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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

After extremist attacks and tragedy, it’s time to speak up

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World leaders are gathered for the summit on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, United States, September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Muslims around the world are being confronted with the challenges of countering the deep-seated problems created in societies by the clash of civilizations, religious extremism and terrorism — a clash that has, over the past decade and more, very likely created more space for the expansion of the scourge of violence. It is violence that is lethal, indiscriminate and brutalized on a mass scale.

Faced with such challenges, the Muslim world is fractured. Many countries — almost all of them majority Muslim nations — experience situations of tension between their Sunni and Shia religious communities, between their Christians and their Jews, and between their Shiites and Sunnis. Religious violence in the Arab world, the Muslim world and throughout the world has grown to such a degree that sectarian strife has complicated the fight against terrorism and in some cases, has served as a motivation for terrorism.

Last month, Yemeni Shiite rebels fired about 150 missiles at Saudi Arabia, with some of them landing near the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. According to the United Nations, the Houthis are allied with Iran and claim that they represent the legitimate government of Yemen.

Yemen has been embroiled in a civil war since 2015.

The four-country Gulf Cooperation Council has tried in various ways to bring about a resolution to the conflict, including attempts at mediation. Despite wide international support for Saudi Arabia, however, the situation in Yemen continues to worsen.

The repression of the Houthis, by the national government in Sanaa, by the United Arab Emirates, by Saudi Arabia and by other western powers who support the Saudi-led coalition — all buttress the Houthis as an organized group of freedom fighters. For them, their struggle against Yemen’s government amounts to a state-led assault on them.

The war in Yemen is becoming one of the most deadly conflicts in the world, with some recent reports suggesting that the figure of well over 10,000 killed has risen.

Shiites in the Gulf state of Bahrain and in most of the Arabian Peninsula have come under increasing attacks, similar to what they are facing in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Shiite communities are being eliminated. Across the Arab world, Shiites have been an easy target for ethnic cleansing as they also enjoy the status of national minorities.

Zaid Raad — a member of the Bahrain Parliament and a prominent Shiite — said a lot was going on.

“The people want something from the majority. The majority cannot stand the quality of this people,” he said.

He further said “it is a fact that they are seriously targeting the Shiite” and described the war in Yemen as “a Saudi project,” rather than Saudi intervention on behalf of the Yemeni people.

This dangerous situation does not come naturally, in spite of a lot of complaints that the fault is at fault on all sides.

According to different opinion polls, almost 60 percent of Muslims support the Palestinian struggle and as of 2016, the proportion stood at about 66 percent. About 80 percent of the Muslims support creating an independent Palestinian state in addition to an end to the Israeli occupation.

Another report shows that seven out of ten Muslims across the globe support the Palestinian people and Palestinians becoming independent.

Such discontent must be faced with. It is a challenge for Muslims to face any community of people, any country or any state. We must take a stand.

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