Following are excerpts from a Friday sermon delivered by Saudi Ayatollah Nimr Al-Nimr, which was posted on the Internet on October 7, 2011.
Nimr Baqir Al-Nimr is from the city of Awwamiyah in the eastern part of Saudi Arabia. He is an outspoken Shia cleric known for his criticism of the Saudi government and his constant call for freedom of religion, equality, and justice for the Shia minority in Saudi Arabia. In 2009, Al-Nimr said that the dignity of the Saudi Shia is more precious than the unity of the land, and suggested that Saudi Shia might secede from Saudi Arabia. Fearing arrest, Al-Nimr currently is in hiding.
Nimr Al-Nimr: "For the past 100 years, we have been subjected to oppression, injustice, fear, and intimidation. From the moment you are born, you are surrounded by fear, intimidation, persecution, and abuse. We were born into an atmosphere of intimidation. We feared even the walls. Who among us is not familiar with the intimidation and injustice to which we have been subjected in this country? I am 55 years old, more than half a century. From the day I was born and to this day, I've never felt safe or secure in this country.
"You are always being accused of something. You are always under threat. The head of the State Security Service admitted this to me in person. He said to me when I was arrested: 'All you Shi'ites should be killed.' That is their logic. The head of the State Security Service in the Eastern Province said so himself. [...]
"They are still plotting to carry out a massacre. They are more than welcome. We are here. Our blood is a small price to pay in defense of our values. We do not fear death. We long for martyrdom. [...]
"A few months ago, the flame of honor was sparked in the spirits of the youth. The torch of freedom was lit. The people took to the streets demanding reform, honor, and freedom. There are people who have been held in prison unjustly for more than 16 years. In addition, the Peninsula Shield Force and the Saudi army invaded Bahrain. Then there were more and more arrests.
"So who was it who instigated strife and unrest? [...]
"The strife and unrest in Awwamiya were instigated by the regime, not the people. [...]
"We will continue to defend both the veteran and the new prisoners. We will stand by them. We don't mind being arrested, and joining them. We don't even mind shedding our blood for their sake. We will continue to express even stronger solidarity with Bahrain. It is our own kin in Bahrain. Even if the Saudi army and the Peninsula Shield Force had not intervened, it still would have been our duty to stand by the people of Bahrain, our kin, let alone when the Saudi army takes part in oppression, the killing, the violation of women's honor, and the plundering of money. [...]
"[The Saudi regime says] that we are acting 'at the behest of a foreign country.' They use that false pretext. By 'foreign country' they mean Iran, of course. You can't really tell if it's Iran, Turkey, a European country, or the U.S., but they usually mean Iran. In December 1978, there was an Intifada to defend the honor of Awwamiya, when the riot police attacked the town. This was on December 10, 1978, before the Shah was deposed, before the Islamic Republic of Iran was even established.
"It was in 1978 – four months before the fall of the Shah. A group of people convened to perform the religious rite of taziyeh for Imam Hussein. It had nothing to do with political or security matters, but the security forces arrived and attacked them, and a confrontation ensued. People were defending themselves, as well as their faith and their honor. That night, they arrested 100 people. This was in December 1978, prior to the fall of the Iranian [Shah]. So how can they talk about foreign interference?
"You should be ashamed of yourselves. Iran has been developing its military capabilities. If you are worth your salt, develop capabilities of your own, instead of talking. Iran is doing actual work. It has a military industry and is making progress. Instead of talking about 'the behest of a foreign country,' go ahead and sever your relations with Iran.
"You keep talking about 'a foreign country.' I dare you to name that country. Do you not dare to even mention its name? Do you not dare to even mention its name? [...]
"At the end, [the Saudi statement] read: 'We will use an iron fist.' Go ahead and use your 'iron fist' against that 'foreign country.' Why are you using it against us, against 40 or 50 wretched people? If such a 'foreign country' exists – attack the head of the serpent. If you mean Iran, go ahead and attack Iran, or any other country. Let's see your 'iron fist.' It will turn out to be a cardboard fist in the face of that 'foreign country.' [...]
"We have no ties with Iran or any other country. We are connected to our values, and we will defend them, even if your media continues with its distortions. [...]
"The Peninsula Shield Force and Saudi army are mired in the quagmire of Bahrain. They are finding it difficult to leave. They are entangled there. They haven't accomplished their goals, and they cannot leave. They are stuck in a quagmire, and they will find themselves stuck in a worse quagmire. If they came here, they will find themselves in a worse quagmire, because we are in Saudi Arabia. Not by violence, but by our determination, by our belief, and by our steadfastness shall your power be defeated. [...]
"We have the determination to resist your injustice, and we will not surrender. The most you can do is kill us, and we welcome martyrdom for the sake of Allah. Life does not end when a man dies. Real life begins when he dies. Either we live on this land as free men, or die and be buried in it as pious men. We have no other choice. [...]
"We submit to the authority of Allah, His Messenger, and his family, and that's it. We do not submit to the authority of a ruler. Never. No ruler, whoever he may be, has authority over us. [Political] power does not grant a ruler legitimate authority. The legitimacy of authority emanates from Allah. Authority is bestowed by Allah, and He does not bestow it upon the unjust. [...]
"We are not loyal to other countries or authorities, nor are we loyal to this country. What is this country? The regime that oppresses me? The regime that steals my money, sheds my blood, and violates my honor? What does a country mean? The regime? The Ruling clan? The soil? I don't know what a country means. Loyalty is only to Allah! We have declared, and we reiterate, that our loyalty is to Allah, not the Saud clan. Our loyalty is to Allah, not to this country. Our loyalty is to Allah, not to any foreign country. Our loyalty is to Allah and to those whom Allah grants authority. That's it. [...]
"If they are worth their salt, they should use their 'iron fist' against the country that has led the people astray, or so they claim. You assault the weak people? Go crush the head of the serpent. Let's see you. Your media is going on and on, saying 'we will crush Iran.' Go ahead and crush Iran, so no one leads us astray anymore. Relieve us of them. Strike them with an iron fist. Why is that iron fist directed against us and against Bahrain?"