One dangerous point that comes up in these discussions is that terrorism against Shi`i civilians are almost justified because of "cursing the sahaba". The presenter said a couple times, "if they were cursing Imam Ali, we'd feel like killing them too". Firstly, this is a false equivalency: the standard Sunni believes Abu Talib, Abdullah, and Amina are in hell; our Imams in some cases were cursed by names from the pulpits, but do you know of any incidents where Sunnis were killed for these beliefs, even in Shia-majority societies? Secondly, the Shia victims are often blamed in these terrorist attacks ("they shouldn't have been cursing"), almost as though cursing justifies murder.
We need to all admit that there are extremists on both sides. You will find extremist WF supporters and also extremist Shirazi supporters.
Lets all avoid being unprofessional and rude (including myself). If you only have something to say which is based on facts and logic, then comment.
It's very sad to see that we're all divided. We should all unite under the banner of our Imams (as).
I never wanted to get involved in this thread, but given this video is coming out of the "Hawzah" and is somewhat representative of the Western students in Qom, I believe a few points needed to be mentioned.
Disclaimer 1: I am not in anyway linked to Sayyid Sadiq Shirazi - I have nothing to do with him, and I am not a fan of his academic discussions (I found them to be relatively weak in fact).
Disclaimer 2: I have nothing against the government of Iran, but I acknowledge the fact that it is still a very young nation post-revolution and a lot of theoretical discussions regarding governance, ethics and Shi'i jurisprudence are still only being uncovered and understood, let alone ironed out systematically. Shi'a scholarship has had close to no political experience of such nature, and our jurisprudence is at least a few centuries behind Sunni jurisprudence when it comes to advanced discussions on law, rights, responsibilities, benefits and harms etc. Many books regarding the political lives of the Imams (a) or even the Prophet (p) have only been written in the last few decades, historically you will be hard-pressed to find books discussing and analyzing the political lives of the Imams - because the topic was so irrelevant as the Shias were not in such a position. All this work is very recent, and we have a long way to go. This is coupled with tons of real issues that exist internally and the corruption that exists amongst politicians and as well as some of the scholarly circles - but my point here is that none of this demands discussion regarding a 'regime' change or 'toppling the regime' or that Sayyid Khamenei is not the deserving person to be leading. That would be counter-productive and catastrophic for the Shia community all around the world. The benefits that have sprung out from the revolution are far too many to count - this is very obvious, to me at least.
First and foremost, after speaking with a number of students here, I can assure you that most of them were in disagreement with this video and it being published (for various different reasons) and some of them even angry. Secondly, the video has numerous factual mistakes and if they were going to launch such an aggressive attack, it behooved one to ensure there were minimum flaws in what they are presenting. For example, Allahyari has nothing to do with Sayyid Sadiq Shirazi, and in fact, neither does Tawhidi as he has said a few times his views are different to his teacher. In fact on his website, the Royal Institute ( https://imamtawhidi.com/royalinvestigation/ ) document says:
Imam Tawhidi maintains views which may differ to the opinions of his former teachers as he does not claim to be their deputy or representative in any way.
Or http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2018/02/09/exclusive-imam-of-peace-warns-followers-of-detained-iranian-cleric-will-rain-down-on-khameneis-regime/ :
In a recent Tweet he wrote:
Sayyid Sadiq Shirazi has also a number of times distanced himself from Mujtaba Shirazi - based on colleagues who have gone and questioned him about this. Some of the people that Mujtaba Shirazi cursed, Sayyid Sadiq has had relationships with them or at the very least shown respect to them - such as visiting the house of Ayatullah Behjat when he passed away. His office even distanced themselves with what the Fadak TV goons did at the Iranian embassy in London as his representative said these people may have been loyalists, but attacked the embassy independently (similar to what loyal followers of Sayyid Khamenei have done multiple times in Iran, whether it be an embassy or an office of a Marja').
Now, why doesn't Sayyid Sadiq come out and openly condemn these people instead of doing it in private gatherings, or to individuals who ask him directly, or through his official representatives - I don't know. There are many things scholars believe in and are proponents of, but they don't come out and openly say them. A lot of these types of questions can be raised about Sayyid Khamenei himself. Why speak in vague terms. Why not just come out and point out who these individuals are and make it clear that Sayyid Sadiq Shirazi himself is to be blamed - perhaps he doesn't want to get involved, or sees that things might get worse or because a lot of times these are personal attacks on him he doesn't want to come out and say something as it may come across as him abusing his position of power - I don't know, but we can only speculate all day long. You have another senior Ayatullah in Iran who has been going around for a few years saying Sayyid Sadiq Shirazi gets funding from Saudi Arabia and England, but then says we cannot show the evidence yet. I don't know if speaking in such a manner is healthy or rather creates more speculation, rumours and gives anyone permissibility to go around making claims and then saying 'I can't show you the evidence yet'. The victim here is the average Shia in the West, who is left confused with nothing to judge by but vague attacks and claims made here and there, and those who are loyalists to either camp will remain loyal or continue to follow blindly whoever it is they respect, look up to, and trust their words.
Secondly, bringing Nakshwani into it at the end seemed like nothing but a desperate attempt to discredit him - most students in the seminary of Qom are not fans of Nakshwani's overall personality and style at all. Perhaps a lot of their issues with him are justified. In this video, instead of attacking him on legitimate concerns they may have, they decided to paint him out as anti-unity and then even ended up trying to link him with UMAA with something they did back in 2003-2004 and throwing in a few pictures of his with Tawhidi and Sayyid Sadiq (which really means nothing - I can show you pictures of individuals who are not anti-government sitting with Sayyid Sadiq in his office). Unfortunately, an average Western student in Qom will not be able to engage with Nakshwani on an academic topic (let alone people like Allahyari or Yasir Habib who will eat them alive), so the issue becomes that of finding other ways to discredit him, even if it means hitting below the belt, like was done in this video.
Thirdly, the main team of Islamic Pulse in Qom is not interested in studying the Islamic sciences in depth or intensively. In fact not only have one or two of their team members expressed this to me explicitly, or those who previously worked there and then left for the very same reason (i.e. the work demand are a lot and do not allow you to study as much as a student should be if there is any intent on becoming a scholar), but more than one individual can affirm that their primary agenda in Qom is not to study, but rather to engage in a soft-war with the enemies of the Islamic government, the system of Wilayat al-Faqih and the Wali al-Faqih. While this may be a noble cause, their lack of studies and depth of the Islamic sciences and understanding of the history or context in which some of these discussions take place is blatantly obvious in some of these videos (whether it is this specific one or some of the Biskit ones or any other ones where they themselves decide to engage their audience on an Islamic topic). In other words, the number of mistakes they make in these type of videos is far more than the amount they can pinpoint from speeches of Ammar Nakshwani (who most seminarians in Qom will say makes a lot of mistakes off the pulpit - and I agree that he does, but who doesn't).
Allow me to give a simple example regarding how complicated even just the theoretical discussion on "unity" is (let alone practical and how we are to implement it), just so people on here can think about it from a different perspective. The notion of interfaith or interreligious dialogue or unity is a modern phenomenon that sprung out of the modern secular state. For much of human history, there was no concept of interfaith or interreligious unity, because it made no sense to be on good terms with someone you fundamentally and theologically disagreed with and considered them to be hell-bound. The mainstream Shi'i theological view is no different. You can pick up any scholar from the classical period, up until recently with the likes of Sayyid al-Khu'i and Imam Khomeini, and you will find that everyone (minus perhaps a few reformist scholars in contemporary times) believed that Sunnis, in reality, are like disbelievers and polytheists, whose actions are not accepted and we only treat them as Muslims apparently in this world. In fact, Shaykh Yusuf al-Bahrani went as far as to say that Sunnis are Najis even apparently. This was a basic theological premise that scholars of a religion had regarding others (including Sunni scholars towards us). This theological premise then, of course, begins to show in your jurisprudence when it is allowed to backbite the Sunnis because they are not considered our brothers and believers - mu'min (many jurists believe this ruling to be from the necessities of our Fiqh - the only major jurist who was against it, as far as I know, was Muqaddis Ardebelli and he was pretty much a Sayyid Kamal al-Haydari of his time and jurists like Sahib al-Jawahir critiqued Ardebelli very harshly), it tells you to not physically defend them in a jihad if they are being attacked (because it will result in you in aiding misguidance), it allows you to accuse them falsely and condemn or curse them, and as a matter of fact it leaves no room for you to discuss "unity" with them.
I personally suggest - those who are interested in the topic of Shia-Sunni unity - to really investigate the matter in more depth. What is the nature of unity that we keep bringing up? Is it a real unity or is it temporary and only apparent? Can unity even be achieved through an internalist perspective of religion, or do we need to base it on something outside of religion (for example the ethical principle of nobility that all humans enjoy)? If it can be achieved through an internalist perspective, do we need to do ijtihad in our theological stance - something some scholars have pushed for in order to make sense of unity and proximity? On the tongues of an average Shia, if unity means to come together on common grounds to fight against the enemies, what happens once this goal is achieved? Does unity lose its relevance at that point since an external enemy no longer exists and the only enemy now is an internal one who you fundamentally disagree with and believe is hell-bound? Often times the problem is rooted in the words we use themselves. For example, unity is a very vague word and I assure you it is a lot more complicated than just saying, it is to unite on common grounds without compromising our beliefs. Research into the history of when the discourse on unity and proximity in the Islamic world began (you don't have to look too far, maybe maximum a 100-150 years ago). Look into the socio-political factors that pushed some scholars to bring this discussion up, who these scholars were (Sunni and Shi'a) and help yourself get a better understanding of the arguments of those who are pro and anti-unity. After all that, then try to understand the notion in the context of global politics and Iran's role as a representative of Twelver-Imami Shi'ism.
Unfortunately, I do not have the time to expound on this any further, but those who can read Arabic, this might be a good start for them: http://hobbollah.com/articles/التعدّدية-المذهبية-مشروع-التقريب-وإش/
The Islamic Pulse guys are sincere brothers, I know some of them in real life, but they have their own opinions and biases.
There is good information in their videos but we should take it for what it is, information and not Quran or Hadith or even fatwa.