Monday, February 27, 2006

On the attack on the shrine of shii Imams

Last Wednesday was a very sad day for millions of Iraqis, both shia and sunni, and millions of shia muslims worldwide. A major shii shrine in the city of Samarra has been blown up in a horrific attack that transformed the beautiful golden dome that used to adorn the city's skyline into shambles [click here for pictures of the shrine before and after the bombing, and here for a overview of the history of the shrine]. Despite calls from Grand Ayatollah Sistani for restraint, angry shii gunmen have reportedly attacked sunni mosques, killing several dozen people. (According to the author of the Iraq the Model blog, angry shia mobs targeted mosques that are known to be attended by takfiri/wahabi/salafi groups, and did not harm mosques belonging to the more traditional iraqi sunnis.)

An image that will remain in my memory for a long time: the one of Abdulghafour Samarrai, a sunni sheikh, leading a protest in Samarra after the explosion, weeping. Thank you sheikh. Your tears came from the heart and gave a good example of how genuine solidarity between fellow muslims across the sectarian divide expresses itself during difficult times. I am sure that, in the absence of salafi zealots [part1, part2], who inflict atrocities on iraqi shia almost everyday, Iraq's problems would find a straightforward way to peaceful settlement.

Update, February 28: Interesting article by Jihad al Khazen in today's al Hayat on the situation in Iraq after the shrine bombing.

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