SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)- Some are trying to echo the idea that the ongoing conflict in northern and western Iraq is a war between the Iraqi Shia government and Sunni groups, but the situation in ISIL-held Sunni regions Muslim belies the idea, highlighted an English-language paper on Monday. A glance at developments in Iraq and Syria indicates the realities on the ground, noted Iran Daily in its Opinion column.
Over a quarter of the people of Mosul—Iraq’s second largest city with mainly Sunni population—fled after the ISIL terrorist group overran the city in June. In recent weeks, the terrorist group executed hundreds of Sunnis in Iraq and Syria to show that there are no differences between Sunnis and Shias for the terrorists, decried the paper.
In the eastern Syrian province of Deir ez-Zor, which borders Iraq, ISIL massacred 700 members of a Sunni tribe two weeks ago. According to human rights groups, among the members of the Shaitat tribe killed were 100 fighters, but the rest were civilians. Last week, ISIL terrorists also killed 17 Sunni villagers in northern Syria, it added.
In the Sunni city of Haditha in al-Anbar province, people have been resisting attacks by ISIL during the past month and not to allow the terrorists to overrun their city.
Apparently the terrorist group sought to find Sunnis opposing it after occupying the cities. Members of the Sunni Awakening councils, government forces, religious figures who refuse to swear allegiance to the ISIL are on the hit list of the terrorists.
It must be noted that ISIL brutalities are rooted in Salafism, a sect which believes that there are no differences between Shias and Sunnis who do not follow Salafist thoughts, pointed out the daily.
Based on ISIL’s extremist views, both Shias-Sunnis who disagree with its interpretations are infidels and apostates, wrote the paper.
ISIL also believes that Wahhabism—an offshoot branch of Islam with followers in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE—are derailed from original Salafist direction and therefore religious laws being observed in Saudi Arabia are against Shariah.
In contrast, Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Al al-Sheikh, the highest religious authority in the country, has said that ISIL and Al-Qaeda are “enemy number one of Islam” and not in any way part of the faith.
“Extremist and militant ideas and terrorism which spread decay on Earth, destroy human civilization, are not in any way part of Islam, but are enemy number one of Islam, and the Muslims are their first victims,” he said.
Now, many displaced Sunnis took shelter in Shia cities in southern Iraq. Even International Committee of the Red Cross sources say the southern parts of Iraq are hosting refugees from different ethnic groups, noted the paper.
In Iraq, we can see Shias or Sunnis who are praying in the holy sites of other Muslim faiths. Religious tolerance in the cities of Karbala and Najaf are usual and there are many families with Sunni and Shia relatives, it highlighted.
Iraq is facing ISIL’s brutal violence targeting all ethnic groups in the country.
The ISIL terrorists have threatened all communities, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Izadi Kurds and others, as they continue their crimes in Iraq.
In light of the above-stated facts, undoubtedly, all Iraqis are facing the threat of ISIL and its extremist faith, and the Iraqis are well aware of this. So, it is certainly not a Sunni-Shia conflict there, concluded the paper.