Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sheikh Mohammed Al Arefe: For the Sake of the Syrian People…Or for the Demise of Shiites?

The Saudi Arabian Sheikh Mohammed Al Arefe, often known to many in the West as the Sheikh who teaches Muslim men how to “properly beat their Wives” (, and to many Bahrainis and Saudis of the Eastern province as the Shia hater ( now has a new identity among many Muslims, as the defender of the Syrian people.

The Sheikh gave a rather moving speech ( after his visits to the Syrian border to work with refugees. In the speech he called on the wealthy to put their money towards the Syrian people, called on Syrians to rebel against Bashar Al Assad, called on the Army to leave the regimes side and not to shed innocent blood, called on the men present in the Saudi Arabian mosque to join the Free Syrian Army, and called on Muslims to join and support the Syrian Believers in their Jihad against Assad, whom he loudly added “gets his support from the Persians, the Shia, the Villians and Hezbollah”
Al Arefe was never much of a supporter of the people of the Arab Spring, keeping much in line with the Saudi governments political positions. He kept mostly quiet during the Tunisian, Egyptian, Yemeni and Libyan uprisings, and was clearly quick to denounce the Bahrain uprising (Bahrain having a Shia majority with a Sunni regime). Yet the Sheikh seemed to suddenly develop a “revolutionary” spirit in light of the Syrian situation. All the while, people in his own country, in the Eastern province of Qatif were being shot down by Saudi forces. The major question is how could a man with such a hateful discourse towards the oppressed Shia minority in his own nation, suddenly turn into a humanitarian?
Al Arefe assisted in raising a large sum of money for the Syrian people, estimated at around 66 million dollars. The Sheikh faced some problems, as Saudi regulations require a license for such types of donations.  When Al Arefe was brought in for questioning in Riyadh, it is said he was called a “Kharajite”, a term in today’s context meaning one who rebels against the rulers. In response to this remark the Sheikh responded (In his own explanation):
“Rafidites (a vulgar term used to refer to Shiites) send Khoms – millions of their assets into Qum (The Shia Religious center of Iran) and Najaf (Shia Religious Center of Iraq) to support Bashar and their training forces that are sent to them. And when we raise money we are called Kharajites?”
Later he explains:
“I told the investigator: if we do not support the Mujahideen in Syria so they can win…Bashar and Iranian Rafidites will attack us, and right now they are looking for your baby’s head, to tear it away.”
Al Arefe reveals his own intentions and worry through his own account of his interaction with the interrogator. His major fear and goal in Syria seems not to be that innocent Syrian lives are being slaughtered and killed by the thousands, but he fears that Shia and Iran will attack in some way, and sees this as the perfect opportunity to fight the Shia of whom he so scornfully despises; a face much more fitting of the man with the hateful discourse, than that of the humanitarian.
Take his money Syria, and do all you can to help your people. But dear people, don't be fooled once again by a little Saudi money, into praising this man and claiming he is a humanitarian.

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