As a non-muslim European who is getting fed up with watching all these people kill each other every day (1), I would like to make some kind of contribution to create something different. I have lost my faith in the kind of facebook-internet-activism in which you click or shout out against something in a comment. Like Icke eloquently said during a recent meeting in London (2), it's time to do more than just spread your anger or fear, it's time to look for different approaches and think beyond many current dichotomies (3).
In Creating a Personal Dance with the News (4) I have argued for the importance of your own subjective and personal involvement in dealing with topics like violence, free-floating spiritualism, war, greed, media-manipulation, corporatism and fanatical anti-imperialism and anarchy. Instead of blaming others, it might be a good time to look within and tune into your own feelings, biases, and unresolved issues. Imagine the influence it may have if you are able to watch and read disturbing articles with a deep, kind breath and a heart that occasionally radiates a comfortable sense of joy (5)? Now, wouldn't that upset the powers that be, isn't a threatening way to get off your knees?
UNITING THE SUNNI AND SHIA MUSLIMS
When people are confronted with poverty and violence at an early age, combined with a lack of 'neutral' education, they become an easy prey for those who want to use these people for their own agenda. I refered to an awful video above (1) about FSA-members killing off Syrian men in a merciless manner. It is tempting to react with anger and disgust and call these bearded FSA-men the lowest scum of the planet. But does that really help the situation? Wouldn't it be worthwhile to try and dig a bit deeper and see why these men have become such a bunch of ruthless killers?
One aspect that resurfaces occasionally is that some of these 'Syrian/foreign' Brigades are dedicated to killing off the Alawites, which is a group belonging to the Shia-Islam-branch. A rather awkward Sheikh living near Homs has given his 'loving' message about chopping up all the Alawites and feeding them to the dogs (6).
Although these extremes occur, they luckily are on a world-wide scale the exception to the rule. The differences between Shi'a and Sunni Muslims however are a world-wide phenomenon and they appear as all kinds of thoughts, biases and feelings in the people belonging to either of these two branches of Islam, where about 85% of the world muslim population is Sunni, and some 10-15% is Shi'a.
Although there are a number of differences between the Shi'a and the Sunni Muslims, the similarities are striking. They both use the Qur'an as the basis for their faith, they have many rituals in common, they have the Hadjj to Mecca. In a Channel 4 documentary (7) we can hear the following words:
"Diversity of tongues and skins is in the words of the Qur'an are amongst the wonders of God's creation. Allah has no preference for any race, tribe or nation above another and is no respector of human ideas of class and status."
I could spend some time in this article on the differences, but I prefer to name only a few. The first difference arose some 1400 years back in the past, after the death of the prophet Mohammed in the year 632. Who would be his successor? There were some people who thought that the one who had the most knowledge about teh emerging religion of Islam, the best scholar, would be the one to spread the religion. There were some who thought differently and claimed that there should be some kind of family link with the prophet. The first group turned into the Sunnis, and the latter group turned out to become the Shi'a.
The Shi'a also seem to have a more mythical approach to Islam, believing that there are people who are 'infallable', in the sense that they have a direct communication with the divine (or with the 12th Imam, see (8)). This idea is not accepted by the Sunni-muslims.
ON BIRTH PLACE RELATIVITY
At school I was taught about the principle of 'Birth Place Relativity' (9), which refers to a simple idea, namely that the faith you will believe in, is for most of the people in the world determined by the place where they are born. If you are born in Iran, chances are that you will become a staunch follower of the Shi'a branch of Islam, perhaps even performing the bloody Ashura-ritual to commemerate Imam Hoessein. If you are however born in Morrocco or Indonesia you will likely incorporate the idea of Sunni-Islam and think that it really is the truth and that it is a part of your true being.
If you are born in China, India or in South-America your perspective on the world will most likely be the same as the people with whom you grow up as well. In Europe you are more likely to grow up, believing in 'science' as a kind of faith, or some weak form of Christianity. When born in Tel Aviv, you are likely to embrace Judaism.
What I am trying to point out here is the relativity of the faith you have in your life. In most of the cases it simply depends on where you were born, or what your family believes in. Seen from a wider perspective, there seems to be no need to make such a fuss about it.
MEET EACH OTHER IN A LOVE EMBRACE
I copied some 8 seconds from Steppenwolf's Born to be Wild in this 'new' video below as an easy reminder of what we might try to focus on. I just hope that we will learn to see that it feels a lot better to be friendly and kind to each other, instead of fighting each other, either through guns and RPG's, or through words, because you believe that your own faith is better than the faith of someone else.
Why not try and embrace each other and have some fun, instead of all this waste of emotional energy about whose religion is the best, based on a conflict some 1400 years ago or some interpretation of the Qur'an? Isn't it time to move on and realize that loving each other is more honorable than hating and speaking lowly of each other? Perhaps this approach is the best way to end the rule of those who manipulate us. If we can unite there is no one who can stop us.
(1) Today another terrible video appeared in which dozens of people in Syria were piled onto each other, to be ruthlessly murdered a few moments later. A lot of Allahu-akhbars and dead people http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9T1VN_x5gE. How can people become so cruel and shout the name of their God while killing others?
(5) World Mathaba recently featured an interesting article about a method that might assist in getting more into contact with your own body and mind, see https://worldmathaba.net/items/1950-the-science-behind-good-vibes-how-mindfulness-actually-works. Feeding your mind with inspiring material can also be useful, take a look at https://worldmathaba.net/items/1955-informative-documentaries-part-1
(6) This Sheikh called Adnan al-Arour's hateful speech can be watched at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=gGT8pZcKYL4. If you wanna have a good laugh you could also watch this video at http://iraansnieuws.blogspot.nl/2012/09/lekker-lachen-met-een-godfather-van-de.html
(9) In Dutch it is called 'standplaatsgebondenheid', I couldn't find a correct English translation for it.
In : Reflections
Tags: shia sunni love