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Published in the 16-31 May 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Criminals in our midst

The attack on a “Shia” mosque in Karachi on 7 May which killed 14 people and injured 50 comes in a long series of similar violent incidents in Pakistan (and Afghanistan where the Taliban had massacred thousands of Hazara Shias and did not desist even from killing Iranian diplomats). 

The aftermath of the attack on the Shia mosque  Karachi

The aftermath of the attack on the 
Shia mosque, Karachi 

Reportedly this was the fourth such attack on a mosque in Pakistan within five days. Reports say that the latest was a suicide bomb in which the criminal terrorist too was killed while exploding his cargo of hate during the prayers in order to cause maximum damage. Someone totally consumed by hate alone can perpetrate such a crime against a sacred place of worship.

One does not know how mosques may be labelled as “Shia” and “Sunni” but this is the reality of the fractured Ummah today, especially in Pakistan, where each community has reared its own private army, or militia, thanks to Gulf money pouring into Sunni hate outfits like Sipah-e Pasdaran-e Sahabah and Laskhkar-e Jhangawi, and Iranian money pouring into Shi’i zealots of Tahrik-e Nafaz-e Figh-e Jaafariah. 

Until very recently even the Pakistani state was hand-in-glove with these terrorist organisations, fighting them off against each other, in the tried and test game of divide-and-rule.

Such people and those who support them do not deserve to be called Muslims. Anyone who helps and promotes divisiveness in the Ummah is an enemy of Islam.

It is useless today to rake up the Shia-Sunni issues. Shias will remain Shia and Sunnis will remain Sunni but all the while they are sons and daughters of one and same Ummah and faith. 

The contentious issues have existed all these fourteen centuries and yet both of them considered each other as Muslims, coexisted and even inter-married with each other in all Muslim communities. 

There are umpteen incidents in places like the Subcontinent, Iraq and Iran where learned Sunni and Shia scholars refused to play to the colonial divide and rule tactics and spurned colonial overtures to exploit them in their game. The present writer too was approached by a Gulf luminary during the height of the Iran-Iraq war with a proposal to establish a research centre in Delhi as a front against Shias, and money was no problem. I flatly rejected this offer the moment it was brought to me by an Arab intermediary who has known me since my Cairo days. Both the luminary and the intermediary are still alive and perhaps feeling ashamed of their past deeds.

Today’s zealot and ignorant Sunni does not know that Imam Abu Hanifah was a disciple of Imam Jaafar al-Sadiq who founded the Jaafari Fiqh of the Shias. Imam Abu Hanifah was jailed and tortured by the Abbasid tyrants for supporting the cause of the blessed Ahl al-Bait, may Allah be pleased with them all.

Those who rake up dead issues are enemies of Islam, of the unity of Muslims and the One Ummah blessed by Allah.

Let us all disown such elements in our midst, Shia or Sunni. They are criminal and cancerous bodies who do not deserve to be part of this Ummah. They are serving the interests and purposes of the enemies of Islam and Muslims.

 Zafarul-Islam Khan

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