Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Harmful Effects of Anti-Shi’a Discrimination Anti-Shi’ism can be described as hatred or prejudice against Muslims of the Shi’a sect based on the heritage of their religion (Walker 16). The most agreed upon cause for the prejudice can be traced to the dispute that arose after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, which led to a split among the Muslim community into two fundamental sects: the Shi’a and the Sunnis…
Following this split, the Sunni Muslims have over the centuries perceived their rival sect as a threat to their religious authority, and politically as well. Sunni leaders, especially under the Umayyad, began a systematic marginalization of the Shi’a, who formed a minority of the Muslim community, while the Abbasids also turned on the Shi’a, killing, persecuting, and imprisoning them (Walker 18). The Shi’a community to this day remains a marginalized and persecuted sect in the majority of Muslim states. This discrimination has harmed the Shi’a by ensuring that they are less educated than Sunnis, cannot practice their religion, and cannot get work in their countries. Discrimination against the Shi’a has led to their inability to practice their religion, which has caused resentment towards their Sunni counterparts, as they are denied their right of worship. For example, Chehab in Sunni vs. Shia: All You Need to Know claims that “Jordanian tribes have banned Shi’as from paying homage at the historical grave site of a prominent Shi’a imam” (13). ...
This led to protests in which over fifty Shi’a members either were killed or went missing. The Shi’a Muslims are also disallowed to access religious centers such as mosques, forcing them to perform their prayers on Friday in their houses (Chehab 13). This means that Shi’a Muslims, despite being part of the broader Islam family, are second-class religious citizens in most Muslim dominated countries. They are treated no differently than Christians, who are discriminated against in the same way and might as well be without religion. This has all the hallmarks of an irreversible religious war if unchecked. In addition, all able bodied Muslims are required to visit Mecca at least once in their lifetime, which is one of Islam’s five pillars, to perform the Hajj. Although this event is supposed to count as one of the most intense religious times in the Muslim calendar, a group of Shi’as who were on a pilgrimage were arrested in 2009 by the Saudi religious police. This was part of Sunni Muslims,’ particularly the Wahhabi sect’s, aim to “purify Islam of any innovations or practices that deviate from the seventh-century teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions” (Giritlioglu 1). The incident resulted in one of the pilgrims, a fifteen-year-old boy, being shot in the head and chest, while a Shi’a sheikh was knifed by an unknown person in the back for being what he termed as a rejectionist. Allowed to continue, such actions can only lead to reprisal attacks in Shi’a majority countries, resulting in a never-ending cycle of violence. Another shocking form of religious discrimination involves Shi’a Muslims not being allowed to sell any religious paraphernalia or organize Quranic classes, and where they are caught, most are detained and ...
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