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Sunnis, Shiites must learn to play nice • Brooklyn Paper

Sunnis, Shiites must learn to play nice

Imagine if Catholics, Lutherans, Baptists, and the other 33,000 Christian denominations were constantly at war with one another. What then would even be the point of Christianity?

Yet extremist Sunnis and Shiites, who make up Islam’s two divisions, have been at each other’s throats since the death of their Prophet Mohammed 1,382 years ago. Their beef is over his successor: Sunnis believe Mohammed’s companion is his rightful heir, while Shiites feel the honor should go to his cousin, who was also his son-in-law.

The ancient hatreds are ignoble, unnecessary, and out of order. Sunnis and Shiites have inflamed deadly power struggles without any gains, but they have found another outlet for their animosities in Israel and the rest of the free world.

Lingering Muslim resentments are boiling over once more with Sunni terrorists from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria advancing on Baghdad after eradicating Shiites in large swathes of Iraq — once ruled by Sunni Saddam Hussein — and courting a bloody showdown to restore the Muslim caliphate. Conversely, in Kenya extremist Shiite gunmen are traveling door-to-door, quizzing Sunnis about Islam and opening fire if they don’t like the answers.

Stunned world observers can’t help being baffled by and embarrassed for those Muslims who spout brotherhood yet exemplify enmity in a tremendous blow to their famous piety and their pesky claims of persecution in their adopted western homelands. The eternal, infernal bickering between Sunnis and Shiites, who nonetheless unite against the west at every opportunity, is a major global drag.

The Arab Spring withered and died because Muslims preferred to duke it out in the sectarian battlefield instead of forming a just and decent government. The eight-year Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s killed around half a million Muslims and caused several billion dollars worth of damage, but it benefitted neither nation short of allowing both to kill each other through missile attacks and chemical weapons.

Eleven years ago, American and western soldiers gave up their lives to liberate Baghdad in an attempt to alleviate the despair of Iraqi people and free them from the iron fist of a tyrant. But their sacrifices have meant nothing to that land’s extremist Sunnis and Shiites, both of whom form Islam’s deadly arm of holy fighters, ingrates, and quibblers.

There is no simple solution to the Muslim problem, but the free world needs to demand more of so-called moderate Muslims, who must start a peace movement to topple the extremists. It’s high time for them to get off their pious rumps and stop the evil juggernaut.

Follow me on Twitter @BritShavana

Read Shavana Abruzzo’s column every Friday on BrooklynDaily.com. E-mail here at sabruzzo@cnglocal.com.

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