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Moharrams Message for Anti Shia Leaders

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In the midst of ISIS intimidation in the area, Shia Muslims unite under the flag of Hussain, the third Shia Imam. Shia populations of Baghdad come together in Moharram to commemorate the death of Imam Hussain, honoring the martyrdom of a man who fought for freedom and justice for all. The unification of the Shia majority has instilled fear in the nation’s Sunni minority. In examination, one must ask how and why a united Shia front instills angst in the Sunni minority of this nation. Despite centuries of discrimination worldwide against Shia practices, Shia still stand for their beliefs and show no sign of backing down. A united front is exactly what this nation needs in response to the massacres carried out by ISIS and other extremist organizations, and while Shia populations strive for unification against such terror groups, they are held under constant criticism.

1.400 years ago, Hussain’s 72 person army stood against the 140,000 army of the oppressive regime of his time in a land called Karbala. Hussains campaign for freedom has withheld the aversion of centuries, inspiring Shia unification against oppression and violence towards humanity. At least for a duration of a month in the year, Shia Muslims openly campaign against the terror of their time, yet as they stand for their beliefs, they are killed and eradicated. In 2014 alone, tens of people were killed all over the world, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Iraq, and even in the western nation of Australia. Mourners are targeted and massacred for their show of support for freedom.

Despite their peaceful campaign, Shia alliance is seen as a threat in the eyes of anti-Shia leadership. After centuries of enduring oppression, the Shia majority has finally come to power in Iraq, and still they face great criticism of sectarian support. One may say the enragement of Sunni populations is of a fear that the now in power Shia leaders will do to them as the Sunni leadership did and continues to do to Shia Muslims worldwide. They marginalized the Shia for generations and now they fear revenge. Little do they know, Shia Islam is that of kindness and peace.

Despite living under pressure for thousands of years, they have made it their aim to stand for their rights and are persistent in striving for Democracy. A rise of Shia power means an end to oppressive regimes, and that threatens the dictatorship of many majority Sunni nations. Throughout history, the Shia have proven their peaceful yet persistent opposition of oppressive dictators, Sunni populations have bowed their head to any and every rising regime of power. The flag of Hussain and his campaign for justice should not be that of intimidation but that of hope. Hussain fought for the right to choice, a deserved morale for anyone and everyone, yet by some, Shia fellowship in Moharram is called a support for “sectarianism”.

Hussains venture in Karbala should be examined for what it truly was: a stand for integrity. Moharram provides an opportunity to reexamine our values towards human rights and inspires us to withstand the tyrant of our time. Commemorations during this holy month is not that of intimidation, but a reminder for all to unite in the fight for human rights.

Therefore, our message for Anti-Shia leaders is to stop feeling threatened by this commemoration but instead join the effort to stop radicalization in their states.

By Zhara Akhwand

November 14, 2014

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