Saudi Arabia has sentenced to death a Shi’ite Muslim cleric who was at the forefront of the country’s pro-democracy protests in 2011 in a move that will likely rekindle sectarian divide in the Middle East, sending shockwaves through the Shi’ite community.
Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, who was detained in 2012 after backing mass pro-democracy protests in the Qatif district of eastern Saudi Arabia, is a champion for greater rights for Saudi minorities, including the country’s disenfranchised Shi’ite minority. He was shot in the leg four times upon arrest by police, causing several days of protests in the Saudi kingdom in which three unarmed protesters were killed by Saudi forces.
(Photo: A protester holds up a picture of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr during a rally at the coastal town of Qatif, against the cleric’s arrest. Reuters)
And this differs from Islamic State—how? The al-Sauds have held the territory longer—only difference.