Thursday, February 23, 2006
Muslim against Muslim!
"This is like 9-11 in the United States." That's what a leading Shi'ite politician told Arabic TV after terrorists entered one of the four holiest Shi'ite shrines in Iraq, the St. Peter’s Cathedral of the Islamic world, planted explosives, and destroyed its golden dome. For Shi'ites, only shrines in Najaf, Karbala, and Baghdad rival Samarra's Golden Mosque.
Unlike America's 9-11, however, Iraq's 2-22 did not engender a feeling of national unity. Shi'ite Muslims quickly blamed Sunnis for the attack. In what has become all too familiar, barbaric Mobs converged on dozens of Sunni mosques and attacked them in revenge - in some cases, killing the harmless keepers inside. Now, as predicted by many, Iraq is close to civil war.
Like the Hatfields and the McCoys which symbolize the backwardness and violence in American history and folklore, Shi'ites and Sunnis have been fighting for a long, long time. In fact, Samarra's Golden Mosque is the burial site of two Shi'ite imams imprisoned by Sunnis during 9th-century sectarian strife. Hence, this long standing clash within Islam is even more apparent with the destruction of the coveted golden-domed Shi'ite shrine.
As of this morning, the attackers are still at large and unknown, but no matter, the incident is sparking reprisals and protests against Sunni Muslims. If the cartoon violence and protest was any measure, Iraq is about to become an extremely violent and treacherous place in the next week - not that it was not already a seething caldron - considering that the St. Peter’s Cathedral of the Islamic world has now been destroyed under the United States military’s watch.
Religious studies 101
Want to learn more? Explore a clickable map of Iraq's holy and historic sites