Iraqi Clerics Challenge Sectarianism

By Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq has a long history of conflict and rapprochement between Sunni and Shiite clerics, which has played a major role in the sectarian conflict or cohesion among the country’s sects. This factor, among with other political and social factors, has defined the historical conflict in Iraq.

The main problem is that Sunni and Shiite clerics are unable to achieve a real rapprochement and establish a network of communication that can be used to reach a solution or alleviate tensions. Instead, they have fueled the conflict in many instances due to the lack of formal communication.

Researchers can find many types of communication in the history of Shiite and Sunni clerics in Iraq. For instance, Shiite clerics have been taught by Sunni teachers and vice versa, and peaceful and calm discussion and dialogue councils have been established. However, friendly relations turned into conflict and enmity as soon as political complications set in between the two sects. What is joined by cultural relations can be separated by political disputes overnight. When political disputes come into play, they spark religious conflicts and make each party evil in the eyes of the other. Mutual accusations fly and all communication is cut off.

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