A New Al Qaeda
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The Sunni-Shiite split happened c. 650 C.E. In the religion of Islam, it carries great political and theological weight. Historically, Islamic states (e.g. Arabia, Persia, Ottoman Empire, Mughal India, etc.) have always lent themselves to be theocratic. The first state leaders who emerged from the birth of Islam c. 600s CE were the Caliphs. Over the next one thousand years, the world would see various Sheikhs, Sultans and Khans all vie for power in the culturally flourishing part of the world which is known as Southwest Asia, or the Middle East. Islam, although contrary to what may meet the eye today, was the cause of serious development in the region. Architecture, arts, mathematics, astronomy and medicine were all revolutionized by empires which spanned thousands of miles and thousands of years. Today, the Middle East is known as a universal hotbed. Every day, children live in fear for not only their lives but for the lives of their families. The simplicity of the Sunni-Shiite split could not be more evident. Yet, I say this as a Hindu, as a non-Islamic person. The split was caused by dissent concerning the succession of caliphs after the great prophet Muhammad. The Sunnis all believed it should have been Abu Bakr, one relative of Muhammad. The Shias felt that the title belonged to Ali, yet another relative. And similar to Christianity, various sects in Islam developed with time (e.g. Twelver Shiism, Sufism, Kwajism, etc.). Nevertheless, I am not here to give you a history lesson. I am here to talk about the "New Al Qaeda."
If you've been following the news recently, you will know that a new terrorist organization by the name of ISIS has plagued Iraq in civil strife. ISIS is the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, a Sunni driven campaign which seeks to spread the word of Allah as stated in Sunni beliefs and universalize Islam by way of jihad, or holy war. After a gruesome PR campaign was launched and released by ISIS, the United States was quick to raise arms and fairly literally, run around like chickens with their heads cut off. Within the matter of weeks, the terror in Iraq has brought attention to the policy of President Barack Obama. Obama's desire to assess the situation carefully, and to take steps to a helpless Iraqi government seeking foreign intervention, has got partisan America in a twist. How? Why?
I am proud of my nation and its democratic ability to resolve its issues; however, in recent times, I question the very nature of my country's democracy in its effectiveness. Why does the Republican Party wish to throw Obama in a gutter? This is not the appropriate time to point fingers. And after a near 14 year war, I think we should stop trying to meddle in foreign politics. If the United States were to "protect its interests" in another way, we wouldn't be in this partisan rift in the first place. Anyway, I want to ask you, the teens and youth of the world: what do you think about this new terrorist campaign? How would you like to see your country react? Do you think Islam will forever be sullied by sectarian conflict?