A Turkish government official stated over the weekend that the Party of God, the literal translation of “Hezbollah,” should change its name to “Party of Satan” for sending its fighters to support the Syrian army in its fight against rebels in Homs province. According to The Blaze (via Yahoo News on May 27), Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag suggested the name change at the “Problems of the Islamic World and Solutions” conference in Ankara, Turkey.
Sometimes it is all about the company you keep. And Hezbollah has been keeping company with the government forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Bozdag suggested Hezbollah now call itself “Hezb al-Shaitan” (the Party of Satan), because of their active support of Assad’s forces. Government troops have reportedly killed thousands of civilians in Syria since resistance to the regime began in March 2011 (although true armed resistance began only after troops opened fire — per order of Assad — on peaceful demonstrations nationwide).
Bozdag went on to note that the racism was only deepening the divisions within Islam, stating that it flew in the face of Islamic teachings. He also noted that sectarian differences were responsible for much strife in the world, and particularly in Syria. (Hezbollah is a Shi’a Muslim organization. Turkey’s Muslim population is predominantly Sunni, as are many of the rebels and separatists fighting against Assad’s forces.)
Hezbollah once commanded respect in the Muslim world for their stance against Israel, but that respect is quickly turning to condemnation.
“Those who stand by the Assad regime and kill their own Muslim brothers and indiscriminately kill women and children in the battlefield should not appeal to Islam and the Quran to legitimize their actions,” Bozdag said.
A poll released by CNN/ORC on May 27 indicates that Americans are becoming increasingly more concerned about the conflict in Syria.
Bozdag’s comments come as Secretary of State John Kerry meets in Paris with Russian diplomats in an effort to hopefully find a solution to ending the violence in Syria.
In an address to the 23rd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said that the conflict was “a humanitarian, political, and social disaster.” She went on to say that the world could not stand by any longer as witnesses to what has become an “intolerable affront to the human conscience.”
In further emphasizing that Hezbollah was indeed the “Party of Satan,” Bozdag presented its ally as also one against God. He compared Bashar al-Assad to the Pharoah in the Bible’s Book of Exodus.
“The Pharaoh gave orders for the killing of innocent children and their mothers to maintain power. What is the difference between what the Pharaoh did and Assad is doing?” Bozdag asked.
The United Nations estimates that over 70,000 Syrian civilians have been killed in the fighting since 2011, a further 6.8 million are in need within the country’s borders, and 1.5 million have fled Syria altogether to escape the fighting.