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Revenge squads stalk streets as war of the mosques tears country apart [View All]

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Colorado Blue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-24-06 11:52 AM
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Revenge squads stalk streets as war of the mosques tears country apart
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ENMITY between Sunnis and Shias dates back almost to the beginnings of Islam. It has not only kept the Muslim world divided: it has fuelled an intractable conflict that is still claiming lives in Iraq, Pakistan and in those countries where religious extremism is stoking atavistic fears and grievances.

The great schism centres on the disputed claims to the caliphate among Muhammads followers after his death. The Prophets cousin, Ali, was deposed by a rival faction, the Omayyads, and fled east, only to be defeated by the avenging army of the winning faction; his son, Hussein, later made a futile stand at Karbala, in modern Iraq, and was killed.

From that moment stems the Sunni majoritys determination to stamp out what it sees as a refusal by recalcitrant dissidents to accept true Islam.

From the bloody defeat also comes the perception by the Shia (Arabic for advocates of Ali) of themselves as the wronged minority waiting to avenge the usurpers, and for the return of the Redeemer or Mahdi the direct descendant of Hussein, said to have disappeared from a cave 11 centuries ago.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,7374-2056164,00...

Interesting background article.
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