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PostSunnis and Shi'as (Massoud Malek, USA, 02/11/14 7:14 am)
On 9 February, Eugenio Battaglia wrote:
"Vincent Littrell is absolutely right about the problems between Sunnis and Shi'a, but for the last 1300 years whenever they are independent they seem unable to resist killing each other."
The Arabs invaded Persia not only for its reputed wealth, but to bring into the faith new converts and to impose Islam as the new state religion. When the Arab commander (Saad ibn-e Abi Vaghas) faced the huge library of Ctesiphon, he wrote to the second Caliph, Omar: what should be done about the books? Omar wrote back, "If the books contradict the Koran, they are blasphemous and on the other hand if they are in agreement with the text of Koran, then they are not needed, as for us the Koran only is sufficient." Thus, the huge library was destroyed and the books or the product of the generations of Persian scientists and scholars were burned or thrown into the Euphrates. Those who were literate were massacred and their books burned, so that after one generation the people were illiterate.
The world's oldest university (Jondi Shapour) was built by Shapour I of the Sassanid dynasty (1700 years ago). It included a medical school and a large hospital. It was a center for training scientists for centuries to come. Persian, Greek, Indian, and Roman scientists conducted studies and scientific research there. Einstein noted that when the ancestors of Europeans were eating each other in the forests of Europe, Persians built universities. After the Arab invasion, the university declined and was eventually abandoned, and its library and books vanished.
Besides burning books, the Arab invaders resorted to many inhumane actions, including beheading, mass enslavement of men, women and children, and the imposition of heavy taxes on those who did not convert. Persians were not allowed to speak Farsi in public for over 200 years.
During the two centuries of Arab occupation, a total of 130 Iranian uprisings were recorded. All were brutally put down. The first voice of protest against the Arab oppression came from Firooz, a Persian artisan and prisoner of war who assassinated Omar.
The history of Zoroastrians of Iran after the Arab conquest and during their occupation can be summarized in three words: oppression, misery, and massacre.
Worshiping Omar and Osman (the third Caliph) who destroyed their lands and their national identity, was out of the question for newly converted Zoroastrians. They chose to worship Ali, the fourth Caliph, whose son Hussein Married the daughter of the last Sassanid king.
Iranians never hated Sunnis, they just hated the Arab invaders. Some of the greatest Persian poets, philosophers, and scientists, like Omar Khayyam, Saadi, and Avicenna, were Sunni. Although Iran was invaded by Turks several times, there was no hatred between them. During the Iran-Iraq war, Iranians hated all Iraqis, not only Sunni Iraqis.
Genghis Khan raised pyramids of severed heads of the entire population of Samarkand as the symbol of Mongol victory. At the request of Genghis Khan's daughter whose husband was killed by a Nishapuran, her brother Tolui undertook the gruesome task of murdering all women, children, infants, dogs, and cats. Worried that some of the inhabitants were wounded but still alive, Khan's daughter allegedly asked that each Nishapuran be beheaded, their skulls piled in pyramids. Ten days later, the pyramids were completed.
Unlike Arabs, Mongols never tried to convert the occupied population or destroy their heritage; they just murdered them. Actually, Genghis Khan's own mother converted to Nestorian Christianity.
The hatred between Sunnis and Shiites in the Arab countries really started after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Ninety-nine percent of Iranians have no idea who the Alawites are. You don't see any video of Iranian Shiites beheading Iranian Sunnis. More Syrian Christians were and are killed by the so-called Sunni freedom fighters than by Alawites. These freedom fighters of Syria use children as young as four years old to unseat Basha-Al Assad. Should the West intervene and move children from Syria to nursery school?
Please see the video on the following site, and then make up your mind about how to resolve the Syrian conflict.
JE comments: The video shows a toddler squeezing off shots from an AK-47. The child appears clueless about what he is doing, which suggests he is not an actual combatant. I suspect the clip was made merely to intimidate, and it succeeds.
Very interesting history from Massoud Malek, by the way. So the Persians embraced Shi'a merely as a nose-thumbing at their Arab conquerors? As for Massoud's claim that the Sunni-Shi'a divide in Arab countries began only in 2003, does he specifically mean within individual Arab countries, such as Iraq and Syria? The 1980s Iran-Iraq war certainly had a Sunni-Shi'a element.