Outrage erupted in Yemen and more specifically in the Sunni community when a video posted online showed the body of a Salafi being dragged throughout the northern city of Sa’ada by al-Houthi militants, whose Quran, which dropped from the deceased pocket was seen being trampled over.
Al-Houthi militants, a group of Shia Muslim which advocates a return to the ancestral rule of the Imams have been enthralled in a war with Salafists, a group of hard-liner Sunni Muslims calling for a strict application of the Scriptures; both factions seeking to control Yemen northern territories.
Al-Houthis which famously fought the government back in 2004-2009 in a lengthy and bloody war, used last year’s unrest to awaken its army, finding in Teheran an enthusiastic ally against the Saudis, and hence Sunni hegemony in the Peninsula.
With sectarian sentiment slowly taking over what started off as territorial ambitions, Ahmed al-Sofi a political analyst based in Sana’a, the Yemeni capital warned that such an event and a clear attack against the Sunni faith could potentially sets the region ablaze. “Yemenis do not take lightly to religiously driven insult, especially when it comes to its most sacred and revered book, the Quran. Unless some apologies are formulated, Salafists will retaliate in the most violent manner possible as it constitutes for them a clear call for Jihad [holy war].”
A man in Sana’a who saw the video online told the Yemen Observer that he felt utterly disgusted with al-Houthis, stressing further that the move was a declaration of war against every respectful Muslim. “The Quran is our heart and soul, walking on it equates to insulting our beloved Prophet, his teachings and God himself. Surely our clerics will issue a fatwa condemning the culprits. Those men should be tried for apostasy,” said Abdullah Goorgoor.