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Islamic Sectarian Feuds Come to the West
by David J. Rusin • Mar 22, 2009 at 12:15 pm
Muslims have fought — both figuratively and literally — over the "true" Islam ever since a succession dispute erupted after the death of Mohammed. This divide has followed Muslims to the Western world, where it constitutes a neglected facet of radical Islam in countries struggling to assimilate their new arrivals.
The issue surfaced most clearly when sectarian tensions spread to Europe and America at the peak of the Iraq war. Threats against Shiite mosques were reported in the suburbs of Brussels, while vandals appeared to single out Detroit mosques and businesses owned by Shiites in the wake of Saddam Hussein's execution.
Two recent and rather odd stories build on the trend. Earlier this year, two brothers allegedly were targeted during a Muslim hockey game in Canada because they are not Sunnis. According to their father, Ahmed Buksh, whispers about the boys' affiliation led to chaos:
Stranger still is a news item from Australia about warring Sunni and Shiite biker gangs — or, as they apparently say down there, "bikie" gangs. Each group sports the clean-cut "Nike bikie" look and each has participated in escalating violence:
Islamists attack not only infidels, but also Muslims who adhere to differing views. No doubt more sectarian battles will emerge as Western Muslim populations increase and import ancient rivalries. Less certain is whether governments are prepared to deal with this challenge.