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Islam and Sectarianism

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.’....

‘Is ISIL Really ‘Sunni’? Not At All’
Kevin Barrett

But it is also possible that the corporate media is intentionally misreporting the situation. The extreme-Zionist neoconservatives launched the US invasion of Iraq in order to break up that country, and the Middle East as a whole, by inciting ethnic and sectarian strife. The “Sunni vs. Shia” meme was created and spread by the Occupiers through a wave of false-flag terrorism. Perhaps the media is trumpeting that meme in order to propagate it…..

Iraq Crisis: Fears Grow That Baghdad Could Be Engulfed In Sectarian Violence
Patrick Cockburn

Expectations about the actions of Iran and the US play an important part in determining the way Iraqis see the crisis. The Iranian border is very close to Baghdad, and Iranian ground forces could swiftly get here, but the Iranians have always preferred to act through proxies and advisers in Iraq. A problem is lack of time: Shia have volunteered to fight Isis in large numbers but, as one observer put it, many of them “have only fired a pistol in the air at weddings and will need to be trained”……

 

Sectarian Monster Reawakened In Iraq: That Factory of Radicalization Must Close down As Soon As Possible in a Way That Would Allow Syria’s Wounds, And by Extension Iraq’s, To Heal
Ramzy Baroud

That factory of radicalization must close down as soon as possible in a way that would allow Syria’s wounds, and by extension Iraq’s, to heal……

 

Sectarianism: A Recipe for Disaster for Sunnis and Shiites
Ibrahim Kalin

ISIS is, however, just one piece of the puzzle. The anti-Maliki coalition that formed under ISIS in Mosul is actually comprised of ex-Baathists, Islamists and other Sunni tribes and other smaller groups in Iraq. It looks like the ex-Baathists are handling the political designs and the ISIS fighters are carrying out the attacks. Eight years of sectarian, authoritarian and exclusivist policies of the two successive Maliki governments have brought the most unlikely enemies together and prepared the ground for a sectarian war…..

 

The Saudi War in Iraq and Lessons for Pakistan: Tell the Saudis to Stop Meddling in Pakistan’s Affairs
Yasser Latif Hamdani

If Iran gets involved in Iraq, and it has already sent troops in some parts of the country, Pakistan will risk getting sucked into that predominantly sectarian conflict. That is the last thing Pakistan can afford to do given that it is home to the second largest Shia population in the world....

Minority and the Mob in Pakistan
Khaled Ahmed

Nations trapped in the cycle of fate can’t resist a recurrent death wish even when they know it is a death wish. Turks can’t live down their primal hatred of Armenians, and become Turks only when they collectively hate them. Iranians have the same kind of emotion about the Bahai. Once Germans hated Jews and killed a lot of them to post their “greatness” to the world. Pakistan’s death wish hatred is against the Ahmadi community. It lives as a nation only if it kills Ahmadis and ceases to be a nation if it stops killing them.....

What Does Erdogan Mean By 'Alevis Without Ali'?
Fehim Tastekin

Veneration of "Ahl al-Bayt" (the family of the Prophet Muhammad), primarily his son-in-law Ali Ibn Abu Talib, is pivotal to Alevism. The narrative of “Alevism without Ali” stems from a theory floated in Marxist-socialist Alevi circles according to which Alevism is a body of pre-Islamic religious rites. Advocates of this theory are a very tiny minority. Years ago, Turkish researcher Faik Bulut wrote a book called “Alevism without Ali,” which argued that the Ali worshipped by Alevis is largely detached from the historical figure of the prophet. The book was duly debated and rebuttals were written. The reality today remains that for the overwhelming majority of Alevis — who, like Shiites, venerate Ali but follow distinct Turkish Sufi principles of the Bektashi order — "Alevism without Ali" is not Alevism.....

 

In the Arab world, sectarian tensions between the two main branches of Islam have increased the past decade. In Syria, jihadist fighters from around the world are fighting alongside the country's Sunni majority against President Bashar Assad's Alawite, Shiite-backed minority. Meanwhile, Sunni-Shiite bloodletting in Iraq shows no sign of abating with hardliners on either side…..

 

Pakistan Needs To Do Much More to Deal with Intensified Communal and Sectarian Conflicts in Punjab despite Fierce Internal Conflict among Terror Outfits
Mujahid Hussain, New Age Islam

The Tehreek-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan (TTP) is dominated by foreign extremists who, unlike the local extremists, have no soft corner for the state of Pakistan. Most of them have been engaged in militancy since the war started in Afghanistan and have consolidated their ties with the Al-Qaida. Although they have good standing in the local areas, their source of power emanates from the foreign countries where their financers and funding organisations are based. They are enormously funded by them to wage war in the name of Jihad in Pakistan......

 

No Talks with Pakistan until Withdrawal of Forces - Nawab Brahumdagh Bugti
Nawab Brahumdagh Bugti

Army operations in Balochistan have become a daily routine where innocent women and children are being killed and people are joining violent ways of the struggle as a reaction”. He said Pakistan is carrying out a systematic genocide of Baloch Nation. He said that nobody needs to dictate us about our matters; we must have the right to decide as to what is in our interest and what is not....

 

Why Arabs Are Confused on Turkey’s Ethnic Minorities
Sinem Cengiz
Arab intellectuals noted that Turkey should be able to achieve a balance between different groups and have equal policies regarding these groups, adding that only a Turkey that succeeded in solving these issues could serve as a model for the Middle East……

 

Scourge of Sectarianism Clings Onto Syria and Iraq
Eyad Abu Shakra

Iraq, which was first been “liberated” from Saddam Hussein and then from the Americans, is not an isolated case. Syria is also confidently and destructively moving towards a state of social division, despite the fact that the Assad regime—under both the father, Hafez al-Assad, and the son, Bashar—have an ongoing tradition of erecting a democratic façade to cover up the most heinous of political and security practices……..

 

Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, is overwhelmingly Sunni. The Pew Research Center estimated that in 2010 over 99 percent of the country’s 205 million Muslims were Sunni. Indonesia’s estimated one million Shiites are no strangers to discrimination, but human rights groups have recently reported attacks and forced conversions. Now, some radical Sunnis are out in public saying they want to eliminate “deviant” sects, and Shiites are rightly worried…..

 

Hudud in a Non-Islamic State
Syahredzan Johan

Apart from Hudud crimes, other types of crimes under the Syariah are Ta'zir, Qisas and Diyat. Ta'zir crimes are crimes against the state and they are discretionary; the state has the discretionary powers to punish these crimes. Quisas are crimes punishable on the principle of "an eye for an eye". Diyat are crimes that may be punishable like Quisas but instead, the victim may accept compensation or "blood money" instead. The burden of proof to establish a Hudud crime is extremely high…..

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