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Islam and Sectarianism ( 19 Aug 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Shia-Sunni Skirmishes in Muzaffarnagar (India): Muslims refuse to learn a lesson from the drubbing of last year

By New Age Islam Special Correspondent

20 August 2014

Muzaffarnagar is the area where the months-long riots occurred last year, August - September 2013, taking a toll of at least 62 deaths including 42 Muslims and 20 Hindus and injured 93 and left more than 50,000 displaced, apart from causing a loss of property worth cores. The affected families have not yet been rehabilitated or compensated suitably. The stigma of harassment and dishonour lingers. But the Muslims of the area have refused to learn a lesson from it.

Riots had temporarily united the Shia and Sunni sects of the district as the rioters treated both Shias and Sunni as just Muslims and did not differentiate between them. So when the riots were over, Muslims returned to their old ways, declaring each other kafir and turning a petty squabble into a sectarian battle of survival.

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.

The incident is an indication that Muslims have not learnt any lesson from the beating they got last year from communal forces active in the area. Even after undergoing such  a huge loss of life, honour and property, they have refused to bury their sectarian differences. Kashmiri students who took an aggressive posturing in the incident also demonstrated their lack of prudence and farsightedness as they got embroiled in a sectarian clash and became absconders in the eyes of the law, ruining their own careers and future for a cause they could have ignored.