Friday, June 26, 2015
Ramadan 2015, Day 8 - A Holy Month Interrupted by Terrorism
So what was supposed to be a quiet, lazy Ramadan Friday was interrupted by breaking news report after breaking news report of terrorist attacks in Kuwait, Tunisia, and France.
In Kuwait a suicide bomber blew himself up in a Shi’a mosque during the Friday prayer. To attack a mosque during Friday prayer during Ramadan is pretty shocking and was clearly done in the knowledge that the mosque would be filled to overflowing with people. Attacking a mosque during Ramadan Friday prayer would, in my opinion, be analogous to attacking a church congregation during Christmas Mass. Islam states that it is preferable for Muslim men to do their five prayers a day at a mosque but it is not a requirement. But if there is one prayer a week that everyone shows up at it is the noon prayer on Friday. During Ramadan even moreso.
Isn't Ramadan supposed to be the month of peace and spiritual reflection? The BBC had a commentator on who noted that Islamic extremist groups embrace the example of one of the earliest great battles of Islam, which took place during the month of Ramadan. I wasn't sure which battle he was referring to but a quick Internet search lead me to think it was the Battle of Badr, the first large battle between the Islamic army (led by the Prophet Mohammed) and non-believers from other parts of the Arabic peninsula.
So sectarian violence appears to be spreading across the region. There were some mosque bombings in Saudi Arabia not too long ago, the Syrian War drags on, ISIL is still fighting in Iraq, and now Yemen has descended into fighting split along religious lines.
As for Qatar I suppose there is a risk of something happening though hopefully the risk will be small. While the vast majority of Qataris are Sunni one must remember that Qataris are only maybe 15% of the population of the country. There are numerous immigrants here from Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain and other countries with sizable Shi’a populations so there is risk that a Shi’a mosque in Qatar could be targeted (ISIL is a radical Sunni group who I think consider Shi’a Muslims to be something like heretics.)
I asked a Qatari friend of mine if there are any Shi’a mosques in Qatar, and how one could tell? He only knew of one in Qatar and told me there’s no easy way to tell if a mosque is Sunni or Shi’a as they will “look the same”. I take that to mean there’s no difference in architecture, I assume you’ll only know when you get closer. I’m sure there are differences that a Muslim would pick up on immediately.
Hopefully nothing will happen in Qatar. Heck, hopefully nothing more happens anywhere.