Writing at Al Arabiya TV, Badria al-Bishr laments the rise of sectarianism that goes to the root of Arab unity. Too many, she says, are extrapolating from regional events to the personal level. Where there had been amity among the sects on a local level in the past, there is now hatred fueled by what is seen in the news.
The arguments she is opposing are rife with logical fallacies. Fallacious appeals to belief, consequences of belief, emotion, fear, popularity, and tradition are all being made. Errors of composition — assuming what is done by some members of a group must apply to all members of the group — are common. Muddled thinking and an apparent inability to put oneself in another’s shoes can only create new problems and exacerbate old ones. It’s bad enough when individuals behave this way; it’s infinitely worse when states adopt these views as policy.
Stirring hatred in the Muslim world
A Kuwaiti actor’s grandson passed away whilst the former was shooting a series. The actor stopped shooting and his Saudi colleague went to offer him his condolences in Kuwait in a “hosseiniyeh” (a Shiite mosque) built in 1905, as the deceased hails from the Shiite sect. A picture of the Saudi actor was published on Twitter along with a long hashtagged comment slandering him and accusing him of treason. He was accused of far worse as one of the critics said “a sectarian regime kills Qusayr’s children, how can you offer condolences to the sons of this sect whom the killers hail from?”
One can say that people with such a demagogic approach don’t represent a big percentage of the public. But they are not small in their numbers either. They have exposed a malicious racist spirit that places its pains above all others’ pain. They are moved by the desire of blind vengeance. They know no mercy, tolerance or justice. They consider that the ones responsible for all these pains are everyone who belongs to the sect of the tyrant. This is how crimes were attributed to people who have nothing to do with the fighting in the Syria. They were only attributed to them because they happen to belong to the same sect. They have thus given up on our unity and national and Gulf security, dividing society into categories of those who are our within our group, even if they reside overseas, and of those who are not of our group even if they share land and interests with us.