Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Shiites are coming , The Shiites Are Coming

I had enough of that new hysteria of media in the middle of the daily madness we face in Egypt nowadays. That hysteria simply revolves about the visit of the minister of tourism Hisham Zaazou to Iran.
The man went to open new market for Egypt in Iran , it is a great opportunity especially in those extreme bad economic and tourism times. We should be thankful  but instead there are hysteria and fear from those future Iranian tourists.
The Islamists are extremely angry from Zaazou’s visit and believe the Iranian tourists will spread Shiism in Egypt and the Salafists are screaming to Morsi “The Shiites are coming , the Shiites are coming” ordering him literality to stop that Shiite touristic invasion in Egypt otherwise they will stand against him till death !!
The liberals too are hysterical about these Iranian tourists as well. They think that brining the Iranian tourists will enforce the religious state in Egypt and that these tourists will be members of the Iranian regime in disguise who came to teach their Egyptian counterparts who control the state.. etc.
I do not know what kind of liberals they are to be honest.I feel that we are dealing here not with liberals but rather with Nationalists. No wonder the Egyptian liberals have failed the test and are not defending the rights of those fellow Egyptian Shiites as they do with the Christians and even the Baha’is.
Already Turkey , the role model of the Muslim brotherhood and its biggest alley after Qatar receives not less than 2 million Iranian tourist annually. I do not see that Turkey has turned in to a Shiite state or even Iranian follower in the region !!
The Iranian tourists will not transfer the Iranian Islamic republic experience but they will bring money. You need money now. For God sake Israeli tourists come and go freely in South Sinai for decades and people are hysterical about future Iranian tourists.
If we are speaking about true Religious tourism in Egypt : Two main target segments should be reached and they are the Christians and the Muslim Shiites. The trip of the Holy family in Egypt and the Holy sites of Ahl El Bayt in Cairo are the main attractions. Of course this can be achieved if you are tolerant enough as a society which is not the case especially now with all that sick polarization and hate.
Needless to say to see this hysteria from those Iranian tourists who have not shown yet in Cairo , I can not stop thinking about Egyptian Shiites. Egypt’s forgotten and less popular Muslims who are destined to face hell whether in time of Mubarak or in time of Morsi. 
It was one of the most ironic moments last month when Sheikh of Al Azhar Ahmed El Tayib actually stood besides Ahmadinejad demanding him to give the Iranian Sunnis and Ahvaz their rights where as he himself , an Egyptian official does not recognize any rights for Egyptian Shiites at all !!
Sheikh Ahmed El Tayib already forgot that the current Constitution approved actually does not recognize Egyptian Muslim Shiites at all. It clearly states in article 219 which was highlighted by human rights organizations that only the Sunni Islamic doctrines are recognized by the Egyptian State as sources of legalization.1
Yes we got Egyptian Shiite population in Egypt and they will not go any where or disappear as they are Egyptians like you and me. According to foreign estimations there are nearly 1% of Egyptian Muslim population and some think that it is more than that as some Sunni Egyptian Muslims do convert from time to time.
I have done some extensive research about Egyptian Shiites and I found out that like any other group you will find the liberal , the religious extremist and the nationalists among them.They are not monsters who are serving some hidden Iranian agenda. Some of them served in their country’s army including veterans who fought in 1973. They are everywhere from Alexandria to Aswan. Some of them if not most of them hide their true religious faith to avoid trouble. In the end they are Egyptians who are in desperate need to feel that they are not alien or dangerous clandestine society. They are Egyptians who are seeking the rights of full citizenship. 
Unfortunately only in times of moderation and enlightenment you will find attempts to bridge that gap between Sunni and Shiite and unfortunately we live in times of radicalizations whether in Egypt or Iran or in general. People forget that for centuries Egypt had been ruled by Shiite dynasty that founded our Capital “Cairo” and our great mosque “Al Azhar” in some of history’s biggest ironies if you think about it.
The Egyptian Shiites file is extremely big and sad as it does not deal only with regional politics but with sad sectarian religious wrong ideas.
Anyhow I will end my short post with something I heard from one of the top and controversial Shiite figures in Egypt : We have faith in the Egyptians , the real Egyptians who are not radical but moderate non Sectarian Egyptians”
1. Explanatory article for the second in the Egyptian constitution.


  1. Shiites are not even true Muslims. Should Egypt welcome them? They openly insult as-Sahaba in the vilest of terms. Will Egypt do anything for money? Already you accepted Kerry's 250 million dollars. For a few tainted rials will you tolerate the filthy scorn they pour upon Aisha bint Abu Bakr, the Mother of the Believers? For shame.

    Haha, seriously though. This post reminds me of last year's Sunni-Shiite debate on Egypt's Al-Shabab TV. One of the funniest things I have ever seen. Don't miss it! ROTFLMAO

    1. Personally, I can't wait until Muslim Brotherhood cars start exploding. That's karmic justice, isn't it?

    2. There is a hadith from the Holy Prophet that when one Muslim calls another a Kafir, then at least one of them is a Kafir... of course he doesn't mention which one is!

      Your vitriolic hatred is misplaced and misinformed Jason, if Shias are not Muslims, then you would have a hard time explaining how a "Sunni" caliph appointed a Shia Imam his heir (Caliph Ma'mun with Imam Rida). Or for that matter, I would look to Sheikh Shaltut's declaration of Shi'ism at the "5th" Madhab. Your blanket claims only reveal a need to read history and not regurgitate the ideological hate that is peddled so freely today.

  2. But we do have a problem with Shi'ites. They are theological and political. The first It mainly pertains to their beliefs about early Islamic History. In their belief system, they reject our Caliphs ( Abu Baker, Omar, Othman, Ali ), not only that, they reject both the Ommayad and Abbasid regimes as illegitimate. As Muslims, we believe that the first Four Caliphs are right next to the Prophet in rank of virtue. That they were chosen by God himself to be the Prophet's companions.

    Whereas in mainstream Shi'ite doctrine, Caliph Omar was at best a usurper and at worst a mass-murderer. Khaled bin Walid whom we regard as one of the greatest Military strategist in history, they regard as a criminal and a rapist.

    Mind you, these are the mainsteam Shi'ite beliefs.
    I am not talking about the more extreme Shi'ite beliefs, like whoever did not pledge his allegiance to Calip Ali bin Abi Taleb (RA) was an infidel.

    Now, coming to politics, it has been proven and seen in history, that many many times, the Shi'ites as a group and as a political force have allied with our enemies whenever there have been conflicts between Muslim and Non-Muslim countries. This started as early as the Crusades, continued with the Iranian regime of the Shah who always conspired with Israel against Egypt, whether in 1956, 1967 or in OPEC. It reached most outrageous proportion after the 1979 fake Islamic Revolution in Iran, when the Khomeinist Mullah regime launched an unprovoked aggression against Iraq and Saddam Hussein, even conspiring with Israel against Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88 ( remember the Israel-Iran arms deals ? ) Then in 2003 the Shi'ite world in general enthusiastically suported the US invasion of Iraq and come on Zenobia, lets admit it the Shi'ite were the ones who gained most politically by the Iraq War.

    And lastly the proven involvement of Iranian proxies militias in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon in sectarian cleansing against Sunnis. The proven suppression of Arabic-speaking people in Iran and the suppression of Sunni religious practice.

    So, you see, greater involvement with the Shi'ite world in general and with Iran in particular, is not conducive to the benefit and well-being of Egypt, or any other sovereign, independent Muslim Arab-speaking nation. We do not need their money.

    1. Oh my sides. This is shaping up to be another classic food fight.

    2. You wrote

      >Whereas in mainstream Shi'ite doctrine, Caliph Omar was at best a usurper and at worst a mass-murderer.

      Shi3a also claim that he was a sodomite and 3Aisha cheated on the prophet and breast fed the youth of Quriash
      So what? These are claims and no more just like the claim by Sunni Muslims that the Shi3a are heretics! and get over it

      > Khaled bin Walid whom we regard as one of the greatest Military strategist in history,they regard as a criminal and a rapist.

      Let me see anyone who invades the lands of other nations and loot and destroy and collect al-ghanima and rape women is a criminal and a rapist so he was indeed a criminal and a rapist

      So the shia here make a good point

      And no I'm not a shi3a Muslim I'm just proving to you that your claims so far are silly

      >Mind you, these are the mainsteam Shi'ite beliefs.

      And in main stream sunni beliefs the shi3a are out to no good and they are heretics

      I thought there is something called al-umma al-islamiyya or am I missing something?

      >I am not talking about the more extreme Shi'ite beliefs, like whoever did not pledge his allegiance to Calip Ali bin Abi Taleb (RA) was an infidel.

      And there are extreme Sunnis the likes of the morons called el-salafiyeen that believe that anyone who does not believe in their 7th century world is a kafir

      You see the point is Egypt should welcome all tourists

      However, it is only poor Shi3a that go on these visits to tombs of saints! and they would not be able to afford the cost of tourism in Egypt so do not expect plane loads of shi3a flying to Egypt from Iran in the near future

      Oh the rich Shi3a? they travel to Europe for fun

      Now do you get it?

  3. Unfortunately, many of the Egyptian 'liberals' come with a distinctly dictatorial tinge. And they have shown this due to, amongst other things, being comfortable with or openly calling for the military to come back into power.

  4. Since when does it matter what religion a tourist has? I feel like many Egyptians are going crazy these days. Just relax, this is all a big distraction from the real problems of this country. If a muslim tourist visits me, am I muslim after that? If a christian tourist visits me, am I christian after that? When a jewish tourist visits me, am I jewish after that? Come on people, this whole discussion is absurd.

    When it comes to Shiites in Egypt, i firmly believe that religion is a personal belief and should not be the concern of other people. Respect me and I respect you. Your religion is not better than mine as there is no objective scale to measure that. And my religion is not better than yours. It would help us all if we respect each other and each others right to choose the own religion freely. And it would help very much if we don't all have to proof to each other that our religion is better. You don't want to be proselytised by me and I don't want your attampts to convince me that I should switch to your religion.

    What really matters? That we all live together in peace and respect each others rights and freedoms.

    PS: And from a psycheological point of view it is pretty obvious that only those panic who feel weak and vulnorable.

  5. The sanctions placed on Iran has rendered their currency and economy in shambles, they suffer from a very high inflation, unemployment and socioeconomic problems.
    All considered,does the Egyptian government think that Iranians have the extra expendable cash to travel abroad as tourists?

    1. Only way to find out about your thesis on tourism! You're making a broad allegation w/o any research on tourist trends. If it's just practical and not ideological opposition you have, then it won't hurt to let Iranian tourists in! Some money is better than none.

  6. Did people react similarly when Princess Fawzia married Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in 1939?

    1. Actually they did not , they were happy. Already historically the clerics of AL Azhar thought it was a political marriage and an attempt to bring together the Islamic nation. Farouk dreamed of becoming the Khalifa of Islamic Nation "do not ask me how" and he believed that marriage would be his way to be so.
      The Old Pahlavi wanted to reinforce his dynasty in the region by seeking an alliance with the oldest and prestigious royal family then.A typical political marriage in the end. By the way both the Shah and the princess were teenagers
      Needless to say people suddenly remembered the sectarian differences when the princess was divorced.

    2. >Actually they did not , they were happy. Already >historically the clerics of AL Azhar thought it was a political marriage and an attempt to bring together the Islamic nation.

      I really disagree with you as this is indeed anachronistic

      This marriage was no more than a marriage of royalty to another royalty as they also do in Europe and one happens to be sunni and the other happens to be shi3a

      You really need to read Albert Hourani's "Liberal age" and you will understand the rule of religion in Egypt and Iran back then and it is not what you see today or even in the 1950's when Faruq abdicated

      I think what is most interesting about Iran and Egypt is that they are the only real nation states in the Middle East with great ancient history and great civilizations and unique religions (the religion of Egypt and Zoroastrianism) and unique languages (The Egyptian language which is the Coptic language of today and the Pahlavi language in the case of Iran) and very homogeneous population (i always like to remind the rabid anti-Copts that their ancestors were indeed Copts)

      Now both countries were invaded by the Arabs in the 7th century and yes as Sayyed el-Qimni once said that to call it al-futuh al-islamiyya is ridiculous as Egypt was not "closed" or Iran for this matter in the first place and that this was not more than Arabian imperialism

      Now in the case of Iran it was Firdawsi the author of the great Iranian epic the Shahnemah that was really responsible for the revival and survival of the language of Iran and for telling the people of Iran about the glorious pre-Islamic past (copmare this with today's Egypt where the ignorant el-salafiyeen want to destroy the pyramids and Egypt's glorious past) and this is indeed why Iranians never liked the Arabs or their imperialism because they had their Shahnemah or the old and glorious pre-Islamic Iran and this is why they still speak their language Pahlavi and not Arabic which almost replaced Pahlavi following the Arab invasion of Iran. Evene today Mullah quote the shahnemah before they quote the Qur'an.

      And to even distance themselves more from the Arabs they opted for being Shi3a than being sunni and last the Iranian ulama the likes of al-Tabari and Ibn Saad were the ones that really made Islam what it is all about about in other words if you cannot beat them then join them

      And I hate to tell the readers but 70% of kutub al-turath al-islami were written by Iranians and not Arabs and you draw your own conclusions

      The truth is Iran and its people have never forgiven the Arabs for their destruction of their great Zoroastrian past

      I also suspect that Iran acted as a buffer between the Arabic speaking Middle East and Afghanistan and now Pakistan and this is why such countries even with their Muslim population still did not adopt the Arabic language as their spoken language

      Now compare this with Egypt: Egyptians never produced the likes of a national literary epic the likes of Fardawsi's Shahnemah (the closet that I can think of is the book of Sinohi the Egyptian but how many of today's Egyptians have read this great epic or even know about it) and the Muslim rulers of Egypt prevented Egyptian from speaking their own language Coptic/Egyptian and this is most likely why Egyptian opted for the "if you cannot beat them then join them" and now they speak Egyptian Arabic and are suuni Muslims

      And as in the case of Iran by Egyptians adopting Egyptian Arabic as their language countries west of Egypt Libya and Tunisia and el-gazaer and el-Maghreb would have been speaking their national language Berber and not Arabic

      Yes I'm covering a huge area of history that they do not teach you in Egypt

      >Farouk dreamed of becoming the Khalifa of Islamic Nation "do not ask me how" and he believed that marriage would be his way to be so.

      Again this is anachronistic and I do not believe it

  7. Iranian tourists is about what Egypt is worthy of. And just think how great it's going to be for Egyptian men to be able to gang-rape Iranian women in public, too? It's a win-win, isn't it? Of course, there's always the possibility that the only tourists the IRI will allow to travel to Egypt are IRGC Quds operatives, but that will be a win for Hamas won't it? There's just no downside here, what the hell is everyone complaining about?

  8. You hates shiite muslims, killing them with bombs in Pakistan, Irak, Syria, Afghanistan. How much do you hates atheists like me or christians, if you hates muslims like you? Please stay in your sunni certified country of hate!

  9. I accidentally left this comment for the wrong post, but here it again again:

    Thank you for the rational and fair approach you take in the article. I hope discourse in the Middle East trends towards this level-headedness. Keep up the great work!

  10. When Misr was Omm el Donia, before its conquest from the Easter hordes, Shiite were married to the royal Familes. That was the Golden Age when Hassan, Morquos, and Kohen were equal prosperous citizens. Thanks to the cultural invasion from the hordes from the east, today;s Egypt ranks last in security, a country on the edge of bankruptcy, but not only financial, also moral. What is happening to Egyptian women in Tahrir is not very different from the attitude of Wahabi towards Shiite; and also by the way, towards bahaii, Jews, Qopts, and every one that is not Wahabi. Egypt Om el Donia has been brought to its knees by the cultural invasion and imperialism from its east. Good bye Misr Omm el Donia and Hello Misr al-Wahabia.


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