Meet A Muslim: Moina Shaiq (Part Four)

Among Moina Shaiq’s other claims is that the Shias and Sunnis always lived peacefully together until recently, when “politics” turned them against one another. It’s unclear if she wants to blame the Infidels for this. But as a matter of history, she is wrong. The Shias and Sunnis have been sworn enemies since the battle of Karbala in 680. They may live “together,” but not, as Moina Shaiq would have it, “peacefully.” Sunnis have persecuted Shi’a, and continue to do so, in many places.

In Iraq, after the Mongol conquest in 1248, the Shi’a were blamed by many Sunnis for the Arab defeat  and killed as a consequence.

During  the Ottoman period, hundreds of thousands of Shia were killed in Anatolia.

In India, and especially in Kashmir, Shia were subject to persecution and murder by Sunnis. Plunder, looting and killing by the Sunnis came to be known as ‘Taarajs” that virtually devastated the large community of Shi’a in Kashmir. History records 10 such Taarajs, also known as “Taraj-e-Shia,” between the 15th and 19th centuries, in 1548, 1585, 1635, 1686, 1719, 1741, 1762, 1801, 1830, and 1872. During Taarajs, Shia habitations were plundered, people killed, libraries burnt, and sacred sites of the Shi’a desecrated. The community, due to their difficulties, began the practice of Taqiyya in order to preserve their lives.

Pakistan’s Sunnis have in recent times renewed these anti-Shi’a attacks. A Sunni terrorist group, Sipah-e-Sahaba, targets Shi’a mosques and madrasas and murders Shi’a professionals, such as doctors and engineers, who might be potential leaders of the Shi’a community.

In Xinjiang, China, the Sunni Muslims in centuries past enslaved the Shi’a Muslims, who were both religiously and ethnically distinct. They even sold them in the slave markets in Khotan.

In Saudi Arabia, the Shi’a of the Eastern Province, in al-Hasa and Qatif, have faced long-term religious and economic discrimination. They have routinely been denounced as heretics, traitors, and non-Muslims. Shias have been accused of sabotage, most notably for bombing oil pipelines in 1988. Many Shia have been summarily executed. In response to the perceived threat of Iran, the Saudi government has collectively punished the Shia community by placing even more restrictions on their freedoms and marginalizing them economically. The ulema — clerics — have been given permission to sanction violence against the Shia. Fatwas passed by the country’s leading cleric, Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz, have denounced the Shias as apostates. Another fatwa, by Adel-Rahman al-Jibrin, a member of the Higher Council of Ulama, explicitly sanctioned the killing of Shias. This call for murdering Shi’a was reiterated in Salafi religious literature as late as 2002. The execution of a leading Shi’a cleric in 2016 was part of this campaign of repression. In Saudi Arabia, there has been systematic discrimination, without let-up, of the Shi’a in religion, education, justice, and employment. And the country’s anti-Shi’a effort has only intensified as a result of the threat from Shi’a Iran. The Saudis have spent billions spreading anti-Shi’a propaganda throughout the Muslim world.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban had just begun a campaign to wipe out the Shi’a Hazara when the Americans arrived and, by attacking the Taliban, rescued the Hazara. But if the Sunni Taliban make a comeback, as they now give signs of doing, one can be sure that they will renew their war, as uber-Sunnis, on the Shi’a Hazara.

In Pakistan a terrorist group, Sipah-e-Sahaba, exists to attack Shi’a mosques and madrasas, and to kill Shi’a professionals such as engineers and doctors.

Unsurprisingly, where the Shi’a are in the majority, as they are in Iran, it is the Sunnis who face discrimination and persecution. Some have been executed for — supposedly — spreading Sunni Islam; attacks on Sunni worship sites have been reported.

Pace  Moina Shaiq, Sunnis and Shi’a have not been  “living peacefully side by side” for centuries but, rather, they have been at war for more than 1300 years, since the battle of Karbala. The levels of violence have varied over time, and place, but never have the two sects lived in harmony, or as she claims, “peacefully.”

If you can manage to attend one or more of Moina Shaiq’s presentations, come prepared. Be ready to discuss with her the claim that “there is no compulsion in [the Islamic] religion.” Ask her what she makes of the status of dhimmi, and whether the desire to escape its onerous disabilities might explain why many non-Muslims over time converted to Islam. Ask her why she thinks the death penalty for Muslim apostates does not constitute “compulsion in religion.” Ask her if she believes Muslims see Christians and Jews as their brothers, and how that squares with the Qur’anic command “not to take Christians and Jews as friends.” Ask her how else one can explain the 1400-year history of Muslim violence against Unbelievers, if not by the clear commands to wage Jihad  in more than a hundred verses in the Qur’an. Have ready, and read out, a dozen such verses, including 9:5, 9:29, 8:12, 8:60, 2:191. Her auditors should be surprised, and alarmed, at this revelation of violence and hate. Ask Moina Shaiq what effect she thinks the statement by Muhammad, the Perfect Man, that “I have been made victorious through terror,” has had on Muslims in the past, and right now, with members of Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, Hamas, and Hezbollah. Ask her if she thinks “domestic life” in Islam can really be described as non-violent, given that husbands can “beat” their wives if they are disobedient (4:34) and can punish their wives and daughters if they dishonor the family, and in the case of these so-called  “honor killings,” in Muslim countries the killer can go unpunished or lightly punished.

These are some of the disturbing queries that can spoil a Meet-A-Muslim event, just by exposing the audience to Qur’anic verses, and Hadith passages, of which it was unaware, and forcing that audience to think. Make your own list of questions — above are a few  possibilities that come immediately to mind — and practice asking them in the most ingratiating, youth-wants-to-know manner. And then go out to upset the applecart of predictable taqiyya. Think of it as a public service which, as a matter of fact, it most certainly is.

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