Thursday, December 5, 2013

Lebanese Al-Akhbar Newspaper Misrepresents Al Walid Bin Talal’s Views on Shiite –Sunni Relations


Prince Al Walid Bin Talal
 

 
Prince Al Walid Bin Talal is a half Saudi, half Lebanese billionaire. That’s enough for the "leftists"[who knows what it means in today's Lebanon] Lebanese al-Akhbar newspaper to dislike him.

 
They have the right to dislike him.

However, they don’t have the right to misrepresent his views and in doing so add to Sunni-Shia tensions that are already at sky high levels.

 
al-Akhbar accused the prince of speaking in the name of all Sunnis. He never claimed that and he cannot claim it. They claimed that he spoke in the name of the Sunnis advocating cooperating with Israel against Iran and the Shia.

 The prince is a highly successful businessman. He did not become this successful and rich by dwelling on sectarian issues. He merely provided a descriptive picture of the unfortunate reality in the Muslim world. Anyone who peruses Gallup survey numbers and PEW numbers knows that what the prince said is what survey data have provided ample evidence of. We know, for example, that Hizbullah is very unpopular in Sunni Majority countries. In Lebanon  while the overwhelming majority of Shia support Hizbullah, an even bigger majority of Sunnis oppose Hizbullah. The prince did not create this reality and did not contribute to it in any shape or form. Sunnis blame the policies of Hizbullah and Iran for this reality.
Newspaper commentaries in many parts of the Arab and Muslim world also reflect these sentiments. These sentiments are explained by Sunni observers and others as largely due to the role that Iran and its allies are playing in Iraq and in Syria. These sentiments are  not grounded in theological doctrine and historical and serious still -relevant disagreements. The numbers are not cast in stone. The survey data before the Iraq and Syria conflicts showed that Iran and Hizbullah were quite popular with Sunnis.

What changed?

By misrepresenting the views of the prince the paper did not just harm the reputation of the prince. They also added fuel to the fire of sectarian tensions.

     This is the link to the report:
 

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