Shia / Sunni blood letting

#1
Now I've read that the split into these two factions of Islam happened early and centred on succession to the Prophet (may his name be praised etc)

I also understand that the Shia's endured a right kicking under Saddams' Sunni centric regime.

What I don't understand are the motors that continue to drive the Sunni/Shia conflict.

What is at stake and what are the "goals"?

I read that killing fellow muslims is a very bad thing for a good muslim to do - so unless the other faction don't count how is it justified by the clerics?

Can't we all be nice to each other?
 
#2
I should imagine that it is justified in the same way that the protestents and catholics burning each other at the stake was justified
 
#3
The other sect are "not real Muslims"...
 
#5
Yes, some sects do consider other sects not to be real Muslims, and the real extremists even go as far as considering other sects as apostates.
 
#6
To be fair, this does not only happen in Iraq. Sunnis are forever kicking the Shia population in Pakistan, for instance - there was a bomb outside a Shia mosque earlier this year
 
#7
I'd imagine a lot of it has to do with the struggle for political power both locally and nationally.

Just like the Catholics and Prods in NI - there's a basic religious disagreement but it gets caught up with conflicts between particular families, tribes and political factions. It also gets stoked by people from outside the region, which leads to finger-pointing in both directions. Sunnis will accuse Shias of being the puppets of Iran, Shias accuse Sunnis of being backed by radical Saudis and other nationalities.

Religion is a factor for sure but it's also ethnic cleansing and political conflict.
 
#8
Throw the Kurds, who can be either Sunni or Shia, but are universally hated, into the mix, and you have a farcical trilateral orgy of killing and retribution.

"Splitters!" :roll:
 
#9
Religion is a convenience for many people throughout the world to justify their abject hatred for someone similar to themselves for no other good reason.
 
#10
They are obeying the one eternal paradigm of nation building - someone has to win.

Just as we failed to convince a bunch of scared, poverty-stricken, pre-enlightenment arabs and persians about the Bruckheimer-esque joys of Democracy, so too we forgot to tell them that (since 24 Oct 1945) we no longer slaughter our enemies in order to gain the upper hand and ensure we retain it for the next thousand years.

Come to think of it, we forgot to tell a lot of people that over the years. Ooopsy. Pretty much every nascent nation has gone through a bloody struggle for power at some point or other. Sorry, they're wiki links - but to illustrate a point, they include a certain handful of fracas between 1642-51 and another set at 1861-65.

The only thing that has changed is that we plant a couple of thousand blokes in between the factions nowadays and say "Stop that - it's naughty. Yes it may bring you unfettered power, but how about trying democracy? What's that Ahmed? Well of course you'll still be dirt poor, but look how pretty your politicians would be! mmmm hairspray....."

The only way that option works is if we keep the factions apart long enough and get them to (re)build their communities and infrastructures sufficently for them to see the light themselves. "Splendid - that's exactly what we're doing!" Yes, but...

Mandela, for all his faults, came up with an idea that in order for sectarian/interfaction warfare to cease, an entire generation has to drop its weapons and stand still until the sense of victimhood and desire for revenge has passed by and the next generation is born without the preprogrammed need to wage war on the next door neighbour. A generation - 25 years? And that's from the moment they decide to stop slotting each other, we're nowhere near that yet.

So, if we can't pull out (and we absolutely cannot) and if this paradigm stands, we either need to pick a side and by Bungle make sure it wins (neither pretty nor particularly moral), or stick it out. For a long time.

For us to do that, the politicos need to stop playing Celebrity Strictly Come Dancing and start preparing this country for a couple of long wars, otherwise the population won't get why we're there and will buckle. Then we'll have two failed states, well armed and very angry, and many more terrorists that will exploit the western multicultural ideal to give us a proper kicking.
 
#11
Man alive, RTFQ, funny stories AND incisive geopolitical analysis!

You're spot on that, to some extent, this is a natural stage in the process of state formation. I think the religious aspect also needs to be incorporated - there is a theologiographical (sic) process going hand in hand with the political one here. Just as Christianity went through a stage of violently exporting its ideology (the Crusades), so Islam is undergoing the same process, at a roughly comparable stage in its development. It's probably exacerbated by the martial origins of Islam, in contrast to the early development of Christianity, which did not become congruent with the state until the conversion of Constantine in the early C4th.

Obviously, this is a highly processual approach, and many other factors can be added to the mix - the effect of globalisation, the interaction of two religions/worldviews at different stages of their development, the role of the media and of modern technology, just as a few examples - but it seems to have some sort of analytical utility.

In sum, Shi'a and Sunni continue to be split because splits are a natural part of the development of a religion, and of a nation (I'm happy to talk about 'the Islamic nation', to a certain extent; 'the Islamic state' is a misnomer); the problem is that the effects of these natural processes are spilling into the rest of the world, as 'the West' becomes cast as 'the Other' for Muslims, particularly Arab Muslims, and as the Enlightenment ideal of 'liberal democracy' becomes entangled with other geopolitical objectives for 'the West' - particularly the importance of the oil supply.

sm.
 
#12
smithie said:
Just as Christianity went through a stage of violently exporting its ideology (the Crusades), so Islam is undergoing the same process, at a roughly comparable stage in its development.
I agree with everything you said bar this. I'm no apologist for Islam - those feckers need to wake up and do some housecleaning, just as non-muslims need to apply some windoline to their world-view - but i don't think we're seeing a culture-wide violent take-over bid.

Violent extremism of all types, religious in particular, is the mad/bad&sad's reaction to an encroaching irreligious world that is modernising faster than they like (particularly if it takes their power away in the process). Just as the potential suicide can look to his religion and find a reason to put the razorblade down, the attention-seeking narcissist can look to his religion in the face of being slighted, diminished and invaded by an 'evil' new world and find reason to pick up his AK and kill children. It's the reaction of a particularly mental antibody, not a widely held agenda.

Jihad in its pacifist form is different, that's a form of struggle against the evils within and those of the rest of the world and it includes a type of evangelism that, although certainly culture-wide and an 'agenda', is not really different from christian evangelism: "The world is bad, you've got to fight to keep that badness at bay - and try to turn those around you to the 'joys' of God(SWT or otherwise)."

The rest is one tribe trying to get its kicks in to the other side whilst it's down, so it can set itself up as the daddy for the forseeable future. The religion/state struggle is certainly one big comparable hoop they've yet to jump through, and whoever wins that will dictate what comes next.
 
#13
Fair point smithie.

However, I don't know if you can talk about Islam being in a "roughly comparable stage in its development" as European Christianity in the Middle Ages because that raises the danger of regarding Islam as backward and medieval. Let's not forget that Christianity (despite starting off with a man who got nailed to a tree for telling us all to love each other) can be pretty bloodthirsty too. :)

Besides which, who's to say we're not still violently exporting our own "religion" of democracy and free markets to people who are already put off by the whole caboodle?
 
#14
"Out Group" psychology is critical in allowing for the vilification and categorisation along prejudicial lines of whole groups of people. Obviously the "in-group" / "out-group" dynamic is obvious to anyone in a uniform.

My original post was asking how the apparent "in-group" homogenity of Islam could be so fragile as to allow for the intra nicene conflict we see. Stoatman makes the point the within the Broad church/mosque of Islam there is still space of "out-grouping" as Yellow Devil et al pointout was characteristic of Christian denominations / cultures / nation states.

So with so many fault lines and lack of empathy (to allow for the lowering of group boundaries) will we see 25 years worth of group on group conflict or what would the catalystss be for change?

Obviously the idea that a democratic government will lower "out-group" boundaries is a start it's clearly not immediately impactful.




editud fur shot spilling
 
#15
There's no easy answer to this question
 
#16
RTFQ said:
smithie said:
Just as Christianity went through a stage of violently exporting its ideology (the Crusades), so Islam is undergoing the same process, at a roughly comparable stage in its development.
I agree with everything you said bar this. I'm no apologist for Islam - those feckers need to wake up and do some housecleaning, just as non-muslims need to apply some windoline to their world-view - but i don't think we're seeing a culture-wide violent take-over bid.

Violent extremism of all types, religious in particular, is the mad/bad&sad's reaction to an encroaching irreligious world that is modernising faster than they like (particularly if it takes their power away in the process). Just as the potential suicide can look to his religion and find a reason to put the razorblade down, the attention-seeking narcissist can look to his religion in the face of being slighted, diminished and invaded by an 'evil' new world and find reason to pick up his AK and kill children. It's the reaction of a particularly mental antibody, not a widely held agenda.

Jihad in its pacifist form is different, that's a form of struggle against the evils within and those of the rest of the world and it includes a type of evangelism that, although certainly culture-wide and an 'agenda', is not really different from christian evangelism: "The world is bad, you've got to fight to keep that badness at bay - and try to turn those around you to the 'joys' of God(SWT or otherwise)."

The rest is one tribe trying to get its kicks in to the other side whilst it's down, so it can set itself up as the daddy for the forseeable future. The religion/state struggle is certainly one big comparable hoop they've yet to jump through, and whoever wins that will dictate what comes next.
I think we differ in that you see Islamic extremism as a reaction to factors from outside Islam ('an encroaching irreligious world that is modernising faster than they like'), while I prefer to see it as a reflection of tensions within Islam. In all probability, both approaches have a point - or, at the very least, both views will have a historical school backing them up in 200 years time! To my mind, just as the Crusades were launched by Urban II as - in part - an attempt to resolve tensions within European Christianity, so the rise of Islamic fundamentalism/Islamism/Islamofascism/Islamic terrorism etc is closely linked to a comparable attempt to define what Islam is really about. I'm not saying that it's a 'culture-wide violent take-over bid', and perhaps that was a misleading turn of phrase. Rather, I'd look at the phenomenon of Islamic fundamentalism as part of a necessary negotiation of Islamic identity, which Christianity also went through via similar means.

The issue is that 'the West' has become caught up in this, partly due to historic involvement in the Middle East, partly due to the need for energy security and partly because it becomes a convenient 'Other' for some sections of the Islamic community (in its widest sense). 'The West' also ties in to the idea of 'democracy' and is laying claim to the idea of 'freedom,' so those come under comparable assault.

sm.
 
#17
Smithy, I have to object somewhat to your timeline and analysis.

Islam was militarily expansionist from the word go. Mohammed was essentially a warlord, spreading his faith by the sword. After his death, his followers continued his "convert, submit, or die" ethos. Islam's early military successes were taken by its devout followers as proof that God did indeed smile upon them (and in fact a lot of the push towards an older, "purer" form of Islam is a result of this -- the fact that the Middle East is a ghastly poo hole is seen by some that they are not following Islam correctly and got no longer likes them and that they should go back to the older form when God gave them victories).

Islam was not just minding its own business when one day it found itself with large armies at Poitiers in France and at the gates of Vienna, and with the whole of the Iberian peninsular in its grasp. It wasn't like one day they were minding their business tending their goats in the Arabian Peninsula and then suddenly they were there, sword in hand looking in Vienna and saying "my word, Abdul, whatever it was we were smoking that night was rather spiffing, what? Where the hell are we anyway? Oh well, while we're here we might as will be martyred and get our filthy mitts on those 72 virgins, as well as some of those delightful Viennese whirls."

Christianity in its early days by contrast was a persecuted faith, and was largely spread by conviction. The Reconquista and first Crusade were the logical responses to the mediaeval equivalent of "Houston we have a problem, " when there was a sudden realisation that not only had the Arabs swallowed up the holy land, but they had also invaded large chunks of continental Europe and were threatening its heartland.

Revisionists often forget this, and present the first Crusade as an unprovoked attack of Christian expansionism into traditionally Islamic lands (also forgetting that Islam is 700 years younger than Christianity and thousands of years younger than Judaism in the regions in question.). It was certainly spun at the time as a war to liberate the holy lands from the heathen Musulman.

Whenever someone whinges about the Crusades, ask them politely exactly what the massed armies of the Religion of Peace (tm) were doing outside Vienna.
 
#18
stoatman said:
On Islam as permanently militaristic and expansionist
I'm not disputing Islam's military origins - in my original post I explicitly contrasted them with the origins of Christianity (something I'm much better informed about).

But I'm afraid that your chronology is grossly misleading. Poitiers was in 732, over 300 years before the Crusades, and Vienna was either 1529 or 1683, depending on which one you're referring to.

I'm not denying that Islam's origins were military in nature, or that that's been a constant theme in its history. I stick by my claim that it is impossible to understand the Crusades without acknowledging the negotiation of Christian identity that was occurring at the time. I suggest that the Muslim occupation of the Holy Land was the occasion, and not the cause, of the Crusades - or at least, not the prime cause.

In the same way, the perceived American favour towards Israel, the presence of US troops in the Middle East and so on were not the cause of 9/11 and Islamic fundamentalism; rather, Islamic fundamentalism originates from within Islam. The emergence of Islamic fundamentalism is a symptom of the re-definition within Islam - and yes, as RTFQ says, partially that's to take account of a changing and secular world, but it's also a natural process within the religion itself.

sm.
 
#19
only one word descrcibes what is happening. SECT for that is what they all are, no matter the religion. You have splits anywhere. And they will fight each other where ever they are. Take the point, who likes Jehovahs? or name a country, any country, that has does not have a prejudice(?) It's there every day, just some people take the urine! taxi is still waiting
 
#20
LostBoss said:
What I don't understand are the motors that continue to drive the Sunni/Shia conflict.
These motors are extremists who have nothing better to do. Other sunnis and shia are busy working, while a small minority feels like blowing the crap out of people who are far better than themselves.

From what I've heard, insurgents are often people who already suffer from mental and neurological problems, drug addictions, or are

There are 2 mosques in my local area (one Shia and the other Sunni) who have a monthly get-together to celebrate diversity.
 

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