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Islam and Sectarianism

According to a parable, when Prophet Abraham was cast into a fire by the tyrant king Nimrod, the spectacle was met with horror by a small bird. It spread its wings and soared to a nearby river, where it filled its beak with water. The bird carried these meagre drops to where the fire was lit before going back for more. The water it fetched was of course, not enough to quell the raging flames. An arrogant crow mocked the bird's scurrying efforts and haughtily told him: ‘How can you hope to douse the fire with such little water? Surely you realise that there is nothing you can do?’ The bird remained unperturbed and calmly replied: ‘When I meet with God, He will not ask me whether I was able to put out the fire, He will only inquire whether I did my part to see that it was extinguished.’…..

 

Crimean Tatars: Persecuted and Harassed
Amanda Paul

They are harassed by secret services and "self-defence forces" who search homes, offices and mosques. Tatar university students are being forced to apply for Russian citizenship and passports with the threat of not receiving their diplomas, if they refuse. Certain Islamic books, including school educational books, previously considered legal under the Ukrainian law, have been banned…..

 

The Ahmedis of Pakistan: Where Is This Hatred Really Stemming From?
Zeeba T Hashmi

Where is this hatred really stemming from? There is so much of it that an important international Pakistani physicist, Nobel Prize winner Dr Abdus Salam, has been deprived of national recognition and pride because of his Ahmadi connection. They did not even spare the respect and sanctity of his gravestone. Instead of praising Dr Abdus Salam for his pivotal role in the field of Physics, schools across Pakistan mount portraits of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, the known plagiarist and convicted thief who is being presented as a national role model…..

Demanding that Muslims must condemn the ISIS is typical xenophobic and communal nonsense. We don't have to condemn something that we didn't create nor support. Let those who created ISIS condemn it and stop supporting it. Let them freeze their funding which will stop them as surely as a hole in the head. Let their creators and funders understand that they are not fooling anyone. We the people of the world and we the Muslims are more than aware of what is going on and are able to see the schemes behind the events. We are not fooled by the whimpering of captive media who have sold the very spirit of free press and journalism down the drain…..

 
Clouds of Sectarianism
Dr Muhammad Ali Saif

ISIS has unleashed its blitzkrieg in Syria and Iraq. Its lightening advance in the Levant region has not only caused ripples in the western world but has also aroused sectarian animosity that had been simmering under the surface in the Muslim world. The recent massacre of Yazidis has further escalated the conflict by compelling the US and its allies to intervene ….

 

Principles of democracy cannot stand true in spirit unless much needed reforms in the electioneering process are made that can ensure representation of all segments of society. Without their voice, the election process remains dubious, despite the fact that it has been enshrined in the writ of the land and strategically designed ballot protocols are being followed.....

 

Pakistan Asphyxiating Minorities
Ambreen Agha

Extremist groups successfully target religious minorities and anybody who dares to speak out in their defence, including Government officials. Judges and lawyers have also come under threat for defending and acquitting blasphemy defendants....

 

Islam rejects sectarianism intolerance and extremism, which was the cause of decline of previous believers and corruption of scriptures. Allah says: “Their doom is because Allah has revealed the Book with the truth; surely those who seek causes of dispute in the Book (The Qur’an) are in extreme schism (divergence).”(Qur’an; 2:176). Initially the people followed the teachings of their Apostles and scriptures but later followers innovated and corrupted the original message creating sects….

 

The seat of this great sectarian battle was Rana Public School, owned and run by the MLA of the area Mr.  Noor Salim Rana. A small quarrel over a petty issue during the 15 August celebrations in the school turned into a Shia-Sunni clash in which dozens of holy fighters from both the ‘armies’ were injured. Some of them are cooling their heels in the local police station. The saddest part of this story is that a number of persons involved in this clash are students from Kashmir, majority of whom are from Shia community. They stay at a hostel near the school and study in colleges in the area. They are absconding after the incident.

 

A country for Muslims built on Islamic principles ostensibly meant that the non-Muslims would have no, or at best, secondary roles in matters of the state and also in the society at large. Sir, exactly the same has happened. We have been successful in driving out the Hindus and Sikhs from this, our holy land. That turned out to be the best way to solve the ‘minority problem’ that you delved into so passionately. Some in Sindh, however, have been very stubborn and refuse to leave their ancestral land. Rest assured, a lot of patriotic people are working on this, with a success story making headlines in newspapers every other day......

Misunderstanding Secularism
Christophe Jaffrelot

Misunderstanding Secularism
Christophe Jaffrelot

If India was to discontinue this tradition and replace it with Hindu majoritarianism, it would embark on the same trajectory as its neighbours — except Nepal, where secularism has recently become the order of the day. The past experience of the other countries of South Asia shows that minorities have been the first casualties of the erosion of secularism, regardless of the majority religion. ……

An Open Letter to Murderers of Minorities
Zara Hafeez

Shame on you for not standing by Jinnah’s advocacy for minorities. He clearly specified in his maiden address that the minorities living in Pakistan would have equal rights, obligations as well as privileges. He stated, “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”…..

ISIS Consolidates
Patrick Cockburn

ISIS Consolidates
Patrick Cockburn

The foster parents of Isis and the other Sunni Jihadi movements in Iraq and Syria are Saudi Arabia, the Gulf monarchies and Turkey. This doesn’t mean the jihadis didn’t have strong indigenous roots, but their rise was crucially supported by outside Sunni powers. The Saudi and Qatari aid was primarily financial, usually through private donations, which Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6, says were central to the Isis takeover of Sunni provinces in northern Iraq: ‘Such things do not happen spontaneously.’ In a speech in London in July, he said the Saudi policy towards jihadis has two contradictory motives: fear of jihadis operating within Saudi Arabia, and a desire to use them against Shia powers abroad.....

 

 “We have learned in the Madrasas that if you kill any Hindu on a Friday, you will reach heaven.”  The parents of Sajid gave Rs. 2000 to Neto’s family members and Sajid’s relatives took Neto to the Bone Care hospital in Hyderabad for necessary medical treatment and checkups. There it was identified that Neto had a fracture in his arm and injuries on his head. After some treatment the Qazi family took Neto back to his home where he is still bed-ridden.....

 

Sunni and Shiite Muslims Uphold the Same Moral Principles of Justice, Mercy, Trust, Steadfastness, Forgiveness and Unselfishness
Ibrahim Kalin

The new proxy wars in the Middle East are using sectarian identities as a smoke screen for narrow political agendas. Extremists are manipulating past grievances to start modern wars. What is reassuring is the fact that the vast majority of Sunni and Shiite Muslims do not consider themselves to be soldiers of a sectarian war. Ahl us-Sunna and Ahl al-Bayt are two branches of Islam that originate from the same source. The followers of Sunni and Shia Islam worship the same God and believe in the same prophet. They turn to the same Qibla to pray. They believe in the same principles of testimony (Shahadah), prayer (Salah), fasting (sawm), alms giving (Zakah) and pilgrimage (Hajj). They uphold the same moral principles of justice, mercy, trust, steadfastness, forgiveness and unselfishness……

Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law: Consuming Society from Within
Dr. Sanchita Bhattacharya

It won't be inappropriate to say that the prevailing blasphemy law is consuming Pakistani society from within. In a way, these laws provide legitimacy to commit heinous crime and human rights violation in a country that is ranked 157 out of 162 countries in the 2013 Global Peace Index. It is an all-purpose tool in the service of intolerance. The law has often been used against religious minorities, but Muslims are paying the price as well. Unfortunately, there is hardly any possibility to repeal the law.....

The Battle of the Righteous: Iraq Dissolves into Sectarianism
Catherine Shakdam

When ISIL enounced its plan earlier in June to lay waste Shia Islam and destroy everything and everyone related to it, millions across not only Iraq but the Islamic world understood that terror had just came knocking on their door. ISIL – the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – a terror group so radical in its thinking and brutal in its methods that Al Qaeda itself felt the need to distance itself from its commanders, has, with one simple statement shook the very foundations of the Islamic Ummah….

 

Sunnis of Iraq, Between Reason and Fanaticism
Abdulrahman al-Rashed

When extremists threaten chaos and destruction, they are harming their people in Sunni provinces who are suffering more than others. Sunni extremists, as well as Shiite extremists, must see beyond the end of their noses and realize the political fact that they will not find one Sunni state - or any other state - that will support them if they decide to sabotage reconciliation, or if they push towards toppling the political regime instead of reforming it, or if they decide to divide the country…..

 

Did Shiite Fatwa Save Baghdad From 'Islamic State'?
Ali Hashem

In Iraq, almost everyone is concerned about the future, both personal and communal. They're afraid that the map of the new Middle East is being drawn on their dead bodies and that their blood is the ink…..

 

Shia in Malaysia: We've Got Walking Time-Bombs
Marina Mahathir

So we finally stepped over the line. When the first Malaysian suicide bomber died in Syria, we finally put to rest the idea that Malaysian Muslims would never do this. For so long, we have believed that suicide in itself is a sin and such drastic action is sinful because it harms and kills innocent people. But now these concepts seem not to hold water any more. In the age of social media, not only are our youth going off to fight wars in a foreign land, they are even boasting about it to all their friends back home via Facebook and Twitter. They need this self-advertising in order to ensure that everyone thinks of them as heroes and warriors, fighting for a cause that nobody really understands……

Sectarianism and Takfir Is At the Heart of the Quagmire That the Muslim World Is Precipitously Sinking Into
Kunwar Khuldune Shahid
Had Bush and Blair not decided to invade Iraq in 2003, would ISIS be wreaking havoc right now? Of course not. Health permitting, it would be Saddam Hussein who would be taking care of the wreaking bit. And, with Saddam at the helm, why would there be any need for a Sunni militant reactionary movement? Plus Saddam wasn’t a fan of militancy that wasn’t orchestrated via his command......

 

Sunni-Shia Civil War in Iraq Has Divided Indian Muslim Community Too: Sections of Urdu Press Impressed With ISIS Advance, Reminded Of Prophet's Jihad against Infidels

The Sunni majority among Muslims in India appears to be developing sympathies for the transnational Wahhabi-Salafi terrorist organisation ISIS and its local Sunni affiliates that are fighting the Shia government of Iraq. One clear reason is that Al-Maliki government can no longer be called secular and democratic, though it had started as such, following months long negotiations after an election. On the other hand the local oppressed Sunnis, who had fought Al-Qaeda in Iraq, at great cost to themselves, in their quest for democracy, have now joined what is essentially the same al-Qaida with a different name, out of frustration at Maliki's pro-Shia sectarianism. Reports that Indian Shia organisations are organising volunteers to go to fight against Sunni Jihadis of Iraq has also not helped matters.

The job of journalists should be simply to give objective information. As Urdu journalists do not have their own sources of information, they can give whatever information is available in the diverse international media and refrain from sectarian comments. Let us understand that none of the parties in Iraq are blameless and it is not our job to go to war to sort out problems of other societies even if we share certain ideological affinities. Short of joining the fight, if we can help the oppressed Shias and Sunnis of Iraq in any other way, we should. But fighting among ourselves here in India or elsewhere in the world will hardly be helping any one. ……

Sectarian Genie Is Out Of the Bottle from Syria to Iraq
Samia Nakhoul
The sectarian genie is now well out of the bottle, eclipsing traditional inter-state rivalries that plague the Middle East - even if these still play a part in the drama. The 1979 Islamic Revolution brought a Shi’ite theocracy to power in non-Arab Iran, giving a sectarian edge to the long-standing, state-to-state contest for influence in the Gulf between Iran and Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy underpinned by the fundamentalist tenets of Sunni Wahhabi doctrine……

Transforming Religion into a Political/Geopolitical Tool: The Battle for Iraq is a Saudi war on Iran
Amir Madani

The generous distribution of petrodollars by the Saudis can be gauged from the shocking Wikileaks cables, which show U.S. diplomats arguing that Saudi donors are among the chief financiers of al Qaeda. A document that went out over Hillary Clinton's signature, "Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide" declared, "More needs to be done since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaida, the Taliban, LeT and other terrorist groups." Saudi Donors have notoriously played a fundamental role in creating and maintaining Sunni terrorist groups in the Middle East and worldwide, including the perpetrators of 9/11. Now, donors in the Kingdom and the sheikdoms within its sphere are working to extend the Syrian bloodbath into Iraq by lending support to the Jihadi-Ba'athist coalition seeking to overthrow the coalition government elected by a vast majority of Iraqi voters. Indeed, Saudi Arabia has sought to put an end to the "Middle East Spring" with petrodollars, terrorism and military intervention. ...

... In 1744, Muhammad al-Sa'ud the founder of the core of what is now Saudi Arabia, signed a pact establishing the dogmatic religious creed of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, author of Kitāb at-Tawḥīd ("Book of Unity") promulgating the teaching of the ultra-extremist doctrine of ibn Taymiyyah and a group of fighters from the desert of Najd known as the Ikhwan (brothers). This pact represents the pivotal ideological moment -- the establishment of an alliance between ultra-orthodox dogma and a call to arms. Thus was established the intimate alliance between religious and temporal powers, which holds even unto the present day. The clerical legitimization of the rule of the House of al-Sa'ud reinforces its absolute monopoly on all the levers of power, for which the regime reciprocates by guaranteeing the deeply ultra-orthodox dogmatic Islamic character of secular power in the Kingdom. So the absolute belief in the oneness of God (Tawhid) devolves into the justification for absolute political power. In the name of absolute obedience to an absolute God, in reality what is demanded is an absolute obedience to ruling family…….

The Lost Moral of Islam’s Divide
Shajahan Madampat

Islamism, defined broadly, is an ideological construct based on a political reading of Islam in both its history and textuality. It argues that the primary duty of a Muslim is to strive for the establishment of an Islamic state, without which Islam will remain a ‘house half-built.’....

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