Identity, Equality, Unity
Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress and author of the book Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State, says that by dwelling on the inherent differences between fundamentalist Sunnis and Shias, Western governments and media have overlooked an obvious similarity.
Radicals on both sides believe “that the world should be under a caliphate,” or Islamic state, he says.
“The difference is, will it be under the Islamic doctrines of the Shia or the Sunni? That’s a long-term division. But both agree on the doctrine of jihad.”
Last Monday, the RCMP arrested Chiheb Esseghaier of Montreal and Raed Jaser of Toronto, accusing them of planning an attack on a Via passenger train and alleging that the plotters had support from al-Qaeda in Iran.
Over the years, the Iranian government has been implicated in attacks carried out by Shia extremist groups, including Hezbollah in Lebanon, but many commentators expressed disbelief that Iran would ever collaborate with a Sunni group such as al-Qaeda.
Fatah says that many people in Western institutions such as government, academia and the media have fallen for the “narrative” that because of a history of sectarian bloodshed, radical Sunnis and Shias couldn’t possibly collaborate.
He says it’s true, for example, that bin Laden viewed the Shias as non-Muslims, but bin Laden also considered the establishment of a global Islamic state more important than dwelling on sectarian differences, which is why he never fought the Iranians. “Osama might never have collaborated with Iran, but the Iranians were co-operating with al-Qaeda,” Fatah says.
As further proof of Iranian co-operation with al-Qaeda, Fatah cites an example involving Ahmed Said Khadr, the late father of Canadian-born extremist Omar Khadr and a known al-Qaeda operative. According to Michelle Shepherd’s 2008 book, Guantanamo’s Child: The Untold Story of Omar Khadr, Ahmed drove his daughter, Zaynab, to Tehran so she could marry another al-Qaeda member.
Source: Al-Qaeda and Iran ‘agree on the doctrine of jihad, By Andre Mayer, CBC News Posted: Apr 30, 2013, http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2013/04/29/f-al-qaeda-iran-shia.html?cmp=rss
Tarek Fatah’s assumptions dangerous for Shias worldwide. He is suggesting that Shia themselves are complicit in Shia genocide at the hands of Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda affiliated Takfiri Wahhabi-Deobandi groups in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere. Roughly this resembles Goebbels blaming Jews for their own Holocaust at the hands of Hitler’s Nazir murderous apparatus.
Tarek is also presenting a false Sunni-Shia binary by stereotyping Al Qaeda as representative of Sunni Muslims obfuscating the fact that Al Qaeda (and affiliated Taliban, Ikhwan and other violent Jihadist groups) represent only a tiny Takfiri Salafist-Wahhabi-Deobandi Jihadist minority and as such do not represent the vast majority of moderate Sunni Sufi (Barelvi) Muslims. In fact, right from Pakistan to Mali, Libya to Syria, tens of thousands of Sunni Sufi Muslims have been killed by Takfiri Deobandi-Wahhabi operatives of Al Qaeda and its various offshoots and affiliates.
Tarek also dangerously stereotypes all Shias as Iranians (a favourite tactic of Saudi and other Arab dictators to suppress their own indigenous Shia population, and also of the Sipah Sahaba terrorists in Pakistan to justify violence against Shias by describing them as Iranian agents), hiding the fact that majority of Shias in Pakistan and other parts of the world following Shia clerics (Ayatollahs) in Najaf (Iraq) than Qum (in Iran). He also hides the fact that Iranaian theocratic regime does not represent all Iranians nor does it represent all Shias.
By connecting Al Qaeda’s terrorist acts and intentions with Iran, Tarek Fatah is making yet another faulty and prejudicial assumption. It is an assumption that lacks substance but is likely to hurt Shias worldwide.
Unfortunately, these assertions by Fatah are obfuscatory and dishonest on many different levels.
1. Osama Bin Laden does not need to tolerate sectarian differences – he and his group simply eliminate them. While Fatah’s ridiculous claims are unsubstantiated, this is what Osama Bin Laden’s main deputy in Iraq, Abu Musab Zarqawi, had to say about Shias: “Kill all of them”. In September 2005, he declared “all-out war” on Shia in Iraq after the Iraqi government offensive on insurgents in the Sunni town of Tal Afar. He dispatched numerous suicide bombers throughout Iraq to attack American soldiers and areas with large concentrations of Shia population. Zarqawi’s second wife, Isra, was 14 years old when he married her. She was the daughter of Yassin Jarrad, a Palestinian Islamic militant, who is blamed for the killing in 2003 of Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim, the Iraqi Shia leader. Zarqawi’s biggest atrocities in Iraq included the attacks on the Shia shrines in Karbala and Baghdad in March 2004, which killed over 180 people, and the car bomb attacks in Najaf and Karbala in December 2004, which claimed over 60 lives. http://www.aljazeera.com/archive/2005/09/200849143727698709.html
2. Making such claims is a typical tactic to cloak the overt and covert support of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE. As per his own public profile, Tarek Fatah spent nearly 11 years there between Pakistan and Canada. Given that Tarek has been seen in a number of anti-Israel anti-semitic rallies before his current convenient pro-Israel cloak, it seems that Fatah is a camouflaged Saudi sympathiser, anti-Shia bigot and is still in some way connected to Saudi propagandists and lobbyists.
It is already distressing to see the US and France support the Al-Qaeda dominated Free Syrian Army just as they supported Al Qaeda’s insurgency in Libya. The policy of opposing Al Qaeda in Mali and Pakistan while supporting them in Syria and Libya makes no sense on any level and is counter productive on many different levels.