Interview With Hizbullah Leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrullah
Interview With Hizbullah Leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrullah
Thursday, September 7,2006 00:00
By Assafer

Q: Can we say that the Shiite Hizbullah has come to lead the Arab Sunna in their war with Israel, and how do you evaluate the reaction of the Arab regimes and people to your recent war with Israel?

A: Well, I have lately read and heard about many who said that Hizbullah has become the symbol of an Arab and Islamic leadership, but I think this notion is not accurate. It is naturally that the sacrifices and steadfastness of Hizbullah have earned it credibility within the Arab and Islamic world, especially with Israel which is considered a common enemy to all Arabs and Muslims, but I disagree with those who have inflated opinion about Hizbullah by portraying it as an organization seeking to lead or make changes within the Arab world.  This inflated idea causes a problem to us, since the party has never introduced itself as a leader, either in Lebanon or the Arab world. All that I can say is that the party set an example of resistacne within the Arab world and a lesson which All Arabs and Muslims can benefit from in their unstopping battles with the enemies of the nation, thus spurring them into thinking of and working to liberate their land.

Q: the prestigious status which your party has gained is not out of exaggeration, but rather it is a commonly recognized fact among Arab and Islamic world. A good example of this is that your pictures and banners were hoisted at Al Azhar Mosque in Cairo?

A: I don’t downplay our victory. Rather, I regard it such a historical victory that a Shiite party has gained all this respect and love within the Sunni dominated Arab and Islamic world. However, I acknowledge that response of the Arab and Islamic people was that great especially the political, cultural economic and even artistic elites from all spectrums, with their common issue as being the backing of resistance in Lebanon.

Q: Did this recent Arab and Islamic solidarity with the Shiite resistance help eliminate the long standing Sunni- Shiite sectarian feuds, given that you have worked much for achieving this goal?

A: In spite of the might of the sacrifices offered, the greater win in this war is the rallying of Sunni and Shiite Muslims around a common target fighting a common enemy, something which added more and more protection to the Islamic project.

Q: Can we say that the sectarian sedition in Lebanon and the region has ended?
       
A: Not 100%, but the region has taken great strides on the road to the hoped- for unity, and the fatwas issued in the run up of the war had a good effect on the Arab and Islamic world.

Q: How?

A: It prompted nearly all the devoted Sunni and Shiite scholars and all concerned Islamists in the Arab and Islamic world to take a stance now that they sensed responsibility toward their nation. Foremost among those respected scholars is His Eminence Sheikh Yousuf el Qaradawi who has gained respect and prestigious status in the Arab and Islamic world. I also appreciate the role of Muslim Brotherhood Chairman Mohamed Mahdi Akef whose sentimental sympathy with the resistance earned us the sympathy of the group worldwide. I also appreciate brotherly positions of Syrian Dr. Saed Ramadan el Bouty and Egyptian Dr. Salim el Awa, to name but a few. I was happy to hear from Muslim scholars that the Shiites and Sunnis are Muslim brothers, and to see also the Arab and Islamic sympathy with the resistacne regardless of any religious opinions which differ from a sect to another and even within the same sect. All this has added much to the Arab and Islamic solidarity, making both Shiites and Sunnis sense the same threat coming from the same enemy and, of course, the same battle and fate. So I see this victory as a historical, strategic one. Most important is that we should continue to work to maintain this unity and even invest it in putting out the fires of sectarian sedition in other Islamic areas, foremost among which is the Iraqi one. I would like also to mention a part in the Islamic world which maintained a high level of solidarity and highly appreciated reaction, that is Iran which was kept in low profile in spite of  the popular and official response similar to that of Imam Khomeini’s revolution in its first days, with the street and the media, elite and universities showing heroic backing to the resistacne in Lebanon. There were other Muslim, non Arab countries which adopted a heroic stance in favor of the resistacne, mainly Pakistan, Indonesia and Malaysia. This represents a historical turning point especially that these states were kept for decades away from the Arab Israeli conflict. This war brought the issue into sharp focus in these countries once again, and these regions, people and governments, have come to put this Arab Israeli conflict on their agenda after decades of media blackout.

Q: Can we say that the recent war put an end to Sunni –Shiite sectarian sedition in Lebanon once and for ever?

A: when the clashes between Sunnis and Shiites broke out in Iraq, some feared that these sectarian feuds could spill over into the neighboring countries including Lebanon. For my part, I didn’t feel worried about a likely sectarian sedition in Lebanon nor did I believe that such sedition could happen in Lebanon. And now I am more convinced of the remote likelihood of such sedition, regardless of political tensions and sensitivities. Such talk about likely Sunni- Shiite sedition reminds us of the inflated rumors of sedition between Muslims and Christians; both are inflated rumors to instigate more tension in the region.

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