At the root of the conflict between Iran and its Arab neighbours lies the Shia-Sunni divide, as the patrons of the two Muslim sects, Tehran and Riyadh respectively, are both prepared to promote and support their sectarian beliefs. Conflicts in Yemen, Syria and Bahrain can be viewed in this light. Yet it is also the result of an ordinary struggle between two regional powers.
Results for Tag: Religion
The extremely rare public display of support for gay rights was followed by calls in the media for the government and religious authorities to come to the rescue of a society dangerously poised on the brink of the moral abyss by legislating against homosexuality or invoking religion to condemn the deviants (al-shawath), the pejorative term used to describe homosexuals in Egypt and other Arabic-speaking societies.
Today, Shiites are divided into numerous sects, the largest being Twelver Shiism. Shiites make up the majority of the population in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain and Azerbaijan; and they constitute significant minorities in Lebanon, Yemen, Syria, Turkey, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India, Nigeria and Tanzania.
Today, Sunnism is by no means limited to the traditional proto-Sunni model that emerged and flourished in Islam’s early centuries. Sunni movements, institutions, independent thinkers and even ordinary Sunni individuals subscribe to various strands and schools of Sunni Islam – from secularism to political Islam, and from Wahhabism and Salafism to liberal and progressive visions of Islam.
The Egyptian president has called on al-Azhar repeatedly to reform its religious discourse, especially the fatwas it issues, in order for religion to meet the needs of modern times. He has urged Egyptian clerics to counter the rhetoric of religious extremists in general and the Islamic State (IS) in particular.
Rap and hip-hop in general, is a mirror of society. Rappers talk about injustice, social and political issues, corruption. However, they don’t consider themselves as political rappers, they speak about what’s happening to them, to their country and to the region, with recurring themes like Palestine, religion, secularism and corruption.
The policies of the Shiite-dominated government have prevented Sunnis from contributing effectively to building the Iraqi state and running its affairs. In recent years, the government has enacted several new laws and allegedly used them to marginalize and exclude Sunnis from political decision-making.
After the end of Saddam Hussein’s reign in 2003, and the fall of the Baath party, the Iraqi media environment was rapidly opened up under American occupation. By 2004, over 200 newspapers had begun publishing, in addition to around 80 radio stations and 20 television channels. The Iraqi public were also quick to purchase satellite dishes and receive transmissions from abroad. A revised constitution created in 2005 enshrined media freedom, further adding to initial optimism about a new era for the Iraqi media. However, repressive government measures, exacerbated by sectarian tensions, violence and the seizure of territory by Islamic State (ISIS), have made the country one of the most hostile environments for journalists to operate in.