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Fear of Syrian Sectarianism Spreads Beyond Middle East to Other Muslims

12:47 PM, Jul 9, 2013 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
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Toward the eastern edge of the world’s Muslim communities, the All India Ulema and Mashaikh Board (AIUMB), a leading body of Sunni clerics and Sunni Sufi leaders, issued a comparable warning against fanatical Islamist interference in places including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Mali, Syria, and Turkey. Maulana Syed Mohammad Ashraf Kichowchhwi, general secretary of the AIUMB, condemned the Taliban and the Muslim Brotherhood. He declared that terrorism has “burned Pakistan and [other] Islamic countries” and that “Wahhabis are carrying out their agenda of killing non-Wahhabis in other disturbed Muslim nations.”

There are almost no Shia Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and they are a minority among Indian Muslims, who themselves are a minority, although making up one of the largest Muslim contingents on the planet. The moderate Sunni leaders, rather than seeking a way out for Assad, may see the Syrian turmoil as threatening not only the Middle East, but the whole of Islam. Whether Muslim peace-seekers may prevail over Iranian agents and Wahhabi fanatics contending for dominance in Syria remains to be seen. But the Sunni Muslim voices imploring an end to the Syrian butchery may prove more important than the so-far ineffectual debates of the global powers.

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