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Zar Rituals, Incantation and Psychologists! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Sectarian unrest has been unleashed; Arab countries have become captive to their fear of it and discussions about it. People still say that these things are only natural and that there is no need to worry and that what is happening is nothing but exaggeration at the hands of “foreign intelligence apparatus and their spies.” But what is happening in Lebanon, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen, Egypt, Kuwait and Bahrain is the awakening from a deep sleep.

It is not exactly clear at which point terms such as “national unity,” “sectarian unrest,” and “sectarian conflict,” entered the Arabic political dictionary but in one way or another they have come to form a reality.

There are those who want to deal in this “lunacy” through the popular Zar ritual [during which jinns are invoked to cure illnesses], which is replete with deception, but for some it is part of the solution! There are others who use legalized spells and focus on one aspect of the solution completely disregarding other important and serious elements and of course there is the “belief” that lunacy is a kind of psychological illness, serious depression or severe schizophrenia.

In a harsh and trapped environment and with an increasing number of masses that claim that they have “exclusive dealership” to God and to religion and that they alone will be saved and that they alone are in possession of the truth and all those who oppose them are objects of God’s anger and are on the road to the deepest hell…with all of that, the idea is that a religious scene alone will not be able to bring about the required social equality that created states, continents and nations whose tensions were defeated only by social justice supported by an effective judiciary.

Perhaps foreign parties and intelligence bodies add to sectarian conflict but we cannot ignore that there are laws and legislations, traditions and practices that endorse, in an explicit and important manner, and have contributed in an even clearer and more dangerous manner, to causing major divisions in the single entity of society over many years and these practices were accepted on the basis that it was normal and irreproachable until the accumulative legacy of these practices formed a concern and a challenge that could not be ignored. In fact it transformed into a danger equal to terrorism, unemployment, inflation, Zionism, imperialism and other woes and ills by which the region has been afflicted.

The Arab region is still inhabited by demons of sedition and sectarianism and with the passing of time it has transformed to resemble the one who practices black magic and has begun to defend this witchcraft and shameful activity and explains that it is beneficial, invigorating and completely harmless.

Who knows how many souls must pass on and how many innocent people are behind bars and how many of the oppressed are denied a real opportunity to live a dignified life and to have the equal right to many opportunities in life from work, education, marriage, training etc.

A complex problem such as that of social disintegration, especially along ethnic, religious or sectarian lines has become deep rooted and part of the foundation of the social structure in the Arab world. If it is not met by a serious “legal” confrontation then let us predict that the Arab states will only face more problems and more disintegration.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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