November 16, 2001

EDITORIAL: Religious War Underway in Afghanistan

War against terrorism evolves into religious conflict

Despite the many pronouncements by the President and his administration that the "War on Terrorism" would never be a "war" against the religion of Islam, it now appears that the "War against Terrorism" is rapidly evolving into a tribal/religious conflict. The U.S. is slowly being dragged into a quagmire that hasn't had a solution in centuries.

The Northern Alliance, the main U.S.-backed, anti-Taliban force, are Shiite Muslims whose members are from the Uzbeks, Tajiks and Hazareras tribes, traditional rivals of the Sunni Muslim Pashtuns. The Northern Alliance has launched a determined effort to turn the "War against Terrorism" into a war against all those who are Sunni Muslims. The Sunni civilian population in Afghanistan is being massacred right along with Taliban soldiers.

It now appears that the U.S. and its allies are in danger of becoming involved in a centuries-old conflict between two competing religious protagonists; the Shiites and the Sunni Muslims.

To be a Shiite is to be a Muslim of the branch of Islam, comprised of sects believing in Ali and that the Imams are the only rightful successors of Muhammad. The Imams are the leaders of a Mosque, devinely appointed, sinless and they are the infallible successors of Muhammad.

The Sunni Muslims are of the branch of Islam that adheres to orthodox tradition and who acknowledge the first four Caliphs as the rightful successors of Muhammad.

The Sunni and the Shiite use and believe in the Koran, the book of sacred writings accepted by Muslims as revelations made to Muhammad by Allah through the Angel Gabriel.

The problem, Mr. President: We allowed our country to get involved in a tribal warfare between two feuding religious sects.

The question, Mr. President: How do we get out of this painful situation? Christians have proven very inept at resolving their own internal religious problems without taking on the job of trying to resolve the problems of Islam.

The question still remains, Mr. President: How are we going to get out of this quagmire the likes of which we have helped to create?


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