Holy War: Shiites Riot Over Saudi Execution of Prominent Cleric


On Saturday, Saudi Arabia carried out the execution of Sheikh Nimr, a prominent Shiite cleric, along with 46 other individuals, many of whom faced suspect charges, causing a sectarian divide among the two major sects of Islam.

Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr had in the past attempted to lead uprisings against the Saudi dynasty, authorities alleged. He was arrested on several occasions over the past decade before Saudi authorities ultimately decided to execute him on Saturday.

In Iran, a Shiite-ruled theocratic state, rioters responded by firebombing the Saudi consulate, breaking into the facility, and taking down its flag. 

Photos and video have surfaced on social media showcasing the chaotic scene, with a state-controlled journalist posting pictures on Twitter, which is banned in Iran.

Iranian dictator Ali Khamenei tweeted a tribute to the Shiite cleric who was executed. “Awakening is not suppressible,” he wrote.

Additionally, Khamenei’s website published a graphic that compares Saudi Arabia to the Islamic State terror group.

Hossein Jaber Ansari, an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, threatened that Saudi Arabia would pay a “high price” for executing the Shiite cleric.

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry responded to Iran’s claims, saying that Tehran had no moral authority to claim Riyadh is a human rights violator.

“The Iranian regime is the last regime in the world that could accuse others of supporting terrorism, considering that (Iran) is a state that sponsors terror, and is condemned by the United Nations and many countries,” said a Saudi foreign ministry spokesman in a statement.”Iran’s regime has no shame as it rants on human rights matters, even after it executed hundreds of Iranians last year without a clear legal basis,”

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi also spoke out against the execution, writing on Twitter:

The leader of a prominent Shiite militia in Iraq, Qassim al-Araji, said of the execution: “It’s a big crime that has opened the gates of hell.”

Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based terrorist group that swears allegiance to Iran, called Nimr’s execution an “assassination” and blamed it on the United States.

“We hold the US and its allies…responsible for covering up the kingdom’s crimes against it[s] people and those of the region,” read a statement from Hezbollah.

The 47 individuals executed by the Saudis had subscribed to a “takfiri” ideology and joined “terrorist organizations,” the Saudi Foreign Ministry claimed.

The US State Department has called for the Saudi government “to permit peaceful expression of dissent and to work together with all community leaders to defuse tensions in the wake of these executions.”

“We are particularly concerned that the execution of prominent Shia cleric and political activist Nimr al-Nimr risks exacerbating sectarian tensions at a time when they urgently need to be reduced,” read a statement from the State Department.


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