More of the Same
In Pakistan, a Sunni Muslim suicide bomber killed more than a score of Shiite Muslims at a religious gathering. The result was predictable.
A suicide bomber killed 23 people taking part in a Shiite religious procession in Pakistan today, according to Interior Department officials.Will there be any outcry around the Muslim world at this senseless slaughter of fellow Muslims? Any protests similar to the ones currently on view in London, Cairo and Damascus over foreign cartoons? Don’t hold your breath. But remind yourself that this is why we have borders, and why we are better off enforcing them.
News service accounts said that as many as four more people died in rioting that followed the explosion.
There was no firm count of the number of wounded, which was described as being in the dozens.
The attack took place in the town of Hunga, about 125 miles from the capital, Islamabad, in the country's northwest.
In recent years, tensions between Sunnis and Shiites in Pakistan have increased, and there have been a number of attacks on processions marking Ashura, which marks the death of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson, Hussein Imam, who is regarded by Shiites as a saint. Sunnis make up about 80 percent of the country's population.
In Afghanistan, at least five people were said to have been killed in clashes between Sunnis and Shiites near the city of Herat, news services reported. And in Iraq, security forces were on high alert as more than a million Shiites marched in processions through cities in the country's south.
In Hunga, Maulana Khurshid Anwar, a leader of the procession, told Reuters that the blast was near the platform from which he was about to address the crowd.
A local official, Mir Faisal, told the Associated Press that the after the blast the town was shrouded in smoke and that bursts of gunfire could be heard.
"Things are tense and we can't go out," he said.
News services quoted witnesses who said that Shiites went on a rampage after the explosion, burning cars and demolishing market stalls.
"I saw dead bodies and injured people crying," Mohammed Jamil, 25, told The Associated Press. "There was panic everywhere."