Shia as Internal Others: A Salafi Rejection of the ‘Rejecters’ – Susanne Olsson

Conflict and polemic between Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims (or Shiites) have a long history. In the contemporary era, this polemic has been accentuated by the conflictual situation in the Middle East, and it is also colouring the minority Muslim situation. This article is concerned with Islamic interpretations related to ‘othering’, taking as its main focus an analysis of publications on a Swedish Sunni website, ‘Maktabah Dâr-ul-Hadîth’, which has clear Salafi leanings. Reports show that Shiites currently feel threatened by Salafis in minority contexts and the material cited in this article ‘others’ Shiite Islam and Shiites (amongst others), creating a stereotypical image that may have the potential to influence sectarian violence in real life. Several of the texts on the website deal with theological issues concerning the alleged false beliefs of Shiites. However, the article does not focus on theological creed but rather on manhaj, the programme for action, that is, the behaviour towards Shiites (describing them as Rafidi or Rejecters) that is recommended in various situations, such as at work, in greeting Shiites or being invited to a Shiite wedding, thus affecting everyday situations. The analysis looks into what kind of ‘othering’ is promoted and what effect this othering might have if put into practice.

Citation: Olsson, S. (2017). Shia as internal others: A Salafi rejection of the ‘rejecters’. Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations28(4), 409-430.