August 20, 2005

Turning the Corner

Iraq has gone from being a secular country where groups who rose up against the government were persecuted to being a land full of armed fanatics where it's every faction for themselves:

... Sufism, generally considered a branch of Sunni Islam, is divided into orders, the most famous being that of the Mevlevi, or whirling dervishes. Sufis seek, through dance, music, chanting and other intensely physical rituals, to transcend worldly existence and perceive the face of the divine. Their mysticism has contributed to their pacific reputation.

But in Iraq, no one is ever far removed from war. In a sign of the widening and increasingly complex rifts in Iraqi society, Sufis have suddenly found themselves the targets of attacks. Many Iraqis believe those responsible are probably fundamentalist Sunnis who view the Sufis as apostates, just one step removed from the Shiites.

Sheik Ali al-Faiz, a senior official at this Sufi shrine, or takia, rattled off a list of recent assaults - the leader of a takia in the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi was abducted and killed this month; a bomb exploded in a takia in Kirkuk earlier this year; gunmen beat Sufi worshipers at a mosque in Ramadi in January; a bomb exploded in the kitchen of a takia in Ramadi last September and a bomb in April 2004 destroyed an entire takia in the same city.

... Some Sufi groups in Iraq have built up militias and are bracing for more violence. ...

There have been attacks on Christians and their places of worship post-Hussein, as well as the appearance of a brewing civil war between Sunni and Shia. Women are being hassled for not wearing chador in public, though for many families it's become immaterial: it's just safer to keep the women and children at home. Everybody with eyes can see the gathering storm, and the blind can probably hear it coming a mile away.

Iraq has probably been poised on the brink of this civil war ever since the British decided that putting these people together under the rule of a minority religious group living on the most resource-poor land was a good frakking idea. However, the immediate chaos will rightly be pinned on the country that just couldn't quit picking the scab.

Posted by natasha at August 20, 2005 05:51 PM | Iraq | Technorati links |