By Hussein Al-Rumaithi
Unfortunately, just like any other month, March has been full of grievances, calamities, massacres, domestic conflicts, regional conflicts and direct military intervention. Countries like Iraq, Bahrain, Yemen, Pakistan and Syria are the scenes of civilian casualties and violence, which is only aimed to implement the policies of certain regional powers.
According to reports by Shia Rights Watch 376 Shia Muslims were killed and 165 injured in this country by non-state actors through car bombings, shootings and other violent means. However, due to the advancement of Iraqi forces and paramilitary forces fighting ISIL, many villages and towns were liberated and taken back by the Iraqis. Nonetheless, ISIL fighters and their affiliates increased their vengeance operations in the regions under their control and have persecuted many innocent Shia Muslims there.
Prior to the military intervention of neighboring Gulf countries, Yemeni Shia Muslims were the victims of bombings and suicide attack in mosques and different places, which took the lives of 167 civilians. Islamic State groups claimed responsibility for these attacks and have promised to increase them in the following weeks as well. However, the air strikes in Yemen have resulted in many casualties among civilians as a refugee camp was bombed by the Gulf States jet fighters.
Shia Rights Watch reported 8 cases of beheadings among Shia Muslims in Syria during the month of March, and unfortunately exact numbers of civilian casualties and deaths have not yet been confirmed. However, the takeover of Adlib by Al-Nusra front and other Syrian opposition forces have endangered the lives of many Shia Muslims residing in the surrounding villages of this city. Due to lack of communication methods and information transmission, the conditions of these people is unknown.
As usual Pakistan had to be part of some vicious and violent attacks against Shia Muslims, which took the lives of 8 people and injured many others. On March 20th a bomb was detonated outside a Shia mosque in Karachi. In addition, in Lahore during a march to denounce the accusations against a Shia leader, gun shoots took the lives of several Shia Muslims and injured many more. In a separate incident, on March 9th a radical Islamic group named (Sepah-e-Sahaba) defaced a Shia mosque in Larkana with pro-ISIL graffiti.
Shia Muslims in Bahrain were brutally subjected to numerous brutal actions, which ranged from arrests to torture and injuries during marches and protests. Shia Rights Watch’s report for month of March has indicated that there were 21 new cases of arrests among Shia Muslims and 16 civilians were injured by state forces.
Disturbing voice recording from a speech by the Imam of Mecca Holy mosque was circulated, which has been identified as a Friday sermon by Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al Sudais. This disturbing recording has clear indications of hate and anti-Shi’ism signs and statement, in an attempt to present the current military intervention of Saudi Arabia in Yemen as a war against Shia Muslims. Al Sudais publicly stated that we are in a war against Shia Muslims and they (Saudi Arabia) have all the intentions to declare this war in that manner to eliminate Shia Muslims and (Dogs) of Iran from the (Sunni) lands.
Rest of the Muslim World
Other countries like Morocco, Azerbaijan, Indonesia and United Arab Emirates were part of some unethical and barbaric actions against Shia Muslims as well. Reports from UAE indicated that the government of this country deported 60 Shia Muslims with no prior notice and warning. Disturbing incidents from all over the Middle East and Muslim countries indicate that Anti-Shi’ism tendencies are on the rise and the victims of these actions and policies are innocent and un-affiliated citizens.
By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi
The mutual mean of influence in the world are believed to be religions and media, as they have enormous superiority upon human mind and submissiveness. However, when it comes to the Muslim World, this notion has transformed into unorthodox means, which are influencing the minds of Muslims and Arabs in general. The amount of calamities, hardships, grievances, tension and violence has reshaped the characteristic of a Muslim individual in a way that makes him/her adaptive to the reality, but at the same time makes him/her unable to comprehend necessities and priorities. Therefore, without the ability to comprehend and acknowledge necessities and priorities, any human is exposed to numerous ideologies and tendencies, which are self-centric and rouge in nature.
To simplify these means of influence in the Islamic world at the current time, they can be categorized as following:
Although, religion is one of the biggest factors in influencing masses around the world, the Muslim World is being influence by religious preachers and leaders, who are affiliates of the states and official governing institutions. According to some scholars, Islam and majority of religions are neither violent nor peaceful, as they are bodies of teachings and principles that preach for supplication and submission to an almighty entity. However, Muslims believe that Islam is a religion that promotes peace and prosperity, when majority of Islamic nations are filled with intolerance and violence in its most vicious type. Whether Islam is peaceful or a neutral religion that doesn’t promote peace nor violence, there must be a powerful factor in fueling such instability and violence in this region.
Although Islamic political parties are very active in modern politics of the Middle East, their influence has been active for decades, which has created alternatives for many citizens in numerous nations. Due to the inability of many states to meet standard life necessities and sever corruption and favoritism, these political parties were able to gain momentum through their social and financial networks. In addition, the states started to use the same method as a counter method to influence the masses as well. States have been using religious preachers as a way to contain their masses and gain extra dose of legitimacy in the face of their oppositions, whether Islamic or secular. Therefore, many of the Islamic principles and Quranic verses were taken out of context to legitimize specific policies and decisions, which has made the Islamic World into Muslim World, as Islam is barely evident in modern Middle East.
Media & Mass Communication
The twenty first century introduced many of the modern day methods of communication to vast majority of people around the world, and even rural destinations were able to access some sort of media as well. Therefore, the importance of guiding this specific method to guard the purposes and advantages of the states was very importance and necessary. However, mass communication methods and media networks were not exclusive to states anymore, as many independent groups were able to establish TV channels and media networks to present their own programs and agendas.
The current number of TV networks in the Middle East is believed to be anywhere between 600 and 1000 TV channels and media networks, and some of them are operating around the clock. These networks represent states, sects, religions, political parties, ethnicities, linguistic groups and ideologies in an attempt to gain as much supporters and sympathizers as possible. The notion of promoting a certain ideology or religion is entirely fine, as all individuals and groups are entitled to express themselves in all peaceful methods. However, the enormous amount to exposure is creating a new generation, which deciding to ignore its surrounding and isolate themselves. This notion is extremely dangerous, since it implications would enable states to cross all limits as a sizable portion of the population is deciding to sit aside and marginalize itself.
This method originally starts as a way to contain the masses and deter them from any notion of challenge, uprising, un-cooperativeness or opposition, which has been used by vast majority of Middle Eastern regimes. However, by adopting this method as a legitimate and continuous way to contain the population, the state will create a notion of abidance and subjective ignorance among its masses. Coercive methods will automatically program the masses to electively adopt the official position of the state as a legitimate approach, as any other decision will result in persecution, displacement and many others unpleasant consequences. Therefore, coercive methods and deterrent means have been the shortest path to influence the masses, although this method can be extremely catastrophic in case of revolution and regime change, as vengeance and grievance would prevent social advancement.
Unfortunately, global political tendencies and complex mutual interests have made the notion of transition and social development very hard in the Middle East, as the Muslim World is still in the phase of exploring priorities. Therefore, it will be a while before, actual transitions and transformations are witnessed in this part of the world.