Mathias Rohe talked with FOCUS-Online about the conflict between Sunnis and Shiites

Symbolic picture for the article. The link opens the image in a large view.
Bild:PantherMedia / Lisa Vanovitch

In an article by  FOCUS-Online from January 7 the legal scholar, and Islamic scientist at the FAU, Mathias Rohe, as well as founding rector of the EZIRE, elaborates on the conflict between Sunnis and Shiites and points out opportunities how to counter this difficulty in Germany.

“On the levels of the believers there are indeed strong resentments, especially from Sunnis against Shiites” and in some countries like Pakistan or Bahrain sometimes brutal encroachments were occurring against Shiites. “The development in the Middle East I find depressing”, Rohe says. Back in the 1960s there had been overtures between the two groups, but today Rohe sees a “huge setback” in comparison to back then: Among the Sunnis there had been deliberations to approve the Shia as the 5th big law school of Islam. Today no one was talking about it anymore. Responsible for the setback was first and foremost the rise of Saudi-Arabia with its extreme anti-Shia state religion, the Wahhabism.

However, regarding the situation of the Shiites and Sunnis living in Germany, Rohe stresses, that the Shiites were willing to approach and adapt to the Sunnis – probably also as an pragmatic answer to the persecution in the past. In sum he was seeing “big chances” for a positive development in Germany. Even if some believers were practicing a “distinct demarcation”, there were here in this country “no significant conflicts between the confessions”.
In order to improve the relation between the two groups in Germany, it could be helpful from Rohe’s point of view to install religious education, which provides knowledge about the particular religious orientations, without preferring one orientation or devaluing others.  “In higher grades one can go a little deeper into the content and examine the confessional differences and comunalities”, Rohe says. “Often one will realize: The others may do some things differently in the service, but one is not that far from each other.”