Hoda Yayha Elsoudani's forthcoming saunter though the Sunni-Shii interface looks like it's going to be awesome and I hope it does really well. I think it's going to be Tawhesive (definition). Two cute little girl geniuses ask all sorts of people about the most long running bifurcation within the Muslim Ummah. It is an amazing schism really, because none of us were at Kerbala when the irreversible went down, but is solidifies at times and cloggs up the hope pipes.
Powerful centrifugal forces from within and without continue to work hard to scupper Muslim people's enheightenment, perhaps nowhere more-so than in Syraq over which we here in Londonistan have little real purchase.
The Iraq war protests were the first time that I noticed any significant political difference within UK Muslims on geopolitics at street protests and at university. Folks, moved by Saddam's victimisation of the Shii community and their political power, went quite pro-US intervention.
I imagine this often happens when your back is up against the wall and there seems like there is no escape. In the 70s Bengali Nationalists supplicated to India to deliver them from Pakistan before and after the military crackdown. In the 80s, Mojahedin e Khalq marched into Post Revolution Iran from Iraq. One man's opportunism is another man's something else, and this is common and probably systematic, ummahtic complexity problem in times of collective weakness.
Fast forward a decade, with Syria in civil war, obese petrosheikhs playing silly buggers, the Iraqi regime's victimisation of Sunnis and the fearsome ISIS storyline, and its not unusual for misunderstandings and power plays to compound and sour the mental faculties and limit the growth of relations between brothers.
As well as empathy, I think there is a lot that Sunnis can learn from the Shii experience of being in minority, especially the khums (20% gains tax), which we could use to pool resources for a more autonomy, organisational and intellectual capital. Ali Shariati is an inspiring figure too.
Syraq hosts ~55 million souls, Bangladesh ~155 million souls: Upon all be peace
I am prone to situating myself in Bangladesh, which has a cosmopolitan Muslim heritage, and a primary national culture cleavage is pitched around 1971 as Kerbala. In desh, its the secular liberal Muslims who slaughter other Muslims in the street, dehumanise them, and make money out of their despair.
Like Sabir Mustafa Head of the Bengali World Service at the BBC, and the despicable fuck, who covered up the extent, nature and depravity of Bangladesh government's massacre of unarmed civilian protesters last year, then dressed the victims up like terrorists. Reflecting on how the journalistic, political and security forces of Bangladeshi establishment have murdered, terrorised and mentally stunted the people in Bangladesh, and of hearing of how ISIS summarily executed so many of their former tormentors in the Iraqi security forces, is quite an emotional roller coaster. As a month of nonsecular training and transformation approaches, what counter-sectarian moves might we make to remove the vital threat without becoming it?
The Sushiness of Bengal Muslim heritage is multivalent. Although Mir Jafar, the great traitor who ushered in British corporate-militant ascendancy in South Asia was Shii, so was Sirajudawla, the young ruler that he betrayed. A lot of funds went into the development of Shii Islamic institutions in Najaf from Sunni tenant farmers via their Shii rulers in the past. Syed Amir Ali's 'A Short History of the Saracens' and 'The Spirit of Islam' are still key texts for people with a cerebral Muslim self, more than 100 years after their writing. It is fresh too, limited by what Jamaat e Islami has to offer, and unimpressed with quietist vanilla Islams, young, brave and talented people are exploring the Shii traditions.
The resources and traditions of Islamic people are so rich, I hope that people in desh can help each other find the keys to treasury.... before the Boys of Bangladesh find and twist the fiqh they were looking for...