The Denver Post : 2019-02-11
NATION & WORLD : 12 : 12A
NATION & WORLD
NEWS 12A» 6 B B MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2019 DENVERPOST.COM THE DENVER POST NATION & WORLD Revolution bridged sectarian rift before deepening it in Iran — The Washington Post BBB Hezbollah fighters stand atop a truck mounted with mock rockets as supporters chant slogans during a rally to mark the 13th day of the Shiite mourning period of Muharram, in Nabatiyeh, Lebanon, on Oct. 27, 2015. — The Associated Press Mohammed Zaatari, Associated Press file By Jon Gambrell of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, made a point to keep Shiite ideas out of speeches.
“The Iranian revolution in the beginning was portraying itself as the start of a pan-Islamic revolution,” said Toby Matthiesen, a senior researcher at St. Anthony’s College at the University of Oxford who is writing a book on Sunni-Shiite relations. “It was even seen like that by a lot of the Sunni Islamic movements.”
Khomeini also made a point to embrace the Palestinians in their fight against Israel. Yasser Arafat, the leader of the overwhelmingly Sunni Palestinians, returned the favor by becoming the first leader to visit Khomeini.
“The Iranian revolution gave us a strong belief that the tyrants can be brought down,” said Ahmed Yousef, one of the founders of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic political party and armed wing that has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007 with Iran’s backing. “Following that big victory, the Islamic Jihad was established here in Palestine and few years later Hamas was founded too.”
The pan-Islamic Iranian inspiration perhaps reached its height on Oct. 6, 1981, as Islambouli and his co-conspirators rushed out of a truck at a Cairo military parade and assassinated Sadat, who had made history by signing the first Arab peace deal with Israel. At trial, Islambouli famously clutched a Quran and shouted: “It was I who killed the Pharaoh!” Iran venerated Islambouli, naming a street in Tehran after him and issuing a postage stamp in his honor. The Associated Press BBB DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES» THIS DAY IN HISTORY Inspired in part by Iran’s Islamic Revolution, a young Egyptian army lieutenant emptied his machine gun into President Anwar Sadat in 1981, killing a leader who made peace with Israel and offered the shah a refuge after his overthrow. Today is Monday, Feb. 11, the 42nd day of 2019. There are 323 days left in the year. IN THE NATION 1937: A six-week-old sit-down strike against General Motors ended, with the company agreeing to recognize the United Automobile Workers Union.
Pop singer Whitney Houston, 48, was found dead in a hotel room bathtub in Beverly Hills, Calif. The assassination carried out by Khalid al-Islambouli and others from a Sunni Islamic extremist group showed the power of Iran’s Shiite-led revolution across the religious divides of the Muslim world.
Islamists initially saw Iran’s revolution as the start of an effort to push out the strongman Arab nationalism that had taken hold across the Middle East.
But those divisions now feel inflamed by the sectarian bloodshed that followed the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, Syria’s long civil war and the regional rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
It may seem as though the Middle East has always been divided between Sunni Islam, which represents about 85 percent of the world’s more than 1.8 billion Muslims, and Shiite Islam.
But that divide, stemming from a disagreement centuries ago over who should succeed the Prophet Muhammad, owes much to the political rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran after 1979.
Long before the Islamic Revolution, Isla- mists had wanted to wed governments to their faith. One of the most prominent was the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni group founded in 1928 in Egypt that spread across the Arab world. Another was the Iranian Shiite Islamist group “Devotees of Islam,” who assassinated pro-Western Prime Minister Ali Razmara in 1951.
The aftermath of World War II instead saw the rise of pan-Arab nationalists, chief among them Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser. Military strongmen took power, pushing for rapid modernization that shunted religion aside.
The nationalists “see themselves often as critical of religion because religion is ‘backward.’ It’s what’s been holding the Arab world back,” said Daniel Byman, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a professor at Georgetown University. “That’s kind of the dominant divide, and Islamists of all stripes are pushing back against this.”
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who returned to Iran from exile after the departure 2012: IN THE WORLD 1945: President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin signed the Yalta Agreement, in which Stalin agreed to declare war against Imperial Japan following Nazi Germany’s capitulation.
South African black activist Nelson Mandela was freed after 27 years in captivity. 1990: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU Actor Conrad Janis is 91. Fashion designer Mary Quant is 85. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is 66. Singer Sheryl Crow is 57. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is 55. Actress Jennifer Aniston is 50. Singer-actress Brandy is 40. Singer Aubrey O'Day is 35. Actor Taylor Lautner is 27. — The Associated Press
© PressReader. All rights reserved.