Saudi execution of Shia cleric sparks outrage in Middle East

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Saudi execution of Shia cleric sparks outrage in Middle East NewsLineToday    Gallery Enlarge Image Play Video

Manju Shukla
Date  02/01/2016

The Iranian government and religious leaders across the Middle East have condemned Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shia cleric and warned of repercussions that could bring down the country’s royal family.
In a serious escalation of religious and diplomatic tensions in the region, councils and clerics in Iran, Yemen  said the killing of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr would prompt widespread anger.
Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Hossein Jaber Ansari, accused Riyadh of hypocrisy. “The Saudi government supports terrorists and takfiri [radical Sunni] extremists, while executing and suppressing critics inside the country,” he told the Iranian state news agency.
In Bahrain, police fired teargas at several dozen people protesting against the cleric’s execution, a witness said. Demonstrators carrying pictures of Nimr faced security forces in a standoff in Abu-Saiba, a Shia village west of the capital, Manama.
Activists have called for protests in the Sunni-ruled kingdom, a sign that Nimr’s death may further inflame sectarian tensions in the Middle East.
The execution was described as a “grave mistake” by the Supreme Islamic Shia Council in Lebanon and a “flagrant violation of human rights” by Yemen’s Houthi movement.
Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, a leading Iranian cleric, said repercussions would bring down the Saudi ruling family.

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