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Islamist sectarian violence in the United States of America

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Prasad Binoy
Prasad Binoy
Binoy Shanker Prasad holds a PhD from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Originally from Darbhanga, Bihar (India), Binoy lives with his family in Dundas, Ontario (Canada). He is a former UGC teacher fellow at JNU in India and a Fulbright Scholar in the USA. Author of scholarly works including a book, Violence Against Minorities, Gandhi in the Age of Globalization (a monograph) and a collection of poems, Dr Prasad has taught International Politics and Political Sociology at Ryerson University, Centennial College and McMaster University. He has guest-lectured at such institutions as the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), George Mason Univ., Univ of Madison-Wisconsin, and Redeemer Univ. Socially active, Binoy has also been a two-term president of Hamilton based India-Canada Society (2006-08 and 2018-20).

Dr Binoy Shanker Prasad

[Abstract: The inter-sectarian violence among the Muslims is found everywhere they have presence in the world. The Sunni-Shiite cleavage is causing death and destruction in Syria, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and all over the Middle East. Now, it seems to have touched the shores of the USA as well. In addition to the ethnic, geo-strategic and ‘power’ factors, the root cause of such violence lies in the preachings and practice of Islam itself.] 

In the Albuquerque area of New Mexico, USA, four Muslims  — Aftab Hussein, 41; Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27; Mohammad Zahir Ahmadi, 62; and Naeem Hussain, 25 – were killed between November, 2021 and August, 2022.[1]

The police were not pointing at a clear motive; the terrified community was full of speculation. A section of the media and the public were giving this tragedy the familiar racial twist of a “serial killing” by a whiteman targeting immigrants of color. 

Americans – especially the American Muslims – were horrified when they came to know that two Sunni Muslims, Muhammad Syed and his son Shaheen Syed were arrested in connection with the murders.

The serial killing turned out to be a hate-filled sectarian targeting of Shiite Muslims by a disgruntled Sunni Muslim aided by his son. 

Following a report in the New York Times, I wrote the following comment on the incident: [2]

“The mixed ethnicity of Albuquerque [appears to be] is very welcoming, compassionate and supporting to the Muslim immigrants. The anti-Muslim spin to the story will certainly not work here. Our plain-thinking innocent American friends need to understand that a small number of Muslims (refugees, students, escapees from war or conflict-torn areas), steeped in their fundamentalist sectarian Islamism, commit crimes against the non-Muslims at large and oftentimes among themselves. This seems to be the core point of the story the NYT reporters try to bring home. 

The Shia-Sunni conflict is a reality around the world. There are inter-sectarian conflicts in all faiths. But regular bombings of an entire horde of worshippers at Friday mosque mass prayers are sadly found in many Islamic and Muslim-majority countries.

Besides Shia-Sunni, there are many other sects of Islam the orthodox Sunnis are against. Their violent skirmishes are sometimes witnessed in the Western countries as well.

The welcoming Americans, while working for the integration of their immigrant communities into the mainstream, will be well advised to be aware of these considerations.

Members of the Muslim community must also ensure that the sectarian feelings must not flourish in “the rainbow culture” of the West they have embraced.

Thanks to the NYT and its reporters for publishing this report and allowing a discussion apparently on this dangerous mix of ethnicity, crime and Faith. Many pockets of humanity have come under its spell.”

The Islamists’ Denial

After this series of incidents, a representative for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a heavily-funded Islamist lobbying group that was known to have involvement in sponsoring the anti-India, “Dismantling Golbal Hindutva” conference in the US in Sept 2021, tried to sugar-coat the murderous sectarian division within the Muslims. 

He said, “Like Protestants and Catholics, the Sunni and Shiite communities in this country live near each other, work with each other and marry each other in peace,” and added that “there is no significant history of violence at all in the U.S. between Shias and Sunnis.”[3]

The CAIR’s representative didn’t mention that the Shiites, as a minority among Muslims, have been subjected to suspicion and violence by the Sunnis the world over. This hostility originated from the teachings of the hard-line Sunni faith leaders and scholars in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Iran and Iraq are the Shia-led Islamic countries trying to be counterweight to the Sunnis. Poor countries like Yemen are the battlegrounds between the Sunnis (Saudi Arabia) and the Shias (Iran).  

Elsewhere, the Shias are the soft targets of the Sunni Islamists’ violence. Hate speech and violence against the Shia community in Pakistan have caused thousands of deaths. According to one estimate, approximately 4,847 members of the Shia community were killed in religious hate attacks between 2001 and 2018.[4]

In the Islamic month of Muharram, the Shiite mosques and communities around the world are often targets of Sunni Muslim extremists who denigrate Shiites with such slurs as “disbeliever” and “apostate.”[5] 

 Tarek Fatah, a Canadian author and journalist of Pakistani origin, has admitted in several interviews that many of his Shia friends in Canada have either dropped or hidden their last names for fear of being identified as Shia by the Sunni Islamists.[6]  

The Islamic faith and community leaders in north America and Europe have begun to brood over the possibility of rising trend in horrific intra-Muslim sectarian attacks or anti-Muslim hate from fellow Muslims.

At the murder of the Shia Afghan Muslims in Albuqerque, a fellow Afghan Shia Muslim settler, I. Hussain, referred to the discrimination they suffered at the hands of Sunnis in Afghanistan and mourned, “We came all the way from that side of the world because of this whole situation, and now they are doing the same thing they were doing there.”[7]

There were those, however, who would prefer that Muslim sectarianism not be widely discussed. “Some Muslims are saying, ‘Don’t air our dirty laundry,’ because it will impact Islamophobia,” 

When sectarian religious hatred hit the Muslims home, they were now raising their voice understandably against their own people. 

A New York Imam, in a statement, appealed: “Help each of us to be the best of their supporters at this time and to do our part to obliterate hatred in all of its forms, including anti-Shia hatred, even if that means speaking out against those who are close to us.”

Wajahat Ali, in a New York Times opinion piece, wrote that he had expected “grim news from Pakistan, Afghanistan and other Muslim-majority countries about attacks on Shiites, who account for about 15 percent of Muslims worldwide,” but not in America.[8]

However, the Muslim Imams or the learned liberal Muslim intellectuals would never acknowledge that the origin of this kind of a fanatic behavior was Islam and its dangerous cult teachings.

For instance, in one of the Hadees, the founder of Islam, Muhammad, is said to have predicted that his Ummah would be divided into 73 sects, “but only one would be saved”. All Muslim sects happily claimed that their sect was the ‘saved one’ – the naji – and the ‘others’ were destined to hell. This Hadees “divided the Muslim Ummah into two sections: the saved ones and the hell-bound ones.”[9] 

To take another example, the Islamic Hadees scriptures, the preachers’ messages and the centuries old cultural practices based on them brainwash the young Muslim minds to accord subservient status to women whose value and mental faculties were worth half a man’s. 

It was because of the influence of this mindset that Syed, the accused of the Albuquerque serial killing, was so upset about his wife learning how to drive, his daughter dating and marrying a Shia. He sent his son to her daughter’s university classrooms to chaperone her.

There’s no denying that a variant of mental disorder could also be an aggravating factor in such cases, but the Islamist cult is found to be responsible for incubating that disorder. 

Dr Wafa Sultan, a US based doctor of Syrian origin who escaped Islamism years ago and dedicated herself to educating Muslim women to liberate themselves from this faith, asserted that a person was insane or mentally deranged if, after reading the Islamic scriptures including the Quran, didn’t leave Islam.[10] [11]    

It’s this mental disorder that is playing out at the International level. Islamists’ violence, obscurantism and discrimination are a menace everywhere. 

The world is right now saturated with persecution at the hands of the Islamists. Just ask the Copts, Zoroastrians, Jews, Ahmadis, Maronites, Shiias, Assyrians, Hindus and Christians in the Islamic or Muslim-majority countries – many of the groups were either eliminated or are in the process of being driven out. 

The Islamists have now infiltrated the USA and the country will have to be prepared for the repetition of tragic disasters like the 9/11.

References:

[1] 

[2] 

[3] https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/16/opinion/albuquerque-shia-sunni.html ]

[4]

https://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/database/Shias_killed_Pakistan.htm
https://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/database/Shias_killed_Pakistan.htm

[5] https://reliefweb.int/report/afghanistan/bracing-attacks-ashura-extra-security-measures-shia-mourners

[6] 

See many of Tarek Fatah’s interviews including, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aiw4MJ22M2k

[7]

[8]

[9] 

https://www.dawn.com/news/1035023
https://www.dawn.com/news/1035023

[10] https://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/11/world/middleeast/for-muslim-who-says-violence-destroys-islam-violent.html

[11] 

About the Writer:

Originally from Darbhanga, Bihar (India), Dr Binoy Shanker Prasad lives in Dundas, Ontario (Canada). He is a former UGC teacher fellow at JNU in India and a Fulbright Scholar in the USA. Author of scholarly works including a book, Violence Against Minorities, Gandhi in the Age of Globalization (a monograph) and a collection of poems, Dr Prasad has taught at Ryerson University, Centennial College and McMaster University. He has also been the president of Hamilton based India-Canada Society (2006-08 and 2018-20).

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Prasad Binoy
Prasad Binoy
Binoy Shanker Prasad holds a PhD from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Originally from Darbhanga, Bihar (India), Binoy lives with his family in Dundas, Ontario (Canada). He is a former UGC teacher fellow at JNU in India and a Fulbright Scholar in the USA. Author of scholarly works including a book, Violence Against Minorities, Gandhi in the Age of Globalization (a monograph) and a collection of poems, Dr Prasad has taught International Politics and Political Sociology at Ryerson University, Centennial College and McMaster University. He has guest-lectured at such institutions as the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), George Mason Univ., Univ of Madison-Wisconsin, and Redeemer Univ. Socially active, Binoy has also been a two-term president of Hamilton based India-Canada Society (2006-08 and 2018-20).
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