Gulf Shiites Worried They Will Be Blamed For Sectarian Violence in Syria

Rhetoric coming from Sunni clerics has some worried


(Reuters)—Shi'ite Muslims in the Gulf, alarmed by the shrill sectarian rhetoric of some Sunni clerics after Lebanon's Hezbollah militia entered Syria's civil war, fear they will be blamed and may be victimized for the bloodshed.

"Hate language is on the rise, in the press, on social media and even at lectures in mosques. Shi'ites in general are being blamed for what's happening in Syria," said Waleed Sulais, a researcher at the Saudi Adalah Centre for Human Rights.

Emotions over the Syrian conflict have been stoked by gory online videos depicting atrocities in stark language that plays on the Sunni affiliation of most of the rebels and on President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite family, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam.