Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The Hatfields and the McCoys

Those who claim that the world would be less violent without the US and Israel challenging the Islamic world have to contend with stories like this one, fresh off the presses: Suicide Car Bomb Kills 39 at Pakistan Religious Rally (edited):
MULTAN, Pakistan (Reuters) - At least 39 people were killed and more than 80 wounded when a suicide car bomb exploded at a rally for an assassinated militant religious leader in central Pakistan early Thursday, police said.

The car exploded after being driven into a crowd of mourners at the overnight rally in the city of Multan to mark the first anniversary of the shooting of extremist Sunni religious leader Azam Tariq.

At least 39 people were killed and 84 wounded, said Arif Sial, medical superintendent at Multan's main Nishat Hospital.

The blast appeared to be the latest in a spate of sectarian violence that has racked Pakistan in recent years and came after a suicide bomber detonated his explosives in a Shi'ite mosque in the eastern city of Sialkot on Oct. 2, killing 30 people.

Residents said most at the rally were members of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (Soldiers of Mohammad's Companions), an outlawed Sunni Muslim group that Tariq headed and which has been blamed for many attacks on minority Shi'ite Muslims, who make up about 15 percent of Pakistan's mainly Sunni population of 150 million. The blast came after hundreds of people gathered at a village about 80 miles northeast of Multan for the funeral of Amjad Hussain Farooqi, a militant described as a key link between al Qaeda and local extremist groups who was killed by security forces on Sept. 26.
If Mr. Peabody's Wayback Machine could be retooled to be a Wayforward Machine, we could try and imagine the world where the United States and Israel---and all Jews for that matter---are cleanly removed from the Earth, post haste. What then? Sectarian violence between those who remain. The 'New Jews' would probably be the Shi’ites, the minority among Muslims---Hatfields and McCoys with nukes. In Saudi Arabia, for example, the Shi'ites were described by one western visitor as the 'niggers of the peninsula.' Or perhaps more accurately, 'the Jews of the peninsula', if you prefer a more vituperative four letter appellation from the Sunni attitude.

Bernard Lewis made the point that it is absurd to refer to 'fundamentalists' in Islam. "Fundamentalist," says Lewis, "is an American expression denoting belief in the literal divine origin of scripture---something that all Muslims, militant or otherwise, believe about the Koran." With the Muslim religion, it is difficult to envisage that sectarianism can result in anything other than obliteration in a world of nuclear proliferation. Possibly, the monopoly of violence held by Americans and Israelis is the only thing keeping Muslims from initiating their own self-induced genocide. The fundamentalism of it all goes without saying.