Shias in Pakistan receive death threat text messages

'Kill, Kill, Shias,' say the text warnings to members of Shia community.


Reuters November 22, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Shias, targeted in three explosions which killed 16 people on Wednesday, are now receiving death threat text messages on cellphones ahead of a key event in their religious calendar that has been tainted by violence in the past.

“Kill, Kill, Shias,” say the text warnings to members of the minority sect.

Hardline Sunni groups linked to al Qaeda have in recent months stepped up attacks against Shias, whom they regard as non-Muslims.

Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s violence and said it would stage more attacks on Shias over the next few days.

More than 300 Shias have been killed in Pakistan so far this year in sectarian conflict, according to human rights groups.

“Genocide against Shias is already taking place in Pakistan so the text messages don’t really matter that much,” said Jalal Haider, who received a text threat.

Hardline Sunnis are expected to strike again this weekend, the climax of the Shia mourning month of Muharram. Sunni groups have staged high-profile suicide bombings against processions on that occasion before.

Muharram marks the anniversary of the Battle of Karbala where the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) and his family members were killed.

About 50,000 people are expected to march through the streets of Islamabad on Saturday and thousands of security personnel are expected to be deployed in a bid to avoid attacks.

Any large-scale sectarian violence could hurt Pakistan’s efforts to show it has improved security as it hosts the leaders of eight developing countries at a summit in Islamabad.

Pakistani intelligence officials say extremist groups, led by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, or LeJ, have escalated their bombings and shootings of Shias to trigger violence that would pave the way for a Sunni theocracy in US-allied Pakistan.

Pakistan is nowhere near that stage but officials worry that LeJ and other groups have succeeded in dramatically ratcheting up tensions and provoking revenge attacks in their bid to destabilise the nuclear-armed country.

Our Publications

COMMENTS (32)

hm | 8 years ago | Reply

The blood-letting of Shi'a is over 1000 years old. Every epoch, the Shi'a communities are purged from some corner of the Muslim world. Meanwhile, the average Sunni says and does nothing. Then, something happens where the Sunni becomes a minority. For example, a Muslim land will be colonized or occupied. And then, finding himself in the position of a minority, the Sunni will all of a sudden become enamoured with the Ummah and exhort Muslims to rise up against injustice. If we look at the numbers, more Shi'a have been killed by Sunni and Salafi muslims than by non-Muslims.

Let's be clear. I absolutely respect the various Sunni schools of thought. They are nuanced, well-developed, highly complex schools of thought on par with any Shi'a school of thought. However, as someone on this message board wrote" You people will state every manner of utterly improbable theory just so that you don’t have to admit to your mistakes, past and present. Because admitting to mistakes will force you to take corrective measures, which you and your establishment do not want to take."

I completely agree with this sentiment. The facts are that, for the most part, Sunni muslims have not taken ownership over the genocide of Shi'a in Pakistan or in Saudi. They have not taken ownership of the apartheid in Bahrain or Saudi. They have not taken historical ownership for the Ottoman massacre of Shi'a or the massacre of Hussein. Shi'a must continue to press for Sunni recognition of sunni-led crimes. HOWEVER, this does not reflect on the sunni community as a whole or on the sunni schools of thought. What it does do, though, is finally have the sunni community actually acknowledge that Shi'a have been massacred under the auspices of sunni governments for over 1000 years.

I would like to end this comment on the note that, regardless of differences, I have a deep and profound respect for Sunni thought and practices. So I hope that the above comment is taken in the spirit. At the same time, I will not bend on the unequivocal rights of Shi'a as well as their responsibility to protect themselves and reveal the oppressive elements in sunni communities which have utterly massacred entire Shi'a communities.

Nayla | 8 years ago | Reply

How do they get their telephone numbers?

VIEW MORE COMMENTS
Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ