Welcome to another week of the Religious Horror Show. For those who thought this only happened in some backwards Middle Eastern country, here’s a case of Muslims shooting each other in a backwards Russian state. Masked gunmen opened fire on Karimulla Ibragimov, 49, an imam catering to radical Islam, in the town of Derbent in Russia’s Dagestan region. He, his brother and father were killed instantly from gunshot wounds and the attackers escaped by car. A woman disguised as a pilgrim detonated a bomb strapped to her body in Dagestan in August, killing popular spiritual leader Said Atsayev, 74, an opponent of militant Islam. Suicide bombers and gunmen have killed three other imams in Dagestan this year.
This is commonplace in an ongoing war between Islamic factions, the shooters were members of an opposing faction representing a different religious approach. Ibragimov represented one of the most vocally extremist factions which were demanding an independent Muslim state within Russia and in recent years, the Dagestan region has been heating up, drawing the attention of Moscow, which, just a decade before, had invaded neighboring Chechnya and ousted a separatist movement, thus restoring Moscow’s direct control. Some suggest that such an action may happen again in Dagestan against radical Muslims. This may be especially likely as the region lies only a few hundred miles from Sochi, where the Russians will host the 2014 Winter Olympics.
And while we’re at it, it’s not just Muslims killing other Muslims, it’s Muslims killing Christians and getting killed in return too! In Kaduna, Nigeria, a suicide bomber drove a jeep loaded with explosives into a Catholic church during Sunday services, killing 8 and injuring over 100. As with the above Dagestan Muslim group, this was likely done by the Islamic separatist group Boko Haram, which seeks to create an independent Muslim state in Nigeria.
Not to be outdone by the atrocity, angry Christians took to the street with knives, leaving several Muslim men dead in pools of blood. One youth in a blood-soaked shirt proclaimed “We killed them and we’ll do more!”
Often, it’s hard to even know who to blame for these attacks, it isn’t that one side is innocent, it’s that both sides are equally delusional and equally guilty. Is it any wonder that religion is responsible for so many horrors?