Following is an interview with Lebanese Shiite scholar Muhammad Ali Al-Husseini, which aired on TeleLiban TV on August 18, 2007:
Muhammad Ali Al-Husseini: Everybody – near and far, friend and foe – realizes that the role of the Saudi kingdom – the kingdom of Arabism, of Islam, and of humanism... The role that this kingdom fulfilled and still fulfills in Lebanon and in the Arab world is one of reconciliation and unification. It tries to extinguish civil strife and bring brothers together. This role began with Palestine, when Saudi King Abdullah bin Abd Al-Aziz took pains to convene brother Mahmoud Abbas and the brothers from Hamas, Khaled Mash'al and others. The agreement was reached on the purest and best land, in Holy Mecca, under the assumption that this was a brotherly agreement, but along came those who wanted to tarnish its purity. The Syrian regime...
Never have we seen the Syrian regime intervening in anything without ruining it. Never have we seen the Syrian regime entering any region without destroying it.
We should always differentiate between the Iranian people and regime.
Interviewer: But it is the people that brought that regime to power.
Muhammad Ali Al-Husseini: That isn't true. As the saying goes, the powers of nature are not subject to the will of man.
Interviewer: We saw them elect Khatami for two terms, and now they've elected...
Muhammad Ali Al-Husseini: We saw in Syria how the one and only candidate, Bashar Al-Assad, was elected. We know how the Syrian intelligence agencies... Who can possibly vote "no" or refrain from voting?
The Iranian policy towards us Arabs is wrong.
Interviewer: Are they condescending towards the Arabs?
Muhammad Ali Al-Husseini: No, the Iranian regime has [territorial] designs with regard to the Arab countries. It began with what happened in east Saudi Arabia, and continued with the occupation of the three UAE islands by the Iranian regime. Today, it is evident in the plan of the Iranian regime in Iraq. The Iranian regime has a significant role in Iraq.
The option of Nabih Beri, Imam Qabalan, Imam Shams Al-Din, Imam Musa Al-Sadr, and the rest of the Shiite scholars is the Lebanese option. This is the sovereign, free, and independent option.
Hizbullah has destroyed the composition of the country in which we believed.
Interviewer: You are referring to Lebanon?
Muhammad Ali Al-Husseini: Yes. Hizbullah chose a different option than that of Imam Al-Sadr. It chose a different direction, which we do not want. We want to continue the process and follow the path and beliefs of Musa Al-Sadr, who went to churches to give lectures, who went to Sunni mosques, and who sat down with everybody - with the Armenians, the Christians, with all the different groups. That is what integration is about. The brothers in Hizbullah, on the other hand, have destroyed the path of Musa Al-Sadr and everything we believe in. The first issue is loyalty. We Lebanese – Shiites, Sunnis, Druze, and Christians – are loyal to Lebanon alone, as we have proven. Hizbullah has shifted its loyalty elsewhere, to another country.
Interviewer: In your opinion, the fact that it is defending the South...
Muhammad Ali Al-Husseini: That is not the issue. Resistance is a natural, religious, national, and moral right and duty, which is disputed by nobody. But what we are talking about is the choice of loyalty. Hizbullah chose to be loyal to the regime in Iran, to the rule of the Jurisprudent, Hizbullah made a religious choice – and it is free to make such a choice... It chose to consider Ali Khamenei in Iran as their source of emulation. They turn to him to ask what is permitted and what is forbidden. This constitutes absolute religious loyalty.
How is it that the Shiites in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, and in all the countries of the world enjoy prosperity and a high standard of living, and participate in political life, without suffering from any problem or persecution, and without turning against their countries, except for you, Hizbullah in Lebanon?
Interviewer: But we border with the Israeli army. Obviously, Egypt and Jordan also have fronts, but these are calm ones...
Muhammad Ali Al-Husseini: Egypt and Jordan border with Israel, and so does Syria. Syria's allies should know that Syria's front is more [significant] than ours, because there is no dispute that its land is occupied. How come only the Shiites of Lebanon... Don't we deserve to have a respite?
Interviewer: How come 100, 200, 300, or 1,000,000 Shiites support Hizbullah?
Muhammad Ali Al-Husseini: Brother, we need to draw a distinction here, because those who march under the banner of Hizbullah have all kinds of convictions. Some of them believed Hizbullah when it said to them: "The Shi'a is me." It managed to drape itself in the gown of Shiite belief, by saying: "I am Shiite. Whoever supports me is a Shiite and whoever does not – is not a Shiite." By means of religious terrorism, Hizbullah has made the title of "Shiite" exclusive to its supporters.
We thought that Hassan Nasrallah had atoned for his sin, by saying: Had I known, I wouldn't have done what I did. It was he who said that. We thought he would not drag us into any new surprises, like he did back then. One of the brothers joked with me when we returned to Al-Dahiya for the first time, and we saw our homes destroyed on the ground. He said: "Your victory shook the world, but your people is broken." He made the people starve, and he impoverished them. I am talking about the situation of the Shiites as of Lebanon. All of this just in order to have his surprise. Was this surprise worth being driven out of our homes, having many of us killed, and many homes destroyed? To this day, the situation remains... Take note, we had no interests to gain from this war.