will likely see unemployment rise this year, as will Arab and African nations [which] are heavily reliant on commodity sales, according to the report. – Unemployment is expected to fall slightly in advanced economies, but not by enough to fully offset the losses in the developing world, the ILO said. The report forecasts that in the United States and some other advanced economies, “unemployment will decline to pre-crisis rates.”

The ILO sounded specific alarm on the ever-rising numbers of people worldwide who have“vulnerable employment”, a term referring to low quality, unstable work, without formal contracts or benefits and with huge volatility in compensation. In addition to jobless figures, the ILO has typically used the vulnerable employment rate to assess the true health of an economy. In emerging markets, the number of people with vulnerable work is expected to grow by 25 million over the next three years, the report said.

PressTV Question: What do you make of this report?

Peter Koenig Response:

Summing up ILO’s projections – By 2017 more than 300 million people are likely to be unemployed. This does not include a shadow figure of at least another 30% to 50%, especially from developing countries where no exact statistics are held and where the line between partial employment and unemployment is blurred.

The projected 300 million-plus in 2017 do not account either for the more than 60 million refugees which according to UNHCR are currently on the move or in camps throughout world. Their situation is extremely precarious, considering health, nutrition and other social factors – and they are practically all unemployed.

The flood of refugees into Europe, especially Germany, will create more unemployment. And there is a purpose behind it: Washington wants Europe divided and working for their corporations as so-called low-wage hi-tech servants.

Even in the US, real unemployment, if it were to be accounted for like it was in the 1990s, or like it is in some European countries, would be between 20% and 25%, not the 5% currently claimed by the Labor Department.

PressTV: What do you think are the causes for this bleak outlook on unemployment?

PK:

Mr. Ryder does not talk about, what are the origins of the financial crisis – of the ongoing crisis – of the crisis with no end in sight.

This crisis is not ‘just happening’ – it is directed, fabricated and maintained by a globalized elite, led by Washington and supported by the Pentagon and NATO, fuelling wars and conflicts throughout the world.

Wars are highly profitable for the military industrial complex; and they are highly destructive, leaving entire countries without infrastructure and productive capacity – like Syria – hence unemployment becomes astronomical.

The worldwide economic crisis is manipulated by the very purpose of ‘Globalization’ – where rich industrialized countries transfer their manufacturing to cheap labor countries, where vulnerable and precarious jobs are created – no social insurances, no job security – minimal and barely living wages.

Poor people who are at the edge of survival cannot stand up for their rights; they have to fight for daily survival of their families.

The global financial – and industrial elite that is manipulating crisis after crisis- and therefore creating unemployment at will (unemployment is a ‘cushion’ for wage repression, a tool of the capitalist system) – can continue the crisis mode only as long as it uses the current fiat dollar based monetary system; only this system makes it possible to impose totally illegal ‘sanctions’ on countries that do not behave according to Washington’s dictate.

Sanctions also create unemployment.

I agree with ILO’s chief, Mr. Ryder – “this needs to change”.

And the solution is not that far-fetched: It means getting out of this nefarious and criminal dollar system, de-dollarize and de-globalize the world.

Russia-China, the other BRICS and the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) countries making up about one third of the world’s GDP and about half of the world’s population – are about ready to launch an alternative monetary system.

Posted in Politics, WorldComments Off on Global Unemployment and the World Economic Crisis

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