Who is committing the worst atrocities against, us, Muslims?

Published: January 18, 2017

We are failing to uphold the Islam of peace. PHOTO: REUTERS.

Who is responsible for the greatest numbers of deaths against Muslims today? Who commits the worst atrocities against Muslims? It is not the West that claims the highest headcount nor is it Israel. The sad truth is that today Muslims kill the most Muslims around the world.

Since the beginning of the Arab Spring in late 2010, more than 100,000 have been killed. Many of these deaths were in Syria, where thousands more languish in prisons expecting similarly grim fates. And with the rise of ISIS and the threat that it poses to regional stability, many more are expected to die.

Most of the fighters are killing “infidels”. Most of those dying are allegedly “infidels”. Almost always, that means that they are the wrong kind of Muslim to the other Muslim holding the gun. Whether they are fighters or civilians, the sin of those dying is in many cases simply being Sunni rather than Shiite, or Shiite rather than Sunni. And woe betides any smaller minorities caught in the middle.

In Pakistan, Shias, Ahmadis and minorities are being wiped out in a systematic and calculated way. In the wastelands between ISIS and what remains of Iraq and Syria, the same is true: Sunnis and Shias kill each other and ISIS occasionally targets other Sunnis accused of apostasy. Meanwhile, minority groups do their best to flee as far away as possible. When they do not, they often get caught in between, with little to protect them.

Missing a layer of truth

These events are portrayed as significant human tragedies in the West. And they are. But the reporting usually misses an important layer of truth. Because it is Muslims killing Muslims, often Arabs killing Arabs, it is not described as what they truly are: ethnic, social, sectarian and/or tribal cleansing.

A conflict such as that in Israel-Palestine can be given this dimension in the Western news narrative quite easily. And the cause of the Palestinians can be picked up by Western and Middle Eastern humanitarian and activist groups very easily because of it – and rightly so. But what is happening in Syria, Iraq, and in many other hot-spots around the Muslim world is no less serious. In fact, it skirts on the edges of genocide much more often.

Yet how often do we hear cries of protest and indignation when the communities of Ahmadis in Pakistan, or when most Sufi groups in Iraq are being effectively uprooted from the homelands. Most of those displaced will never return, and those communities will never recover. These may not have suffered for as long as the Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli state, but their communities have often been all but destroyed – by “fellow” Muslims.

We like to proclaim that Islam is a religion of peace. And for most of us it is. But we have to acknowledge that there are those Muslims for whom Islam is not a religion of peace. Whether extremist Salafist Jihadists, or Shia Revolutionary Guards, there are those in our religion that speak of Islam with a gun in their hands. And as long as they have the power to do so, they will claim to speak on our behalf as well.

We need to take responsibility for these facts. And we need to recognise that while we allow young boys and men who should know better kill Muslims on behalf of Islam all around the Muslim world, we are failing to uphold the Islam of peace. When we let our religion be hijacked by the violent minority, we are failing in our religious duty.

There is only one uprising we need. We need the silent majority who does not care whether their neighbours are Sunni, or Shia, or Sufi, or Ahmadi, or Ismaili, or Christian or Jewish, or whatever else, but who care that they are good people, we need this majority to stop being silent. We need to raise our voices against those who would steal our religion from us, destroy our homes and uproot us from our villages. And we need to teach them that Islam is the religion of peace. They are the “infidels”, and we need to at the very least fight the jihad of words to bring peace to them, and to our region.

This post originally appeared here.


Azeem Ibrahim

An International Security and Geopolitics Lecturer at the University of Chicago. Fellow and Member of the Board of Directors at the Institute of Social Policy and Understanding and a former Research Scholar at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and World Fellow at Yale. He is the Strategic Policy Advisor to Imran Khan and he tweets as @AzeemIbrahim (twitter.com/AzeemIbrahim)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • vinsin

    Which ones are colonised? What about non-Muslims world colonized by Muslims?Recommend

  • vinsin

    Muslims calling other Muslims Kafir and killing them has been happening since time immemorial. Why single out Pakistan? Non-Muslims wiped out from almost all Muslim majority states. There is no concept of minorities in Islam. Arabs dont cry or feel bad about Arab pagans.

    Palestinians have two states Syria and Jordan to call them homes. Ahmadis have none except Pakistan. Is author supporting idea of partitioning Pakistan for Ahmadis ? Who proclaimed Islam is a religion of peace?

    People like author will oppose Jinnah and Muslim league call for Jihad with Direct Action Day, and Noarkali riots etc. Minorities can never hijack, fact is majority of Muslims support those violence.

    There is nothing called Jihad of words in Islam. If that was your aim then you should not be a Muslim. That is what coward Hindus do?Recommend

  • Anwar Hasan

    The biggest enemy of the Muslims are the Muslims. The biggest killers of the Muslims are the Muslims. Muslims have been fighting Muslims for the last 1400 years.Recommend

  • Patwari

    After these so called “Muslims” killing other infidel Muslims,
    it has to be ‘Hindus’ as the seconf category.
    Look what Hindus are doing in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Killing
    babies. Old men, old women, children and the list goes on.
    A gMuslim genocide by hindus.Recommend

  • Sane

    Would you name those non-Muslim world colonized by Muslims, currently? Or this is an usual lie from Indian Troll.Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    The sad truth is that today Muslims kill the most Muslims around the world.

    Not true! The author is naive with his contridictory statements. The truth is that people of all faiths die of war, hunger, disease and natural disasters. One can write an article on each of these topics with the number count which will provide a different picture for the writer. True is also that it is the literacy and non-violence which offers the hope for the humans a peaceful future on this planet.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • shiva the destroyer

    And who are willingly joining ISIS and TTP in large numbers? LOLRecommend

  • Ahmad

    Nobody creates Nobody.Recommend

  • wb

    Alright, my dear. I’ll name them for you. Iran is a Muslim colony of Zorostrians. Iraq is a Muslim colony of Christians/Jews/Yazidis/Zorostrians. Saudi Arabia is a Muslim colony of Pagans/Jews/Christians, Pakistan is a Muslim colony of Hindus/Buddhists/Jains/Sikhs, Afghanistan is a Muslim conoly of Buddhists/Hindus/Sikhs, Jordan is a Muslim colony of Jews/Christians/Pagans, Syria is a Muslim conony of Jews/Christians/Pagans, Turkey is a Muslim colony of Jews/Christians, Kashmir is a Muslim colony of Hindus/Jains/Sikhs, Bangladesh is a Muslim colony of Hindus…

    My dear Sane, before 1450 years ago, there was NOT A SINGLE Muslim.

    My dear Sane, before 1450 years ago, there was no Islam.

    So, every Muslim country is a colony.Recommend

  • 19640909rk .

    Almost all atrocities since WW2 are being committed by Muslims- let it be on Muslims or Non-Muslims.Recommend

  • Huzur

    Islam is a religion of peace…Islam maybe religion of peace but Islamic lands are in turmoil and often unsafe to live.Recommend

  • Huzur

    Is that good and right?Recommend

  • Sane

    What an absurd logic!!Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    The non Muslims are sick and tired of Muslim’s playing the victim card when in minority but denying the same to minorities when they are in majority.Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    You are smart enough to talk of Afghanistan and Iraq but not Syria and Yemen. Let’s look at it in a different way, how about pre war Iraq and Afghanistan, did Iran and Iraq not fight for a decade? They were all killings unless you consider killings post western intervention only as killings.Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    Yes brother please enlighten us.Recommend