Shia Muslims around the world are furious with Saudi Arabia over the execution
of one of their leading clerics, and acts of violence against Sunnis are the result in several places.
In Kashmir Indian police had to break up a demonstration, and in Iraq a Shia mosque in Hilla was ransacked by an angry crowd.
World leaders are calling for calm, and in Europe the fear is this could further set back attempts to find peace in Syria.
“We want to see stability in the Middle East. We want to see good relations between the different countries of the Middle East, not least because that will be absolutely essential for solving the crisis that we have in Syria which is the source of so many of these problems,” said Britain’s David Cameron.
Britain belatedly condemned the Saudi executions, not before various other leaders had warned Riyad that its actions were unwise and should not be tolerated, especially as Saudi Arabia currently heads the UN’s Human Rights committee. Germany says Saudi Arabia must be held to account.
“The latest developments in Saudi Arabia are alarming. The German government strictly opposes the death penalty. We are watching those developments with regard to the export of arms,” said a spokesman for the economy ministry, Adrian Toschev.
The Russians have also warned Saudi Arabia and Iran to scale back their dispute, have called for calm in the region, and have offered their services as mediators.
Moscow has close ties with Iran, but less cordial relations with the Saudis, whose oil production policies, designed to kill off America’s shale gas boom, have also hurt the Russian economy.