Saudi Shi'ite Muslims flagellate themselves with chains during an Ashura procession in Qatif, east Saudi Arabia, October 24, 2015. Ashura, which falls on the 10th day of the Islamic month of Muharram, commemorates the death of Imam Hussein, grandson of Prophet Mohammad, who was killed in the 7th century battle of Kerbala. Photo courtesy REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

Open sectarianism in Saudi Arabia frightens Shiites

QATIF, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) The fate of Saudi Arabia’s 2 million or so Shiites is closely watched because of the country’s intimate involvement in the region’s sectarian conflict through its rivalry with Iran and the teachings of its influential clergy that Shiism is heretical.