What Does A Shi’i Mosque Look Like?


In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful

The horrifying escalation of violence between Sunnis and Shi’is in Iraq and elsewhere has frightened me. After an attack on a Shi’i town or district or – worse – a Shi’i mosque, there are reprisal attacks on Sunni mosques. After an attack on Sunnis, there is a counterattack on a Shi’i mosque. And the bloody cycle repeats itself.

My question is: what does a Shi’i mosque look like? What does a Sunni mosque look like? What distinguishes the two? What makes them fair game for murder? How can their sacred ground be violated in such a barbaric – nay, animal – manner?

Do not Sunni Muslims declare: “There is nothing worthy of worship except God”? Do not Shi’i Muslims also declare: “There is nothing worthy of worship except God”? Do not Sunni Muslims declare: “And Muhammad is His messenger”? Do not Shi’i Muslims also declare: “And Muhammad is His Messenger”? Does this not make Sunnis and Shi’is brothers and sisters? Does this not make Sunnis and Shi’is part of the same spiritual family?

How, then, can they be killing each other? How can someone kill his own brother? How can someone kill his own sister? How can someone even fathom walking into a place of worship and blow himself up, killing other worshippers in the process? How can someone do something like this? What sort of god commands thus?

Not the God of Abraham. Not the God of Abraham. Not the God of Abraham.

But I can’t stop there. I must extend the circle of safety. The life of a Muslim is sacred: our Prophet (pbuh) told us as much. Yet, our God also told us that the life of the human being is equally sacred. Our God told us multiple times not to take the life which He has made sacred. He did not specify the persuasion of that life. In fact, He told us that to take a life is like taking the lives of all of humanity.

Thus, I do not understand how someone could grab a knife and attack worshippers at a church on Good Friday. I do not understand how someone could thrust a blade into another human being’s body and have no remorse. I do not understand how someone can be so blind as to truly believe he can take the lives of people who do not believe as he does. I mean, our God told us that we Muslims may have to fight a just war in order to prevent churches, synagogues, and mosques from being destroyed. We may have to put our lives on the line to protect religious freedom.

How is it, then, that someone can destroy a mosque? or kill a Christian in a church? or kill an apostate for exercising his free will? What sort of god commands thus?

Not the God of Abraham. Not the God of Abraham. Not the God of Abraham.

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