Indian Shiite groups have announced that they have thousands of adherents standing ready to fight ISIS in Iraq and “defend Shia holy sites,” reports the Telegraph:
“We have 25,000 volunteers who have filled in the forms and given their passports and are ready to go any moment. Another hundred thousand have got in touch with us and have pledged their support. We are looking at a million volunteers to form a human chain around the holy shrines of Karbala and Najaf, in case the Isis attacks. We will do everything to stop the advance of the enemies”, said Syed Bilal, spokesman of Anjuman-e-Haideri which protects Delhi’s own ‘Karbala’ shrine.
As Peter Berger wrote earlier this week, the schism between Sunni and Shi’a has a long and bloody history that is as vivid for many followers today as it was a thousand years ago. Karbala, one of the holy sites mentioned by the Indian group, is the site of a fierce battle the Shi’a lost and still commemorate yearly. The struggle between these two branches of Islam threatens to envelop the entire Middle East—and, as this story shows us, perhaps countries outside it as well. Is the second Battle of Karbala in the offing?