Gulf show of unity after Kuwait attack

Friday 10/07/2015
Joint Friday prayers in Kuwait

LONDON - Reeling from the tragic bomb­ing that killed 27 and wounded 227 Shia worshi­pers, Shia and Sunni Kuwaitis conducted joint Friday prayers in a unified stand aimed at rejecting sectarian violence and ter­rorism.

The prayers in Kuwait were led by Sheikh Waleed al-Ali, a Sunni, who gave a sermon calling for national unity and the rejection of extrem­ism in religion. “Extremism has led to this bloodshed,” Ali said, as Sunni and Shia worshippers stood beside each other, each praying according to their own tradition.

“Our message today is that Ku­wait is united and nothing will ever succeed to divide us,” Abdullah Nuri, a Shia engineer, told Agence France-Presse. “The highly positive reactions by our Sunni brothers af­ter the blast made us very satisfied.”

“This is proof that Sunnis and Shi­as are the same and that they (ter­rorists) will not succeed in dividing this country,” Kuwaiti Shia cleric Abdullah al-Nejada said.

Less than 24 hours after the June 26th attack, billboards sprang up across Kuwait showing an image of a hand wrapped inside the Kuwait flag with the slogan “we stand as one” displayed beneath it.

Kuwaiti celebrities appeared in television announcements speak­ing about unity, while four of the country’s best-known singers re­corded and released a song within hours of the blast praising Kuwait’s history of coexistence. On July 3rd, a week after the attack at the Al Imam Al Sadeq mosque, Sunni and Shia Muslims prayed together in a show of unity.

The show of solidarity was also on display in Bahrain, where joint Sunni-Shia prayers were also held in Manama’s Grand Mosque on July 3rd.

“Bahrainis have today set a mod­el of unity in the face of conspira­tors against the Arab and Islamic nations,” Justice and Islamic Affairs Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ali al- Khalifa said in a statement. He said that all mosques are for Allah Almighty, adding, “the extremist, wherever he is in Bahrain, will al­ways find himself isolated.”

Twitter has become a battle­ground in the fight against the Is­lamic State (ISIS), with the hashtag “Before You Blow Yourself Up” go­ing viral in the Gulf region. Gulf-based Twitter users tweeted out Islamic texts condemning the ter­rorist attacks and forbidding the killing of the innocent. However, ISIS supporters hijacked the “Before You Blow Yourself Up” hashtag with tweets justifying suicide bombings. In another show of solidarity, GCC interior ministers vowed to take a united stand against ISIS.

In an emergency meeting in Ku­wait on the same day of the unity prayers, the ministers “underscored the importance of coordination and cooperation in all measures and steps in confronting this seri­ous epidemic … which is a threat to the security and stability of the GCC states”, said a statement issued af­ter the meeting.

Officials also expressed sympa­thy with Kuwait, which suffered the worst terrorist attack in its history.