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I asked you during the break, Faiza, are you Sunni or Shia?
FAIZA AL-ARAJI: I don't like this question. I'm Iraqi. And I'm insisting I am Iraqi. I don't want to use these new titles, have been entered Iraq after Bremer. When he entered Iraq he put this division for the Iraqi people. And we refuse it.
AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean it’s just been introduced? I mean, there is a sense in the media in this country that this is age-old sectarian, almost tribal hatred.
FAIZA AL-ARAJI: Oh, my God. Yeah, they are trying to tell you another story. The reality is there. We are brothers and sisters. We are Muslim, my dear. This is the identity of the nation. We are Muslim. But they are trying to divide the people, to go to the sub-identity, to make a cause of fighting or to provoke the people against each other. And we refuse it.
AMY GOODMAN: Eman?
EMAN AHMAD KHAMAS: Well, the reality is that it never happened in the history of Iraq for thousands, six thousands of years. It never happened, a civil war or these kind of distinctions. It is true that there are in Iraq, there are Kurds, there are Arabs and Sunnis and Shia and the Christians and many other minor religions and groups. But it never happened that we fight each other. No. At all.
The current borders of Iraq and most Middle Eastern nations, such as Syria and Palestine/Israel, were drawn by the conquering Europeans, often with little regard to the preferences of the people who were to live in these newly created nations.
Thus, Iraq became a nation with three large demographic groups; the Sunni Kurds in the north, the Sunni (Sunna) Arabs in the middle of the country, and the Shiite (Shia) Arabs in the south. The Kurds wanted a nation of their own, as did the Kurds living in neighboring Turkey and Iran. Though the British eventually granted full independence to Iraq, it was not without much bloodshed and hard feelings in Iraq about the long occupation. [quote/]
[edit on 9-3-2006 by goose]
The sixth Shi'a imam died during al-Mansur's reign, and there were claims that he was murdered on the orders of the caliph.(Ya'qubi; vol.lll, pp.91-96, and Tarikh Abul Fida', vol. I, p.212.).
Soon, Shias claim, intolerance reached such high levels that even the founder of a Sunni school of law, Abu Hanifah, was imprisoned by al-Mansur and tortured. He also had Ibn Hanbal, the founder of another school of law, flogged. (Ya'qubi, vol.lll, p.86; Muruj al-dhahab, vol.lll, p.268-270.)
Shia sources further claim that by the orders of the tenth Abassid caliph, al-Mutawakkil, the tomb of the third Shia Imam al-Hussain in Karbala was completely demolished (Bihar al-Anwar, vol. XII, on the life of Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq), and Shias were sometimes beheaded in groups, buried alive, or even placed alive within the walls of government buildings still under construction.(Shi'a Islam, p62) Such practices were even carried out during the time of Taliban rule in Afghanistan when "apostates" were executed by being put under collapsing walls. ref The Taliban are an extremist faction and generally equate Shiism with apostasy.
The Shia believe that they thus continued to live for the most part in hiding and followed their religious life secretly without external manifestations.
.... In present-day Iran, while Shi'a religious institutions are encouraged, Sunni institutions are blocked. In 1993 a newly constructed Sunni mosque in Sanandaj was destroyed by a mob of Shi'a zealots. Despite the fact that more than one million Sunnis live in Tehran, many of them Kurds, no Sunni mosque exists to serve their religious needs
... Shias claim that The House of Saud has made no secret of declaring the Shi'a as "not being Muslims", (The Arab Shia, chap1) , or "Mushrik". They claim this is evident from the Shia minority in Saudia Arabia which has absolutely no political power or rights.
.... The Shia suffered indirect and direct persecution under independent Iraqi governments since 1932, especially that of Saddam Hussein. Shia religious leaders have been particularly targeted. "Between 1970 and 1985 the [Baathist] regime executed at least 41 clerics" (ibid, p101), and Shia opposition to the government following the first Gulf War was ruthlessly suppressed.
The Sunni act of ostracizing however is turning out to have serious consequences for the political world as events in Iraq continue to unfold. Iraq is poised to become the first Shi'a ruled state in the Arab world, and Shi'a Iran has shown no hesitation in trying to support Iraq in this way, filling in the vacuum left by Sunni Arab countries.
... and on and on and on.....