Sunday, February 13, 2011
Lebanon's Hizbullah Heralds Mubarak's Ouster in Egypt, Ties Events to "Immortal Revolution" of Third Shi'i Imam Husayn bin 'Ali
The Lebanese Twelver Shi'i political party Hizbullah (Hezbollah, Hizballah) issued a statement on Friday (Feb. 11) praising the ouster of Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak after more than two weeks of mass popular demonstrations. The party links the events to the "immortal revolution" set in motion by Husayn bin 'Ali, the third Shi'i Imam and most heralded martyr, who was killed in 680 C.E. with many of his male followers after leading a failed revolt against the Umayyad caliph Yazid I. Earlier this month the party had publicly backed demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt, saying that they were part of an "Islamic wave" sweeping the region. Hizbullah's chief state patron, Iran, made similar claims. Iran's supreme leader, who is not elected by the general population, al-Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei, claimed last week that events in Tunisia and Egypt were inspired by the Islamization of Iran's 1978-1979 revolution.
In response, the avowedly secular and atheistic Prof. As'ad "Angry Arab" AbuKhalil wrote on his blog: "Hizbullah issued a statement in support of the Egyptian uprising and the fall of Mubarak. But who wrote that statement? Why did they have to invoke Al-Husayn and his revolt? Could they not keep their sectarian or religious agenda out of this SECULAR occasion?"
From a Shi'i perspective, a general connection can be made to the idea of revolting against an autocratic ruler.