“Those with hands folded around their waists are from the Sunni community. Those with hands going straight down are from the Shia community. For hundreds of years, most Shias have avoided prayers next to Sunnis and vice versa. For hundreds of years, both groups have blamed each other for being ideologically impure”, read Bilal Zaidi’s status update on Facebook.
It’s a photograph from a Shia Mosque in Okhla Vihar, Jamia Nagar on Eid-Ul-Fitr. An initiative to bring together Shia and Sunni Muslims, Shoulder to Shoulder movement, has been started by Delhi residents Syed Asad Haider Zaidi and Mazin Khan.
The two groups have fought wars and killed millions for ages. Their ideological differences are still being exploited by the power brokers in the Arab -Persian region.
“The world suffers not because of the violence of bad people but the silence of good people. #ShoulderToShoulder movement aims to bring all the people with positive inclination on the same platform: people who believe in love and brotherhood. We sincerely believe that if the masses are given an alternate narrative which is positive, we can counter the atmosphere of hate prevelant in today’s world”, Asad says.
The differences between Shia and Sunni Muslims started soon after the death of the Prophet Mohammad in 632 over the debate of rightful successor to the Prophet. Differences over religion were soon picked up by political leaders and have caused immense destruction and loss of life ever since.
“The new generation of Muslims are willing to challenge the traditions that breed hatred and the status quo. It’s willing to walk into territories that were earlier unimaginable. It’s saying goodbye to traditions that encouraged fear and hatred. It’s willing to challenge the fear of the unknown, the unseen”, said Bilal Zaidi, founder of OurDemocracy.in, in his Facebook status.
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