Case in point is Bahrain, where the same citizens who are cheering on the Syrian uprising are conversely applauding their own government's crackdown on protesters at home. Sunni mosques are decorated with banners calling on followers to donate to support their "brothers" fighting against Damascus. The Shiite political leaders say they also support the Syrian uprising. But on the streets, at least some protesters are reluctant to say the same.
Meanwhile, neither Qatar nor Saudi Arabia supports the uprising in Bahrain, where majority rule would likely empower Shiite politicians.
Even in Egypt, where last year Christians stood guard over Muslims prostrated in prayer during the Tahrir Square protests, there is a growing climate of distrust. The Muslim Brotherhood has raised the hackles of secularists, Christians, rights activists, and the military by abandoning promises to work for consensus and instead making an ambitious attempt to control not only parliament but also the constitution-writing committee and the presidency.
From the first days of protests in Bahrain, analysts raised concerns that revolution in Bahrain could awaken sectarian tensions. Less than a week after the uprising began on Feb. 14, 2011, a group called The Gathering of National Unity (TGONU) led a march to oppose the Pearl Roundabout demonstrators – a move praised by the government.