Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Lot or Allāt?

I do not remember what department(s) and organization(s) sponsored the talk, but some time around November of 2010, journalist Nir Rosen was invited to discuss his new book “Aftermath: Following the Bloodshed of America’s Wars in the Muslim World.” I decided to read up on some of his work and found his article published in the National in September of 2008 on "Blowback from Iraq - We Run the Road." The original link,, no longer works but a copy of the article has been posted on the website of Steve Clemons, The Washington Note.

There are many things with which one could take issue both in this article and in the work of Nir Rosen in general, but I wanted to point out one mistake I noticed in the piece (click to enlarge):

Sunni militant individuals and groups like those being discussed by Rosen refer to the Shiʿa Islamist militant group Hezbollah as ḥizb al-Lāt, meaning the Party of Allat. Allat was one of the chief goddesses of ancient Arabia and Sunni extremists refer to their Shiʿa rivals with such a term with the intention of making takfīr, declaring the Shiʿa to be non-Muslims, comparable to the polytheistic Arabians of the pre-Islamic period.

If the intention was to make reference to the party, or people, of Lot, the nephew of prophet Abraham who lived in the original 'Sin City' of Sodom-and-Gomorrah, the Arabic term would be qawm Lūṭ.

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