I went to the pharmacy to pick up my moms medicine and the South Asian pharmacist straight up asked me If I was Sunni or Shi’a. I looked at him dead straight and replied with MUSLIM. He looked down for a moment then said “well aren’t you guys killing each other?”

I couldn’t believe that someone who is supposedly educated would even say something like that.

I was like I have sunni family members and my family is shia. Iraq is all intertwined.

I can’t even escape sectarianism all the way across the globe.

Next time I will reply to that question with I am shia. It’s funny how people treat you differently once they know you are shia and proceed to treat you as a non believer.


Glasgow Violence: When Media Bias Goes Too Far 

On Thursday, 85% of the Scottish population turned out to cast their votes in the referendum on independence following days of peaceful demonstrations by Yes voters in the heart of our largest city, Glasgow. 

On Friday, Glasgow was gripped by fear as pro-union fascists rushed George Square, determined to engage in violence and hatred; the loyalists of Glasgow joined by members of the Scottish and English Defence Leagues, and all partly encouraged by Britain First.

Young girls had their Scottish flags torn away from them, women with Yes badges were spat at and called scum, nazi salutes and red hand of Ulster salutes were seen, flares were thrown, and the sectarian edge was on full display with “No Surrender” signs. Assaults were made on those carrying Saltires.

These are not the scenes reported by the BBC news or a number of newspapers who assure us that this was a “clash” between Yes and No voters, following their portrayal of Yes voters as Scottish nationalist mobs who intimidated No voters, despite little evidence to the contrary.

In truth, the police had the events of last evening well in hand. Glasgow is no stranger to sectarian trouble (a number of this mob wore Rangers tops), quickly surrounding the group and acting to restrict violence as far as possible as they departed the square and moved elsewhere. Six arrests were made and after a few hours the city was calm once more. 

But what there was a disturbing lack of was information. News. People in the city and those in the rest of Scotland with friends and family in Glasgow had no idea what was happening. Those on twitter could find no information on whether things had escalated or calmed down, on where was safe and where was not.

The police described the situation as “handbags”. They’ve dealt with much worse. But to write this off as sectarian violence alone excuses those fascists who travelled to take part. To write it off as only fascists excuses the local loyalists spoiling for a fight.

While the identity of the perpetrators is unknown, the one Scotland newspaper that supported independence – The Herald – had their generator set alight. The Sunday Herald is currently collecting evidence from the night to make a full report in their next edition.

Glasgow is a complicated city with a troubled past, but the level of political engagement across Scotland and within the city during this referendum was unprecedented. And almost entirely peaceful until now. Scotland had shown the world what democracy without war looks like, but while the UK media ignores the dark side of both Glasgow and the union, the international media has carried the most information on events.

That people in Glasgow, Scotland and the UK had to turn to twitter to get the real information of what was happening is incredible. And while photographs and videos were helpful in illustrating the events, there was no control on validity of information. #GlasgowRiots trended through the night despite the situation being over, while many seemed under the impression that it was Yes voters at fault.

Invoking the spirit of sectarianism there was no doubt trouble on both sides of that particular divide, but the swelling of ranks from fascist groups ensured that it was those bearing the Scottish flag or Yes badges that were in danger.

This was no celebration. This was no representation of No voters. These bigots represent no one but themselves. But the media turning a blind eye to this, or insinuating it is no worse than Scottish nationalists throwing an egg is irresponsible. I had friends hiding at home because they were terrified to go out on the streets without the safety of having white skin, with no idea of when the trouble was over.

There are Orange marches planned today in the city. Hopefully these idiots will stay at home. Please stay safe.

(Photo credits L-R: Jon Brady via Twitter @jonfaec; Cathal Mcnaughton / Reuters; PA; Reuters; Reuters; Herald’; Herald; Reuters; Reuters)

(My apologies that none of the media wants to embed) 

We need to be careful in how we talk about things. There is often a lot of decontextualisation that occurs in conversations about these issues. When groups such as ISIS bomb a mosque, you cannot decontextualise it with statements like “ISIS does not represent Islam because they attack and kill Muslims too”. Of course, ISIS doesn’t represent Islam but do not omit the fact that it’s often always Shia mosques that get attacked since anti-Shia attitudes are also prevalent amongst even ordinary Muslims and are even normalised to a degree. Similarly, when a church gets attacked by ISIS, you can’t act like it’s an isolated attack committed by extremists like ISIS. These events exist within certain contexts, and in this case it exists within the context of and are also often motivated by long-standing Muslim privilege in the MENA region, and you can’t separate one fact from the other. It’s always important to remember this.

Ok so I’ve been reading a lot of posts and comments here that are along the lines of “Oh God please give the Sunnis in Yemen victory over the Houthi devils”. Let me stop you right there.

People do not seem to understand how Yemen works, and this goes to all the shias supporting the Houthis too. Yemen is not Iraq. Yemen is not Lebanon where people are divided along sectarian lines, and where allegiances are to one’s sect first. This is not the case in Yemen and never has been.

People in Yemen don’t care about your sect. Yemenis go and pray in whatever mosque is closest to their homes and mosques have no identifiers of their sectarian leanings.

And as far as allegiances go, Yemen (particularly North Yemen) is divided into tribes. And those allegiances can shift dramatically whenever it is convenient. Let me give you an example:

During the Arab Spring, former President Saleh (a Shia) fell out with his buddy and top General Ali Mohsen who is from the Al Ahmar tribe (Shias). Both of them waged multiple wars on the Houthis (Shias) in the past. 
The top opposition party, Islah (Salafis/Sunnis) allied themselves with Al Ahmar (Shia) to topple Saleh (Shia) and although succeeded in 2011, Saleh (Shia) allied himself with the Houthis (Shia) to get rid of their mutual new enemies Al Ahmar (Shia) and Islah (Salafi/Sunni).

See how that works? Houthis forgave Saleh because of convenience. They needed him to take Sana’a. If Saleh returns to the Presidency, I can bet you he’ll take Saudi money again and throw the Houthis in the trash. It’s all about convenience, not sectarianism. That’s how Yemen works.

Now you have Saudi Arabia and Iran waging a proxy war in Yemen and trying to force it to become a sectarian battle because it suits them. And the poor defenseless civilians get caught in the crossfire and die in their hundreds. This is why I oppose everyone in this conflict. They’re all equally evil.

There are so many blogs on tumblr who say things like “Shia Muslims aren’t real Muslims” and they laugh it off like it’s a funny joke. Words and statements have weight to them. Words have consequences. This is the consequence. Regardless whether it’s just Islamic anti-Shia preachers or even Da3esh militants/supporters, people do take advantage of statements like this to justify what they do. They see it as a hint of support. It’s not funny. It’ll never be funny when people’s lives are at stake. 

The problem for a terrorist group like al-Qaeda is that its recruitment pool is Muslims, but most Muslims are not interested in terrorism. Most Muslims are not even interested in politics, much less political Islam. France is a country of 66 million, of which about 5 million is of Muslim heritage. But in polling, only a third, less than 2 million, say that they are interested in religion. French Muslims may be the most secular Muslim-heritage population in the world (ex-Soviet ethnic Muslims often also have low rates of belief and observance). Many Muslim immigrants in the post-war period to France came as laborers and were not literate people, and their grandchildren are rather distant from Middle Eastern fundamentalism, pursuing urban cosmopolitan culture such as rap and rai. In Paris, where Muslims tend to be better educated and more religious, the vast majority reject violence and say they are loyal to France.

Al-Qaeda wants to mentally colonize French Muslims, but faces a wall of disinterest. But if it can get non-Muslim French to be beastly to ethnic Muslims on the grounds that they are Muslims, it can start creating a common political identity around grievance against discrimination.


Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, then led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, deployed this sort of polarization strategy successfully in Iraq, constantly attacking Shiites and their holy symbols, and provoking the ethnic cleansing of a million Sunnis from Baghdad. The polarization proceeded, with the help of various incarnations of Daesh (Arabic for ISIL or ISIS, which descends from al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia). And in the end, the brutal and genocidal strategy worked, such that Daesh was able to encompass all of Sunni Arab Iraq, which had suffered so many Shiite reprisals that they sought the umbrella of the very group that had deliberately and systematically provoked the Shiites.

“Sharpening the contradictions” is the strategy of sociopaths and totalitarians, aimed at unmooring people from their ordinary insouciance and preying on them, mobilizing their energies and wealth for the perverted purposes of a self-styled great leader.

The only effective response to this manipulative strategy (as Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani tried to tell the Iraqi Shiites a decade ago) is to resist the impulse to blame an entire group for the actions of a few and to refuse to carry out identity-politics reprisals.

Attaching yourself obsessively to a single group/school/scholar shackles your mind, causes your heart to develop hatred for other Muslims, forbids you from benefiting from the various scholars of this Ummah, and does away with your impartiality in discussing issues. Stick to the rope of Allah and do not be divided.
—  Shaykh Omar Suleiman
From the collection: Shaykh Omar Suleiman Quotes
Originally found on: believers-journey
Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump.
I said, “Don’t do it!”
He said, “Nobody loves me.”
I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”
He said, “Yes.”
I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?”
He said, “A Christian.”
I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?”
He said, “Protestant.”
I said, “Me, too! What franchise?”
He said, “Baptist.”
I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Baptist.”
I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.”
I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.”
I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.”
I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.

-Emo Philips

Voted 44th funniest joke of all time in “The 75 Funniest Jokes of All Time” in GQ magazine (June 1999)

Iraq death toll tops 700 in February

The United Nations said Saturday that violence across Iraq in February killed 703 people, a death toll higher than the same month last year, as the country faces a rising wave of attacks rivaling the sectarian bloodshed that followed the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

The figure, issued by the U.N.’s mission to Iraq, comes close to January’s death toll of 733, showinga surge of violence that began 10 months ago with a government crackdown on a Sunni protest camp is not receding. And, as a new month began, attacks Saturday killed at least five people and wounded 14, authorities said.

Attacks in February killed 564 civilians and 139 security force members in February, the U.N. said. The violence wounded 1,381, the vast majority civilians, it said. The numbers far surpass those of February 2013, when attacks killed 418 civilians and wounded 704.

Read more

(Photo: Azhar Shallal/AFP/Getty Images)

The Saudis drop bombs on Yemen while calling it a humanitarian mission. It’s a play straight from the American playbook.
—  Toby Jones, author of “Desert Kingdom: How Oil and Water Forged Modern Saudi Arabia.” He joined Democracy Now! to discuss Saudi Arabia’s military assault on Yemen. Watch the interview at

2015 - Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Beirut for several days in the ‘You Stink’ protest. It started because garbage hadn’t been picked up in a month and was piling up in the streets, but it quickly turned into large anti-government protests denouncing their corruption, sectarianism and general uselessness. Police attacked protesters with clubs, rubber bullets, water cannons and tear gas, killing at least one protester and wounding scores more.

They exploded in my grandmother’s neighborhood of Bir Hassan, one street down from her apartment building. My mother’s appetite fizzled, along with her birthday euphoria. “I can’t wait to leave this country,” she told me later, when I frantically called after coming across the news on a Facebook feed otherwise crowded with articles about Miley Cyrus’ toes, tongue or tailbone.

She left the breakfast table empty-stomached, packed her bags, and arrived at the airport two hours before her flight’s check-in counter opened. My mother’s birthday was spent mourning lives wasted. Contemplating the what-ifs that could have easily been, had the bomb taken place twelve hours earlier when she was standing near that now traumatized spot; absorbing the guilt as she succumbed selfishly but humanly to the joy of what thankfully wasn’t. (via the things we do for love: meditations on a second bombing | THE STATE)

A lot of people on both Twitter and Tumblr have become so sectarian when it comes to current conflicts today, they are directly part of the problem and in no way shape or form, should ever voice your opinion on the Syrian or Iraqi conflict today. To simply label these conflicts as a Sunni/Shia problem, is to simply label the Cold War as a war of ideologies. No respectable historian would ever say the Cold War was simply due to communism/capitalism, which is why you cannot label the Syrian conflict as that. Which is why you can not label ISIS groups as those who “fight for” Sunnism. What is happening is far more deep-rooted and troubling. What we are seeing is neocolonialism at its very finest, doing anything possible to take down the last line of defence within the Middle East.

Could Ukraine be another Bosnia?

“You just don’t in the 21st century behave in a 19th-century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped-up pretext,” said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shortly after tens of thousands of Russian troops invaded Crimea under the auspices of protecting their Russian compatriots in the region.

But another interpretation is that Putin’s seemingly indecipherable strategy for dealing with the strategic setback Russian suffered when Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown draws inspiration from a much more recent era — the 1990s — in a volatile, ethnically divided country once, but no longer in Russia’s sphere of influence: Bosnia and Herzegovina. The bloody and chaotic process by which the former Yugoslav republic separated from Belgrade may hold clues to Russia’s intentions in Crimea and the wider Ukraine.

Continue reading

(Photo: Thomas Peter/Reuters)

For anyone who’s not living in Glasgow and doesn’t understand this mindless violence and rioting.

Glasgow has a history of pretty strong sectarianism with the Catholics (Celtic supporters) and the Protestants (Rangers). The latter traditionally being unionists or “loyalists”. There was a bit of tension over no voters who were wanting to vote no simply because of this and their “loyalty” to the queen/union as opposed to political interests.

Glasgow still has sectarian marches and the orange walk (Protestant March) seems particularly active throughout Glasgow. So when the results came in that it was a no vote, a minority of extremist unionist and Orangemen decided to use that as an excuse to have a pretty violent party. I’d say the rioters are about 90% rangers fan football hooligans.

*note* it goes without saying that not all Protestants or Rangers supporters are Orangemen and/or football hooligans. Only a minority. Though in some parts of Glasgow, it’s a pretty big issue.