Application Comment Details

Communication and Information Technology Commission, Kindom of Saudi Arabia
Fondation Aga Khan (Aga Khan Foundation)
Community Objection Ground
Objection to the use of .IMAMAT
12 August 2012 at 10:50:00 UTC

The Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) is the information and communications technology sector (ICT) regulator in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (SA).

Amongst its roles and responsibilities include:

• Granting licenses in the ICT sector

• Protection of users’ rights

• Setting service quality standards

• Preparation of policies, regulatory frameworks and studies of ICT sector in SA

• domain name administration in SA

• Increasing the information security awareness level in SA

• Supervision of the National Committee for Information Society in SA

The followers of the Muslim faith, who number approximately some 1.5-2 billion worldwide, are primarily split into two theological groups: the “sunni”and the “shia” Muslims. The “sunni” being the majority sect.

Followers of the shia group believe in the concept of “imamat” – an Arabic word used to denote that religious authority over their affairs, and succession of leadership over the community, is passed down through the generations from one “imam” (leader) to the next.

There are many interpretations of Shiism, however, based on the acceptance or rejection of the individual imams, and over the centuries the many individual sects within Shiism have developed distinct interpretations of their faith. The numerous sects within Shiism include ithna’asharis (“twelvers”), ismailis, alewites, druze, “severners”, zaidis, etc.

Given that imamat is a foundational concept for all shia Muslims, it is not appropriate for one organization (the current applicant) which only represents one sub-sect (Aga Khani Nizari Ismailism) within shiism, to monopolise control over this gTLD. Given its sensitivity and the potential for sectarian conflict, we would recommend that this gTLD be withdrawn altogether.

We believe that any and all gTLD applications for any name in relation to religion or a specific community should be presented to the whole of that community for evaluation before an application is denied or granted. If this cannot be accomplished then such names should be restricted completely from being used as gTLD's.

Failure to do so would give the use and control of an important religious name to one group, unjustly elevating its influence above others.

The current applicant cannot demonstrate that it represents the whole shia Muslim community; it only represents the single Aga Khani Nizari Ismaili sub-sect. Any letters provided in support are from this one sub-sect only.

Thus, we strongly request that ICANN not accept this application