A few Shiite countries in the Middle East are throwing support for Anwar Ibrahim and his Pakatan Rakyat. Despite DAP being the only non-Islamic party in the political pact, the support intensifies on the promise by a few PAS clerics that the Shiite will get more access and freedom should PR wins the next general election.
The Gulf diplomats whom I had supper with last night also drew attention to the possibility of a 'bloody uprising' similar to that of Libya, Egypt and Syria should the Shiite followers are given more space in the Federal administration.
They did mention three Shiite countries already having strong contact with Anwar and pledging full support for his quest to conquer Putrajaya in the next national poll.
I will not mention the countries but Anwar, Nik Aziz, Hadi Awang, Mat Sabu and the rest know better.
No surprise if Lim Kit Siang, Karpal and Guan Eng are also aware of such a support and would welcome it as long as their common objective is attained. Any differences - should PR makes it to Putrajaya - can be resolved latter.
An estimated 120 million Shiites live in pockets scattered across the globe. But the bulk of them reside in the Middle East.
Shiites make up strong majorities in Iran (90 per cent), Bahrain (75 per cent), and Iraq (close to 60 per cent); Lebanon, too, is primarily Shiite. Small but potentially powerful Shiite are found throughout the Gulf States, as well as in Pakistan (17 per cent), Saudi Arabia (15 per cent), and India (around 2 per cent).
Many of the Persian-Gulf-based Shiites, particularly those in eastern Saudi Arabia and southern Iraq, inhabit lands rich in oil, which has created tension between the Shiites and their Sunni neighbors.
So, I leave it to readers to 'make a pick' from the list of Shiite nations that support Anwar. However, one country mentioned by the diplomats are not in the list above. Any wild guess? The clue is an oil-rich kingdom.
About 90 per cent of Malaysian Muslims recognise 'Sunnah wal-Jamaah' as the direction of their faith. The Sunni too forms the majority of Muslims around the world.
The Shiite is not a monolithic group. Most of its followers in the Middle East and southern Asia are so-called 'twelvers', who believe the twelfth imam, or descendant of Mohammed's son-in-law and cousin, Ali, is the only rightful ruler of the Muslim faithful (Shiism means 'partisans of Ali'); Shiite clerics derive their authority as deputies in his absence.
The second largest sect of Shiism is Ismailis, also known as 'seveners'; they believe Ismail, the eldest son of the sixth imam, Jafar al-Sadiq (twelvers accept his youngest son Musa al-Kazim), is the infallible interpreter of Islam.
Just like Catholic, Protestant, Anglican and other sects within Christianity, Shiite Muslims are often linked to extremism and are against the role of religion in political life.
So, I don't think Anwar's choice of getting their support is right in the context of multi-racial and multi-religious Malaysia. However, we can understand why the support is coming from such countries - the places he frequently visits.
I have travelled to all these countries, including Sudan, Algeria and Nigers and observed how the Shiites cuddled themselves together and treating others like 'aliens'. Their askance towards others indicates how fanatic they are of their sect.
In Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Lebanon and other Muslim countries, the confrontation between Shiite and Sunni are always about domination and power; and that explains the deadly bomb attacks which claims thousands of life in Iraq, Pakistan, Syria and Lebanon.
We can't afford such a confrontation here, in Malaysia. We have millions of non-Muslims in the country, and any feud among the Muslims will also affect them directly.
So, are we allowing them to dictate the administration?