I recently read an article written for Al Monitor, one of my favorite MENA news sources, titled The Middle East’s New Divide: Muslim Versus Muslim by Taufiq Rahim. He finds that the more prevalent conflict than West v. Islam is within the Muslim world itself. Rahim says: ” 90% of terrorism-related fatalities have been Muslim. One is more likely to see the demonization of a Shiite than a Jew by an extremist Muslim ideologue. The battle lines have shifted from Islam versus the West to Muslim versus Muslim, and it is time for politicians and pundits in the United States and the Middle East alike to catch up.” He explains that under the surface of what has looked like West v. Muslim World (MENA), more complicated factions and conflicts were broiling within the Muslim World (of course).
Fitna (intra-Muslim strife) has been an omnipresent reality almost since the advent of the faith (see Shiite v. Sunni, Sayyid Qutb, the Muslim Brotherhood leader executed in 1960s Egypt and an inspiration to Al-Qaeda & 14th-century theologian Ibn Taymiyyah). Rahim concludes that there are “three concurrent battle lines pitting Muslim against Muslim across the region: militants versus the state, Shiites versus Sunnis (and Salafists versus Sufis) and secularists versus Islamists… Most of the Muslim world has not undergone a period of neo-enlightenment, and many countries are just now entering the messy period of political modernization. This means the fundamental issue of the role of religion in the state is being debated, finally, in the public square rather than in the castle or an ivory tower.”
Most of this post was from his excellent article, which I would love for you to read here: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/08/new-middle-east-muslim-versus-muslim.html#ixzz2c6lrTA1v
The horrific clashes in Egypt, a country that I wanted to visit so badly while I was in Jordan, makes my heart ache. It seems that for Egyptians the devil is within the walls of its own state, tearing apart mosques and civil life. While some of my friends were celebrating the overthrow of Morsi, I grimaced as I saw the beginning of a violent fight for political legitimacy. I held my tongue, hoping that I was wrong. I hate that I’m right. History will give Egypt’s years of turmoil the weight it deserves. But now the conversation regarding Egypt should seek deeper understanding of the fitna rather than the square-peg-in-a-round-hole script of West v. Muslim World. Inshallah, Egypt will find peace.