[ by Charles Cameron — an Ayatollah’s video take-down of the Grand Mufti ]
Today’s latest news from the Long War Journal is titled Egyptian jihadists call for attacks in Shiite countries and opens with the paragraph:
Twenty Egyptian jihadists have issued a statement calling upon Sunnis to launch attacks in Shiite-led countries in response to the Assad regime’s offensive in Qusayr, a city in western Syria near Homs. The chief signatory on the statement is Mohammed al Zawahiri, the younger brother of al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri.
I’ve been having some conversations on Twitter recently in which I’d been verifying my own sense that Hezbollah‘s ethos and imagery of martyrdom would presumably extend beyond the poppies and doves depicted here to include also the martyrdom of Husayn at Kerbala, and I’m grateful to Phillip Smyth for his confirmation and elaboration on that theme.
Somehow in my wanderings, I came across this video, in which Ayatollah Sayed Hadi al Modarresi, a senior Shia cleric, bookends his even more senior Sunni counterpart the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, with his own commentary, speaking from the very heart of Shia passion — the shrine of Imam Husayn in Kerbala.
The Ayatollah challenges the Grand Mufti’s assertion that Husayn erred in refusing his oath of obedience to Yazid, thus bringing his own death upon himself at the ensuing battle of Kerbala:
Things that impressed me:
The simple but rhetorically effective use of one video quoted within another.
The incredible passion of the crowd in Kerbala, which the poster called to our attention with a note saying:
Keep watching to see the fury of the audience..
The half-accusatory, half-conciliatory way in which the Grand Mufti expressed himself, with phrases that suggested Husayn — may God be pleased with him — was in error, while asking God to forgive him…
and in response, the Ayatollah’s use of the imagery of the “red line”:
If the Long War Journal piece shows us an aspect of the current situation, this stunning video offers us a window into the passions such events are poised to arouse.