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The Riyadh Summit and the Need for Tolerance - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The people of the Middle East had been through many destructive crises and wars; from the Arab-Israeli wars, to fighting between neighboring countries and terrorism which has resulted in the deaths of many innocent lives amongst many other endless crises.

The region had been through all this and people have paid a heavy price for the absence of stability, while they lived in poverty and unemployment while military budgets swelled, leaving our youth feeling hopeless about the possibility of a secure and stable future.

Is there anything more perilous than the crises that the region had been through?

We collectively say yes in a loud voice. The most dangerous thing this region could face in the foreseeable future is a sectarian war. This kind of war is a form of mass suicide from which no one escapes and no one triumphs.

If it is easy to start a sectarian war, it is difficult and sometimes even impossible to stop one. The sons of the one homeland and their neighboring cousins will find themselves face to face in a destructive war that leaves nothing behind.

We saw this during the Lebanese civil war, especially its sectarian aspect, and are we suffering from it today in Iraq, from killings on the basis of identity to attacks on religious sites and to booby-trapped vehicles that kill the innocent in streets and markets.

Hence the Saudi-Iranian summit comes as a ray of hope in a new language that is above all the sectarian ideas, which if successful, would leave nothing behind. All are required to believe and practice the notion that there is a red line that is impermissible to cross, the line of sectarian incitement, financing, and armament and the practice of the suicide language of sectarianism that does not serve anyone.

Iran is required, more than others, to exercise restraint in the sectarian approach. We are not talking about the Iranian Government alone since there are sectarian ideas that are fed by parties and religious authorities in Iran and are moved across borders to several countries, particularly in the Arab world, Pakistan, and the Central Asian republics. Iran the state would be making a mistake, as will some religious authorities, if it thought there was a possibility of success for an organization or group motivated by sectarian tendencies. We do not even exaggerate when we say that such moves would rebound against them and their fire would burn everyone.

The language that emerged from the Saudi-Iranian summit is the one that should prevail, the language of tolerance and belief there is one God, one Prophet, and one Qublah and that all other details can be digested and lived with.

We reiterate that sectarianism is suicide. It is the failed war, collective death, and the disease that cannot be treated.