Sunni-Shi’ite strife in New York, fomented by our old friends the Islamic Thinkers Society.
From Newsday, with thanks to Russell:
Istafa Naqvi of Dix Hills was stunned to see the small knot of angry young men waving placards as he and several thousand fellow Shia Muslims walked along Park Avenue in midtown last month in their annual religious procession.
“Enemies of Islam!” one man shouted at the group. “Kaffir,” yelled another, using the Arabic word for infidel.
Many of the Shia flinched as they got close enough to read the signs carried by members of a fringe Sunni group called The Islamic Thinkers Society. “Shia are NOT Muslims!” said one. “Shia is made of superstitious elements of Judaism,” declared another. Police moved in to break up a shoving match.
“We never thought it could happen in New York,” said Naqvi, president of a Shah E Najaf Islamic Center in Brentwood. “In other countries, yes. But not here. We’ve had this procession for 20 years without any problems. It is very worrying.”
For Naqvi, as for many in New York’s estimated 35,000- member Shia community, the Feb. 5 incident began a month of frightening jolts. Many saw the confrontation as a potentially ominous harbinger — a signal that the hatred stoking Shia-Sunni fratricide in Iraq and Pakistan could spread to America. Two weeks later, the golden-domed al-Askari Mosque in Iraq, one of the holiest sites in Shia Islam, was bombed in an act of terrorism that stunned the worldwide Shia community and that threatens to push Iraq into civil war.
“Sectarian tension is on the rise everywhere — even here in America, because groups like these are supported by some very wealthy benefactors,” said Syed Meesam Razvi of Richmond Hill, Queens, who said he cried when he told his family about the mosque bombing. “This was a marginal group [at the Feb. 5 procession], but my concern is that it might become larger. Because I’ve seen how they grew in Pakistan.”
Read it all.