Sectarian Violence in Iraq

By: Syeda Khan

Bloodshed, car bombs, and tears are hitting the hearts of Baghdad because of the violence between Sunnis and Shias. According to New York Times, there are various checkpoints around the capital with soldiers, who wait to check for identification cards and do not let anyone enter into various parts of the city if they do not live in that district.

According to an Iraqi solider, “The neighborhood is filled with bad people.” Just recently in the district of America, a group of soldiers arrested a group of people who were Sunni because they were accused of being terrorists that were going to carry violence against the Shias.

Sectarianism is now coming back into Iraq and has now grown bloody, even worse since the American led invasion in 2003. The death toll has been the worst in five years. People now fear for their lives as they go about their daily routine wondering if they are the next to die. Just recently during the holy month of Ramadan, a 41 year-old engineer named Adel Ibrahim went to a shop in the district of Karrada. Outside the shop, a minivan filled with car bombs had exploded, killing Ibrahim and five others.

Most of this violence has been coming from Al-Qaeda affiliates who are against the Shite majority in Iraq. Security forces have now had to step up, restricting Iraqis to go about their daily lives. People now have residential cards with their Sect listed on it in which security forces check before they enter any district. The targets for attacks are stores, restaurants, and cafes mainly in Shia areas. Many people living in those areas have had to take different routes in order to get to their destination for fear that they might be the next to die. All of this violence is causing people everywhere regardless of Sunni or Shia to stay home and hide in fear.

Violence against Sunnis and Shias has been going on for a long time in many parts of the world not just Iraq. The question that remains is why is there always so much tension between these two groups? Yes, there are a lot of different aspects to each sect, but they do have some things in common, such as the belief in one God and that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) was the final prophet sent by God.

Islam is the religion of peace, and right now, around the world many Non-Muslims have this idea that this religion is violent, which is obviously not true. It is episodes such as these which put down our religion regardless of what Sect anyone is. If we want to show the world we are peaceful people, then the violence that is going on right now must stop. It is very sad to see that people’s lives are being taken away just because of their sect. They are human beings who are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, etc. and they have a right to life. These people must learn to put aside their differences and cooperate with one another.