Submitted by Terence Blackett
In the late 1990’s, Saddam Hussein sat for  tortuous months while almost  gallons of his blood was drained from his body as an Islamic calligrapher transcribed and etched  chapters of the Qu’ran in his blood. Twenty years on, this blood manuscript continues to cause political and religious polarization between the Shia led government and for some Sunnis though accepting that what Saddam did was haraam (forbidden), others realise the cultural, aesthetic and financial value of such a document. The document which has been locked away for years since the fall of Iraq in the Umm al-Ma’arik mosque is now a sore thumb for the Iraqi government because years of denial and a cloak of secrecy has turned into a spectre of damage limitation. This new Shia government realises that they cannot destroy this sacred text because of the anarchy that would take place across the Muslim world – neither can they ill-afford to open the doors to those Sunnis who will treat Saddam’s sacred blood legacy as divine approval and reverence for a holy text written in the blood of someone who is still viewed as a martyr.
Most Western political scholars as well as Judeo-Christian commentators tend to stay away from serious narratives on the internal religious rumblings within the volatile religion of Islam, fearing that discharacterization and ideological disinformation could result in “Fatwas” and the polarizing incendiary media protest we have all witnessed when the prophet Muhammad or Islam was brought into the spotlight with any negative connotations attached to them.
This modern pretext was already etched in blood by Salman Rushdie in doing the unthinkable by publishing the Satanic Verses in 1988 and the backlash which that revelation created and how it lasted for a decade or more. Since then, it has been one thing after another. Most notably has been recent revelations by Wikileaks which showed unequivocally the dissimilitude which exist within modern Arab tribal and religious politics and the complex nature of how war, infighting and civil instability between Muslims since the 600’s have shaped the current state of modern Muslim relations in the Middle East and around the world – where different strands of Islam are practiced and the increasing tensions which still exist between the  major groups, Shia and Sunni.
A look at Islamic history shows that there is cumulatively about 1354 years of wars, infighting and conquest from the Battle of Badr in 624 to demise of The Ottoman Empire (1380 – 1922). History recalls how the great prophet of Islam, Muhammad, had failed in a military attempt to overtake Mecca which resulted in the Treaty of Hudaybiyya but to many it was seen as humiliation in the eyes and in the minds of his people. Muhammad then decided to take his army and attack and plunder the weaker Jewish settlement of Khaibar. Following that conquest, a young Jewish hand maiden had prepared a lamb’s dinner for Muhammad and some of his men (some Hadiths say she-goat) unaware to the prophet that she had put poison into the lamb – he ate. One his men died on the spot but Muhammad spat out the poisoned lamb but it is argued that the poisonous residue that did enter his bloodstream resulted in the regression of his health and as a result he died three years later. From this act came a chain of events that would spiral downward through time to our present day.
In the Muslim world, Shias are really a minority group for they constitute a mere 10 to 15% of overall Muslims in the world. They do have majority in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Bahrain: They are some minority Shia in Saudi, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and some other countries. They have been living as a minority since the time of the prophet’s companions and it maybe because the majority of companions did not support them since earliest time: Shias are no doubt a deviated group from original Islam.
On the other hand, Sunni Islam is the largest Islamic sect with 940 million adherents out of about 1.1 billion Muslims and the fastest growing religious group in the world. Sunnis have their historical roots in following Abu Bakr, as Muhammad’s successor instead of the Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law Ali. The Sunnis are so named because they believe themselves to follow the Sunnah (“custom” or “tradition”) of the prophet.
Dr. Rifai Sulaiman argues that the “Shia-Sunni division of the International Muslim community is a not a religious denomination among Muslims rather it started with difference of opinions on the subject matter of succession to our prophet: started with politics and then the religious dimension was later given to this conflict: unfortunately the religious dimension overshadows this conflict since its inception. However, it would be wrong to compare this internal division among Muslims with some religious denominations within any other religions: because Shia and Sunni are identical in many religious matters basically in matters of theology and the basic pillars of Islam though some major differences prevail in some legal and ritual matters…”
Some academic proponents like Dr. Sulaiman believe that there are subtleties at work in the Middle East which continue to stoke the ideological religious differences between Shia and Sunni arguing that it “gives open door opportunities for Zionists” both in Israel and the United States whose plans are to exploit Arab oil resources by pitting the Shia majority in Iran (who today has access to some of the greatest oils reserves) against the Sunnis (backed by the corrupt house of Al Saud) and the other Gulf monarchies of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.
Wikileaks provided us an open access point into how Sunni Muslims views Shias given the hatred between these two Islamic sects but moreover they are deeper political overtones given that these oil monarchies have always been imperialist puppets of the Anglo-American establishment and with the West’s dependence on oil – they have been able to transform their economies and societies into 21st century hyper-reality metropolises with a thin Islamic veneer to support their traditional controls on the wider society.
What Wikileaks failed to underscore but is less self-evident to many, hinges on the modern evangelical realities of Iranian Shia proselytization within predominately Sunni countries and the efforts that are made to contest on issues of Sharia, the role of Caliphs in the historical and modern debate and the possibilities for redress. Saudi Arabia and other Arab states find it hard to compete with this kind of zealousness for the faith and hence this is where the fracturing has occurred.
What Wikileaks has also shown from the cables is the extent to which the political fracture has caused an alignment against Iran and how this will ultimately result in an all out war affecting the entire Middle East. For example, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates has urged US General Abizaid to take action against Iran “this year or next…” because clearly “Ahmadinejad is Hitler.” Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, (U.S puppet & hosts the United States 5th Fleet), is quoted in one cable as calling “forcefully for taking action to terminate [Iran’s] nuclear program, by whatever means necessary.” Qatar is willing to let the U.S use an airbase in their country to bomb Iran. Saudi Arabia’s King Abudullah, is cited as saying to the U.S to attack Iran and “cut off the head of the snake.” Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak’s in a meeting with Sen. John Kerry said that Iran “are big, fat liars and justify their lies because they believe it is for a higher purpose.” Mubarak could have been referring to Ahmadinejad’s references to the Madhi, however said that “no Arab state could publicly assist the U.S. in a military attack on Iran.” He cited that Iran’s backing of terrorism is “well-known but I cannot say it publicly. It would create a dangerous situation.” Yet, in private Egypt has recruited Iraqi and Syrian agents to counter Iranian intelligence operations.
It is remarkable how a “lamb’s dinner” followed by the death of the prophet Muhammad had finally marked the end of the period of Qur’anic revelation to the Muslim community – threw the religious basis of Islam in sectarianism. The Shia still believe that the caliph Ali has been the rightful successor of the Prophet, but they also believe that leadership of the community rightfully still belonged to Ali’s blood descendants after the civil war that resulted in his death and the establishment of a hereditary monarchy by the victorious Umayyads. Those of the Caliph Ali’s descendants who inherited his authority were known as Imams, and like him they were believed by the Shia to share the same divine inspiration that had enabled the Prophet, while himself not divine, but in the ascendency to make authoritative pronouncements on Sharia law. This has been the foundation of the strife which exists between these two groups.
Many religious watchers believe that the time is not far distant when the “dark forces” that are at work will incite a major war involving Iran – may be caused by an insurgency against Sunni Muslims which would be justification to go after Iranian backed Shias. It is no secret that North Korea has sold nuclear expertise to Iran and in turn for their cooperation on key strategic, military and futuristic technologies. What is at stake is more than just military superiority but the future control of Islam and the dumming down of this 6th century religion and exploitation of all Arab oil resources through the Strait of Hormuz. This will lead to the proposed destruction of Israeli occupation, incarceration and blockade of Palestinian Shias, the control of the Temple Mount and the establishment of a New World Order with a vastly diminished world population.
Western imperialist interests continue to play both sides of the equation – pitting Sunni against Shia and vica versa in the hope that there will be a religious war that will create an Islamic implosion and the ultimate fall of Islam. The same “dark forces” worked in the 1980’s to dismantle the stronghold of Marxist-Leninist Communism and these same forces are at work against Islam. The differences now are that the stakes are much higher.
In July, Fidel Castro warned Obama not to unleash a war in the Persian Gulf. Castro said that “simultaneously, the war would break out in the Near and Far East and across Eurasia,” and that “if the war breaks out, the current social order will abruptly vanish and the price will be much higher” for all of us to pay. Not so surprising, the controlled Wall Street news media in the United States did everything possible to trivialize, denigrate and ridicule this dramatic warning given by Castro because the fuel has already been thrown on the fire.
Sadly, most people in our world are still sleep walking as we approach 2011. The stupor grows even more intense as we drag ourselves out of over-indulgence, intemperance, holiday excesses and the likes. And like most Europeans of 1914, many will caught out, when suddenly the sound of major world war and ICBM’s howl across our skies in an apocalyptic endgame between warring nations which we were warned about time and again but refused to heed the admonitions. Muslims like all other great peoples of the past with their ideologies and religious perturbations are set for major collision just like past civilizations which disappeared into the mist of primordiality.
2011 will be a year of intrigue – let’s see how it pans out!