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Apr 30, 2008 at 09:00am IST

Shias, Sunnis to bridge sectoral differences

Lucknow: The Shia and Sunni sects of Muslims have always had traditional differences, often taking a bloody turn. To put an end to this rivalry, well-known Shia cleric, Maulana Kalbe Sadiq has now come forward with a new proposal. As a symbolic gesture Sadiq has asked the Sunni leaders to offer Namaz with their Shia counterparts.

He says, "Pahle step hai is tarike se namaz. Shia Sunni differences hai, badnami hui hai. (This is just the first step. The clashes that occur between the two sects are a disgrace for the community.)

Differences between Shias and Sunnis have often taken a violent turn. In Lucknow, which has a large Shia population, several violent clashes have taken place between the two sects in the last three decades.

Sunni Leader, Khalid Rashid says, "There are a lot of controversies and as a result, a number of lives have been lost."

One of the worst Shia-Sunni riots took place in Lucknow back in 1974 when as many as 14 persons were killed. Since then clashes between the two sects have never stopped.

  • In 1977, eight people were killed.
  • 1981 witnessed another riot but no death was reported.
  • In 2005, three people were killed.
  • In 2007, one person died in the clashes.

What has raised hopes is that Sunni leaders have readily welcomed Kalbe Sadiq's suggestions and Khalid Rashid says this will set a good example.

Though the differences between Shia and Sunni sects remain traditionally spiritual, vested interests within both communities always tried to divide the two sects for their political interests.

The move by the Shia leaders — though a small step — might go a long way in bridging the differences between the two communities.

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