Letter to the editor about New Mexico State University support of Muslims in wake of Albuquerque murders

Letter to the editor about NMSU and Muslims article of Friday Aug 26.  Posted 8/26/22

Friday’s Grant County Beat had a story headlined: “NMSU pledges solidarity with Muslim community following shooting deaths.” The deaths referred to were four Muslim men murdered in Albuquerque since last November. A suspect has been arrested for at least two of the killings, and is probably responsible for all four. 

                                                                                                                                                             This arrest was not mentioned in the NMSU article, which was all about how various groups and college officials at NMSU are wonderful people eager “to show a genuine act of kindness to respectfully serve and support the Muslim community in New Mexico,” in the words of Yoshi Iwasaki, Dean of NMSU’s College of Health, Education and Social Transformation. (Social Transformation?) 

In fact, any mention of the suspect arrested for the killings would have detracted from all the virtue posturing at NMSU. The suspect, you see, is another Muslim, a refugee from Afghanistan.  His motive for the killings is that the victims were all Shiite Muslims and he is a Sunni Muslim.  The Sunnis and the Shiites have been killing each other for 1400 years. The Battle of Karbala in 680 AD marked the beginning of a never-ending Sunni-Shia civil war.   

It is never-ending because each sect considers the other to be apostates or hypocrites, and the eternal command of Allah is to wage war against such unbelievers until they are subdued. An analogy would be if the Troubles of Northern Ireland in the late Twentieth Century represented a permanent condition of Protestant-Catholic Christians everywhere on earth. 

Shia Muslims are the majority in only a few Muslim nations, Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, and Bahrain. Shias are only between 10 and 20 percent In Afghanistan, where they have been routinely terrorized by the majority Sunnis.  A recent report from Human Rights Watch concerning Afghanistan cited  “— suicide bombings that killed at least 72 people at the Sayed Abad mosque in Kunduz on October 8, and a bombing that killed at least 63 people at the Bibi Fatima mosque in Kandahar on October 15. After the Kandahar attack, ISIS issued a statement saying it would target Shia in their homes and centers “in every way, from slaughtering their necks to scattering their limbs… and the news of [ISIS’s] attacks…in the temples of the [Shia] and their gatherings is not hidden from anyone, from Baghdad to Khorasan.”(1) 

Note the warning that Shias would be attacked “in their homes and centers” i.e., mosques.  This means that there is no place in Afghanistan where Shias can be safe from the Sunnis. But it’s not just Afghanistan: it’s everywhere. That includes the streets of Albuquerque and the campus at NMSU.  Oh, you say, Muslim refugees won’t bring their cultural baggage with them when they come to America? They would be the first group who didn’t. We shouldn’t be surprised that a Sunni refugee from Afghanistan killed four Shias in Albuquerque — or anywhere else in America.  

The good people at NMSU, and I mean that sincerely, invited Sureyya Husain of the Southern New Mexico Islamic Center to participate in their solidarity show. The Southern New Mexico Islamic Center is a SUNNI Mosque in Las Cruces. Was Sureya Husain there to be questioned about a Sunni killing Shias in Albuquerque? I’m afraid not.  

Thus, the NMSU staff and faculty, by inviting Sunnis to participate, could be seen as supporting the Sunni killing of Shias. This was not their intention, but in a Sunni vs. Shia situation, you either take sides or condemn both.  Knowledgeable people condemn both.    

  1. https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/10/25/afghanistan-surge-islamic-state-attacks-shia 

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