World Shia Forum

Identity, Equality, Unity

The more they target us, the louder I will say ‘I am Shia’ – by Zainab Imam

Pakistani Shia Muslim mourners sit beside the coffins of blast victims at a mosque following overnight twin suicide bombings in Quetta on January 11, 2013. A string of bombings in Pakistan including a twin suicide attack on a snooker hall used by Shia Muslims has left 114 people dead, in one of the deadliest days to hit the nation in years. PHOTO: AFP

Pakistani Shia Muslim mourners sit beside the coffins of blast victims at a mosque following overnight twin suicide bombings in Quetta on January 11, 2013. A string of bombings in Pakistan including a twin suicide attack on a snooker hall used by Shia Muslims has left 114 people dead, in one of the deadliest days to hit the nation in years. PHOTO: AFP

Over 90 of us perished on January 10, 2013. 

I don’t mean Pakistanis, I mean Shias.

As much as it pains me to identify myself as something before a Pakistani, this state seems to have left us little choice.

Since the age of 15, when my parents decided to let me be and decide for myself how far I wanted my religious identity to go, I have been attending fewer and fewer majaalis every year.

In some part, it has to do with the fact that I got busy building a career for myself, but in some part it was also because I started wondering if the philosophy of marking Muharram as a way of protest really was relevant to today.

I was always aware that Shias were held as kafirs in many households in my own city and perhaps neighborhood. I also knew that they were being target killed in this country we call home, and I have lost family to it, but I still thought that we may have moved past it.

That was the time when Musharraf was in power. In the haze of his enlightened moderation, my teenage self felt safe. So I stopped going to the juloos as regularly. I also stopped taking Muharram so seriously.

Then, in 2009, the juloos was attacked. Instead of commiserating with us, many of our friends started blaming us for the violence against us. The juloos should be moved out of the city, they suggested. While I gingerly considered the idea, my parents and many other Shias I knew were vehemently opposed to it.

I thought they were clinging to tradition…

Three years later, after spending a terror-filled Muharram each year and losing thousands of more Shias to brutal targeted attacks, I realised that what I had earlier dismissed as ‘tradition’ was as relevant as ever.

I questioned: why shouldn’t the protest continue?

That is why I, a latent member of the Shia community, decided to observe Muharram this year. This was my way of saying “no” to the terrorists; of supporting religious diversity in my country. I have no intention of ever trying to convince anyone that my belief is purer than theirs, but I have every intention to tell everyone that my belief never has and never will let the Yazidi armies take over Pakistan.

The protest is still alive, and we are still living what we have been mourning for hundreds of years. Imam Hussain (RA’s) followers, in  principle or even in ritual, are out on the streets today to fight the way Imam Hussain (RA) did. And they are dying for it just as Imam Hussain did.

I never really needed a reason to become sure of my belief, but now I have found one.

I only wish it didn’t have to be so violent.

Save us.

Save religious diversity in this country.

Save your right to dissent from the majority.

Save your country from soaking in the blood of the ongoing genocide of its people.

This post originally appeared here.

Read more by Zainab here or follow her on twitter @zainabimam 

About alitaj

5 comments on “The more they target us, the louder I will say ‘I am Shia’ – by Zainab Imam

  1. Izaj Rehman
    January 12, 2013

    We need to learn from others, if you hear jewish jokes they suggest that may be their forefathers killed Jesus we did not so they managed to divert their followers attention from being hostile to Christians to becoming friends with them. Similarly we need to start somewhere and tell our folks not to curse Prophet’s beloved Sahabas and dear friends ever if only to stop the hostility. Shia Ulemas should get together with others and agree not to call bad names to the dear friends of Prophet and start preaching that all friends of our Prophets were dear to our Prophet and are indeed dear to us and please stop hostilities.

    • Samir Delvira
      January 12, 2013

      Asalamu Alikum brother/sister
      We never cursed any companions of Prophet (PBUH&HF), in mosque or outside the mosque. Allah (SWT) is the judge.

      Inshallah you will do your search, and don’t get influenced by Wahhabi and salafi people.

      We shia’s are the brave followers of Islam. The followers of Prophet Mohammad and His Ahlulbayt. If any one threatens to kill us then come forth.

      We will not comprimise our relgion just because someone has threatened to kill us.

      Wassalam

  2. Hassan
    January 12, 2013

    @Ijaz: Cursing Sahaba is not the faith of Shia School of Thought. If anyone do so, then he/she shall be questioned? And not the whole Shia Muslims. What we are witnessing now is that, they <The Wahabi / Salafi School of Thought) preaching to slaughter every Shia if you want to reserve a place in Heaven. And therefore the Shia Muslim Massacre is going on in Pakistan under the elite leadership of Wahabi Puppets. Tell me, where in Quran is written to Murder everyone if any single is responsible? Quran is all about Justice and Equity. Islam teaches us very clearly that better to forgive, but if you take revenge then make sure it should not exceed the boundary of Justice otherwise you will be held responsible and will be considered as oppressors. And place for oppressor is Hell.

    They bombs whole area of Shia Muslims to conduct Genocide. In these blasting there are Women and Children are among dead. Tell me, Don’t our Great Prophet (P.B.U.H) told in wars make sure not to harm Women, Children and Elderlys of the Enemies? Whereas Hundreds of Thousands of Women and Children and Aged people are killed by Wahhabi minded evils of Pakistan. And yet they wish for reserving a place in heaven? No, Not at all, they never wished for heaven. All they wished is for securing worldly wealth ($$$) and adultery. And they do this by brainwashing teenage under the pretext of Heaven for committing suicide and killing millions of innocents.

  3. Hurriyyat Rezavi
    January 12, 2013

    @ Ijaz our holy prophet on Fateh Macca had categorically stated that not even a tree would be harmed in the process of invasion of Macca, let alone the humans be killed or butchered in the name of Islam he had stated and that statement by the way remains a policy statement that of our great Prophet PUBH he said “I am in KABA who ever comes there is in peace and [ironically he stated] some one goes to Abu Sufiyan’s (remember he was the mammoth of an opponemt of Muhammad Rasul Allah PUBH and his faith Islam) house would be in peace” for who ever would have gone to the house of Abu Sufiyan would be from the followers of Bannu Ummaeyya & confederates who were die hard against our prophet… we are the followers of Muhammad’s doctrines and teachings of peace and justice. We believe in justice that is what Islam is all about JUSTICE. You dont kill the whole group for some one specific’s misdeeds that is sheer injustice which Islam is not all about.

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