Somebody set off a bomb at a mosque in southeastern Iran Thursday. Quite a few people were killed. The explosion caught worshipers commemorating the death of Fatima, daughter of the prophet Mohammed.
Turns out, the three hanged men were arrested before the explosion. They're charged with providing explosives to the actual bomber. They may have actually had something to do with the bombing. And, perhaps more to the point from their perspective, they're now dead.
Unlike American courts, Iranian justice is swift: arrested Thursday, hanged Saturday. With a trial in between.
Sunnis Killing Shiites Killing SunnisJundallah or God's Brigade, said they did the bombing. The Associated Press called them "a Sunni militant group believed to have links with al-Qaida". An outsider might think it's odd that Muslims calling themselves "God's Brigade" would kill other Muslims, damaging a mosque in the process.
It makes perfect sense, though. Iran is a predominantly Shiite country. "God's Brigade" is Sunni. And, they're part of an ethnic minority in Iran: Baluchi.
Makes perfect sense: from their point of view.
As I've said before, Islam is far from a united, monolithic, bunch. The Shiite-Sunni feud was going strong when the Hatfields and the McCoys started killing each other - and from the looks of things, will be going on as long as there are Sunnis and Shiites.
- - - And it's the Fault of AmericaIran's judiciary system gave names to the dead men:
- Haji Nouti Zehi
- Gholam Rasoul Shahoo Zehi
- Zabihollah Naroui
The hanging gave someone named Hojatoleslam Ebrahim Hamidi a chance to say a few words:
"...Before the executions, Hojatoleslam Ebrahim Hamidi said: 'These three traitors, who smuggled in the explosives and put them at the disposal of a terrorist played a major role in the murders,' IRNA said.Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, had a few words to say on the subject:
"The three were hanged in public just before the funerals of the people killed in the mosque Thursday.
" 'The three were charged with waging war (against God), corruption on earth and activities against the state. They were convicted and they had confessed to their crimes, and their role in smuggling explosives into the country had been proven,' Hamidi told IRNA...." (CNN)
"...Hamidi said: 'The enemy is now trying to sow dissension among the various tribes and sects and are trying to flame the fires through terrorist acts. While the country is preparing for the 10th presidential elections, the hand of world's arrogant powers is coming out through the sleeves of a bunch of traitors who ignore even the sanctity of mosques.'..." (CNN)
"...'In his statement, he condemned the involvement of certain expansionist superpowers and their spying organizations in the plots against Muslim nations and between the followers of Islam's different sects and causing bloodshed among Muslim brothers in Iran and other regional countries,'..." IRNA reported. (CNN)
When in Doubt, Blame AmericaLooks like "certain expansionist" may have replaced "imperialist warmonger," but it's the same tired old line I've heard for about a half century now: Whatever the problem is, it's the fault of America.
Blaming America has a certain attraction. The odds are good that there's an American company, or at least an American embassy, within stone-throwing distance of trouble anywhere in the world. America's a big, powerful country: but, as North Korea has been demonstrating, remarkably slow to react violently to threats - Professor Churchill and Code Pink notwithstanding.
With Friends Like These, Does Islam Need Enemies?As I've written before, I don't see Islam as being behind the mess in the Middle East. I think that what's happened is that a culture which was ancient when Abraham moved out of Ur added an Islamic paint job to its customs and assumptions.
For more than a thousand years, that worked just fine. For Middle Eastern men, anyway. That part of the world was isolated. If you wanted to cut off your wife's head because you were feeling out of sorts, there weren't any human rights groups around to make a fuss.
Only a few generations ago, that changed. Men who had, from time immemorial, been living in a world of burqas and beheadings were faced with Barbies, Budweiser, and civil rights. It must have been a terrible shock - and apparently still is.
I think what we're seeing is in part a culture being pulled - kicking and screaming - over several thousand years' worth of social and legal change: in a few generations.
Interestingly, Islam as practiced in places outside the Middle East doesn't seem to be quite as crazy as what we see in places like Saudi Arabia.
- "U. S. Bombed Mosque: Iran Official - 'When in Doubt, Blame the Americans' "
(May 29, 2009)
- "House of Saud Lashes Old Woman: Another Tale from the Weird Side"
(March 10, 2009)
- "Canadian Mosque's 'Specialized De-Radicalization Intervention Program' - Sounds Good"
(February 26, 2009)
- " 'Towelhead,' 'Retard,' and Talking Sense in a Global Society"
(February 24, 2009)
- "Muzzammil Hassan's Beheaded Wife No Honor Killing - Move Along"
(February 19, 2009)
- "What is Islam? Even Muslims Don't Seem to Agree"
(February 6, 2009)
- "With Friends Like These, Does Islam Need Enemies?"
(January 22, 2008)
- " 'They’re all Muslims' - This Does Not Help"
(December 29, 2007)