An Iranian scholar points out that the idea of Iranian revolution is more attractive than Shiism

KUALA LUMPUR: An Iranian scholar dismissed the possibility of Tehran playing a major role in regional and international politics via Shiism as a tool.

By comparison he said that Saudi Arabia was successful in using Wahhabism in spreading their influence.

“The problems in Middle East can be reduced since Iran – Saudi rivalry is also a main source of conflict. Religion is used as a tool in competitive politics,” noted Mahdi Ahouie, an academic from University of Tehran at a forum entitled ‘Religion and Politics: The Changing Landscape of SEA and West Asia – Religious Extremism and Global Terrorism’.

“The Shiahs have always had the minority status. They only make up 10 to 15% in the world and 35% in the Middle East.

“A Shiite empire can never happen. It is unattractive. It can only influence four countries – Baghdad (Iraq), Damascus (Syria), Beirut (Lebanon), Sana’a (Yemen)”.

Mahdi said that what attracted the world to his country was the revolution instead of Shiism.

“The political message of revolution against imperialism and the movement against tyranny is more attractive. Shiism per se is has never been attractive.”

He also told the audience at the two-day conference that even Shia followers in other Middle Eastern nations aren’t interested in propagating Tehran’s messages.

“The Shia community in Lebanon, Bahrain and Yemen don’t want to be puppets of Islam. They want full rights as citizens. If they received their rights, Iran’s messages won’t work,” he said.

By comparison, the scholar said Saudi Arabia spreading Wahabbism created a threat.

“Wahabbism is a state sponsored hate with a systemic global web through hundreds of schools and mosque. It is a dangerous religious sect that seeks to homogenise Sunni Muslims.”