Shias across Middle East decry Saudi cleric's execution| MENAFN.COM

Thursday, 26 May 2022 02:13 GMT

Shias across Middle East decry Saudi cleric's execution

(MENAFN- Gulf Times) audi Arabia's execution of a leading cleric from the Shia community has threatened to further intensify a wave of sectarian conflict in the region.

Lebanon's Supreme Islamic Shia Council called the execution of cleric Nimr al-Nimr a "grave mistake", and the Hezbollah group termed it an assassination.

Saudi Arabia executed 47 people including Nimr, whom the government accused of inciting violence against the police. His supporters say he is a peaceful dissident who called for greater rights for the kingdom's Shia minority.

Scores of Shias in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province marched through Nimr's home district of Qatif, and dozens more gathered in nearby Bahrain.

In Iran, state media channels carried non-stop coverage of clerics and secular officials eulogising Nimr.

Shia leaders in Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, and Yemen also warned of reprisals.

Three other Shias were executed alongside Nimr, but most of the convicts were jihadists linked to al Qaeda.

The Saudi government says Nimr ordered his followers to attack the police, and was to blame for a series of shooting and petrol bomb attacks that killed several policemen during anti-government protests in Qatif in 2011-13.
The wave of condemnation could harm Saudi Arabia's efforts to form an Islamic alliance against the jihadist militants of Islamic State. Riyadh announced the coalition last month, but did not include the Shia powers.
Lawmakers in Iraq called on the government to sever ties with neighbouring Saudi Arabia, just one day after the kingdom reopened its embassy in Baghdad for the first time since 1990.

Iran's foreign ministry had said on Monday it was willing to talk to Saudi Arabia after months of escalating tensions, but any chance of a rapprochement appeared to be derailed on Saturday.

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