Application Comment Details

Communication and Information Technology Commission, Kindom of Saudi Arabia
Asia Green IT System Bilgisayar San. ve Tic. Ltd. Sti.
Community Objection Ground
Objection to the use of .SHIA as a gTLD
13 August 2012 at 08:03:13 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.

The word “shia” comes from Arabic which means followers and is the short form of the historic phrase shī'atu 'Alī, meaning "followers of Ali". Shia doctrine is based on the teachings of the imams, through whom it is believed religious authority flowed following the death of the Prophet Muhammad. 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.

Hundreds of millions of people identify themselves as shia, and they belong to many different groups. No one group, let alone a private company, should therefore have sole 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 Given its sensitivity and the potential for sectarian conflict, we would recommend that this gTLD be withdrawn altogether.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 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 such an important grouping name to one group, unjustly elevating its influence above others and permit that group to solely represent a spectrum of different people.

The current applicant cannot demonstrate that it has an ongoing relationship with the whole or at least a majority of the shia communities around the world. Any letters of support provided in support appear only to originate from one sect of the many within shiism.

Therefore, we respectfully request that ICANN not award this gTLD string.