Posted by Joshua on Wednesday, January 31st, 2007
Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbullah's leader, responds to claims that Shiites are converting Sunnis to Shia Islam in his speech the day before Ashura, broadcast by al-Manar. Here is an extract from the translation provided by Mideastwire.com, January 31, 2007. (He claims it is cheaper for Shiites to make babies than convert Sunnis.)
Extracts of Nasrallah Speech:
"For example, it is said that Iran or the Shi'i Islamic movements throughout the Arab and Islamic world have a plan to turn Sunnis into Shi'is. It is also said that there are plans, studies centres, programmes, and huge sums of money geared towards this end. When you say this to any Sunni leader, Sunni scholar, Sunni movement, or young Sunni man, they will mobilize themselves against it. This is their natural right. This issue is now presented strongly and some news media are working on it. Some Arab leaders and senior men of religion spoke about this issue. Depicting this as a basic and major issue on which others are working will lead the nation to sedition whose end will not be known.
"Let us both Shi'is and Sunnis first make sure of this, cooperate, and investigate this together to know if there is really such a thing and if it exists. Let us find out if it really exists or if it is fabricated, drafted, written, organized, and presented by someone as top secret information to some leaders, men of religion, or quarters. Let us scrutinize things and make sure of this first to know if it exists or not.
"Within this context, something similar took place in Lebanon. This is why we sometimes talk about some political leaders. I know by name some Lebanese political leaders, who went to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Qatar, and other countries and told the leaders of these countries that Hezbollah, supported b y Iran, spends huge sums of money to turn Sunnis in Lebanon into Shi'is. We are talking about Lebanon. If we want to talk about Mauritania, neither I nor you will know what to say. Let us talk about the country in which we are living and the accusation levelled at us. Some of these leaders believed what they were told. Lebanon is an open country in which there are no secrets. Even when a security problem occurs, things will immediately be known. Take for example Thursday's incidents. New video tapes and new information continue to be daily received about what happened on that day. Nothing remains secret; everything becomes known.
"Hezbollah has been in Lebanon since 1982. We are now in 2007. The Lebanese – Muslims, Christians, Shi'is, Sunnis, and Druze – are living together. Tell me where this huge Hezbollah-financed and led campaign to convert Sunnis into Shi'is in Lebanon is. Although tonight is a night of grief and consolation, allow me to lighten the atmosphere a bit for you because the worst of calamities forces laughter as the popular saying goes. I said this to those who came to see me about this issue. I told them if Hezbollah wants to convert some Sunni youths in Lebanon into Shi'is, what will it do? You say it will spend huge sums of money rather than use ideology, conviction, evidence, and so forth although we do not use even these for this purpose. This is not our cause. It is well known since 1982 that this has not been our cause. It is not our policy to turn Sunnis into Shi'is or prevent the Shi'is from becoming Sunnis. Some Shi'is in Lebanon converted to Shiism but none raised clamour o ver the issue. They talk about funds spent. What will the purpose of turning 50, 100, or 200 young Sunnis into Shi'is be? Is it increasing the number of Shi'is by 200? First of all, this will cost us huge sums of money. Second, it will cause us a problem whose end will not be known. I told them this does not require us to do much. We in Hezbollah can issue a circular saying we this year want you to produce more. The number of Shi'is will then increase by 50,000 people in only one year. We will thus do it for free. Well, you continue to produce without needing such a recommendation, praise be to God.
"What they say is silly and is aimed at incitement. True, a very small number of Sunni youths in Lebanon might have been influenced by the general atmosphere and converted to Shiism. Likewise, and for the same reasons, some Shi'is might have turned into Sunnis. Let us count their number in Lebanon and see if there is a phenomenon to convert to Shiism or Sunnism. There is nothing of the sort. We are living together in the country. We are living in mixed neighbourhoods and areas and this cannot be concealed. Brothers and sisters – and I am speaking not only to you but to all those who hear me through the news media – this is meant to tell people: Where is your fervour for your religion; the Shi'is are spreading Shiism and are trying to turn Sunnis into Shi'is.
"I know that whole Shi'i families in Khuzestan in the Islamic Republic of Iran became Sunnis and even Wahhabis. Has anyone raised clamour over this issue and said there is an ideological invasion in Khuzestan? Nobody said anything. Limited things can eventually take place because the world is open to all. There are satellite channels, books, and the Internet. None can any longer prevent anyone else from hearing the opinion or knowing the doctrine and culture of others. People are eventually influenced by one another. But it is not true that someone has a plan and is boldly trying to implement it. Frankly speaking, the aim of saying such things is fomenting sedition.
"Therefore, I will not conceal the fact that two or three months ago I personally asked his excellency the Saudi ambassador to Lebanon to send to Lebanon a special investigation committee from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to investigate the truth about what is said. I renew this call. This is why you hear me these days speak much about an investigation com mi ttee. The reason is to know the truth. Why should we take positions, raise clamour, take sides, or form camps on the basis of illusions and false threats that do not exist? Why should we do so and at the same time ignore or neglect the true threats posed to us in Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, and the whole region? Why should we ignore the real threats and create imaginary threats and thus wage battles accordingly? This is very dangerous.
"With regard to the same file, I heard that some Arab leaders, some Arab news media, and some men of religion gave astronomical figures. In life there are things that can be believed and others that cannot be believed. Some key figures in Lebanon – and they know themselves – said in private meetings that 7 million Sunnis in Syria converted to Shiism. What sort of talk is this? Yes, and they build on this assumption, which leads to other consequences. They say a battle should be waged against converting people to Shiism, but none has plans to spread Shiism. Tonight is a night of truth and defence of the oppressed.
"I testify that the Islamic Republic of Iran and His Eminence Al-Sayyid Khemene'i, its leader and our leader and imam, may God protect him and prolong his life, has absolutely no such plans. If you go to Iran and find a man of religion, a cultural centre, or an Internet site working on this issue, you will find that all others have such a thing. But his eminence the leader, as well as the Islamic Republic and the Islamic revolution in Iran, have absolutely nothing to do with this. Such accusations are not fair. I say this because I know and we here have had a very close friendship with the brothers in Iran since 1982 and since the time of Imam Khomeyni, may God bless his soul, up to the time of His Eminence the leader, may God prolong his life. We know that this is not true and that this is not their policy, plan, or idea. But if there are cases of conversion from Sunnism to Shiism in this or that country, we will have to find out the truth and know who converted them before we draw conclusions and say this is done by a big and strong country called Iran or by movements like Hezbollah.
"Moreover, I discussed this issue with some leaders and told them that some said some converted because of Hezbollah's victory in Lebanon. What is my fault here? What is Hezbollah's fault if its victory made some people convert to Shiism? In the past and as a result of the performance of jihadist Sunni movements, Shi'is became Sunnis. Do we have to be defeated in order not to be held responsible?