Focus on Sunni jihad leaves Shiite counterpart underexposed

21 March 2016 — If the Western media are to be believed, jihadism’s biggest threat to Europe’s security is the return of Sunni fighters. Daan Weggemans and Lisa Heintzbergen call attention to the fact that an ‘other’ jihad – bearing similar threats – is being fought: the Shiite jihad.

Defending Shia Islam

As the Sunni jihad rages in Syria and Iraq, Shiite believers are being killed; their holy shrines destroyed. Backed religiously and politically by Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran, Shiites have mobilized in the area to fight their own defensive jihad. Estimates on the number of foreign fighters vary, but it is certain that thousands of Shiites have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join the battle.

An alarming prospect

While the media’s focus has been on returning Sunni fighters, the prospect of returning Shiite jihadists is equally alarming. Not only will they return hardened and trained in battle; their sectarian ideology will have strengthened, thus increasing the possibility of Sunni-Shiite tensions in European cities. Weggemans and Heintzbergen call for more awareness of this ‘other jihad’ – read the full article here.

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