This is a good summary by @cybertosser of the factors for the timing of this sectarian upsurge. While the factors related to political economy are of course paramount, the role of social media has also created a novel situation that is particularly worrying because... 1/n
2/ Unlike earlier when rival scholars would have to pore over each others' dense technical volumes to find something that could be deemed heretic, now a lay Sunni sitting at home anywhere can watch a Shia majlis pretty much anywhere streamed live. And within a few hours...
3/ bite sized clips from the majlis are uploaded to social media for easy consumption. It may be possible for a well meaning Sunni to set aside the cursing of some of the Sahaba because those zakirs are often labelled "extremists" by orthodox Shias themselves...
4/ But there are some aspects of Sunni and Shia ideology that are just not compatible, and social media is bringing these differences right into the open at a vernacular level. So as we saw this year, a Shia zakir was arrested not for saying something "extreme"...
5/ but for reciting the Ziarat Ashura, a very mainstream Shia prayer attributed to Imam Baqir (the fifth Twelver imam and Hussain's grandson). The prayer includes sections cursing those responsible for the tragedy of Karbala and who opposed...
6/ the prophets's family generally according to tradition. The prayer specifically names Yazid, Muawiya, Abu Sufyan and the Umayyad clan generally and curses them for their actions. This opens a can of worms for the Sunni because it cannot be argued...
7/ that this prayer is only recited by "extremist" Shias. I dont want to get into the historicity of the sources, but suffice to say in the view of most Sunnis, Muawiya could not have been bad as he was a Companion of the Prophet and his chosen scribe.
8/ These contradictions in history are real. The Prophet's scribe Muawiya and the Prophet's dear cousin and son in law Ali went to war at Siffin. The Prophet's wife Aisha and his companions Talha & Zubayr went to war with Ali during Jamal...
9/ And these 1400 year old disputes are now playing out in the comments sections of youtube, facebook & twitter. The situation isnt symmetric. By virtue of being a minority community, Shias are generally more familiar with Sunni thought & practice than vice versa
10/ In fact, a few months ago when a dispute came to light on social media on the question of Fadak, zakir Asif Raza Alvi welcomed the threats of legal action because he wanted the 1400 yr old dispute of Fadak to be decided in a Pakistani court using historical sources!
10/ So while the state-backed gun-toting sectarian groups are the most immediate danger, I fear the potential of more widespread sectarian strife at a community level, when it will not just be the extremists of each side, but friends and neighbors fighting each other also ...
11/ because of this environment created by social media.

I might delete this thread later as I dont want to die 😬🙏

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More from @desmukh

3 Jun
The amount of disinformation & confusion about covid-19 being spread by the PTI is so much that I need a thread to keep track.

1/ Let's start from the top with Prime Minister @ImranKhanPTI :

Coronavirus is like the flu

2/ Also @ImranKhanPTI :

"Some doctors say that the type of heat Pakistan experiences, that makes the virus lose its effectiveness"

To be fair, he did say "there is a difference of opinion", but it was still irresponsible for a head of govt to say this Image
3/ Information Minister (at the time) @Dr_FirdousPTI:

"Coronavirus is dangerous but not deadly"

Read 35 tweets
8 Oct 19
Visiting the Missing & Murdered Baloch on YouTube [video thread]

1/ In 2009, @NasimZehra did an episode of her talk show on student issues in Balochistan. The most vocal guest was a young poli sci student from Karachi University named Zahid Baloch

2/ Zahid was secretary general of the Baloch Students Organisation (@BSO__AZAD) then, a student group aligned with the Baloch separatist movement. He later became chairperson of BSO-A before he went "missing" (read kidnapped by security agencies) in March 2014.
3/ Zahid hasn't been seen since, like thousands of other Baloch nationalists who have been extrajudicially kidnapped or murdered in our Dirty War in Balochistan. When those of us in "mainstream" Pakistan hear about these incidents, it's easy for us to ignore...
Read 55 tweets
4 Sep 19
Youtube Anthropology & the Globalisation of Muharram [A long thread]

1/ As it is Muharram, I wanted to share one of my ongoing personal projects: a map of YouTube videos of Muharram rituals around the world:…
2/ I did an initial write up back in 2010 explaining the map and some interesting migration patterns, in the link below. However since then I've added many more videos and different types of rituals to the map, some of which I'll highlight in this thread…
3/ One of the most interesting rituals to mark Muharram is found in parts of central India where people dress up as tigers and do a street performance in the neighborhood. See this sample from the village of Potharam in Telangana.

Read 49 tweets
4 Jun 19
As both a Muhajir and a socialist who believes in class struggle above identity politics, I want address this. While MQM is an example of an ethnic rights movement that turned fascist, it is incorrect to assume PTM and all ethnic rights movements follow this path...
... The MQM is just one ethnic movement whereas there are others in Pakistan's history, such as the National Awami Party. NAP was a coalition of ethnic (mostly) parties that combined were more progressive and pluralist than any other party in Pakistani electoral politics...
Despite each of the constituent parties being associated with a specific ethnicity, they saw no contradiction in working together, and they were simultaneously solidly grounded in leftist class-based politics. NAP was eventually crushed by Bhutto and the establishment...
Read 7 tweets
17 Apr 19
[Thread] Lets recap: Ahmed Ludhianvi, has openly called for the genocide of Shias in Pakistan. Last week he was invited as a guest by the Saudi embassy to attend an event that interior min @ShehryarAfridi1 also attended, a day after the bomb attack on Hazara Shias in Quetta (1/n)
... This photo from the April 13 event at the Saudi embassy shows minister for interior @ShehryarAfridi1 meeting with the Imam of the Kaaba, with Ahmed Ludhianvi of Sipah e Sahaba visible in the background (2/n)
Here is a photo from Dec 2018 showing Ludhianvi receiving an award from a military officer while on an army guided tour of North Waziristan with a delegation of hand-picked religious scholars (3/n)
Read 11 tweets

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