Three Australian Sunni Muslims have been convicted of firebombing a Shia mosque in Fawkner, Australia in an ISIS-inspired arson attack.
Abdullah Chaarani, Ahmed Mohamed, and Hatim Moukhaiber were given lengthy prison sentences in the Victorian Supreme Court for their role in attacking the Imam Ali Islamic Centre. Fawkner is a suburb of the Australian city of Melbourne.
Chaarani and Mohamed received 22 years for the actions, with Hatim getting 16. The former two are also accused of plotting a terrorist attack shortly after the mosque burning, that occurred in December 2016, that would target the broader Australian public.
The Shia mosque was almost totally destroyed in the fire, and the men spraypainted “Islamic State” on the building’s walls, leaving little to no doubt about their motives for the arson. The Islamic State has extensively persecuted Shia Muslims in Iraq and Syria, even going so far as to separate Shia Iraqi soldiers from Sunnis before executing the latter.
Tensions between Sunni and Shia Muslims are almost as old as the religion itself, dating back to the 6th century beginnings of the Islamic faith. In recent years and decades, conflict between the Islamic sects have grown in intensity, expanding out of the Middle East to immigrant Islamic communities in the western world.
As mass immigration continues from troubled and conflict-prone regions of the world to countries such as Australia, it’s increasingly likely that centuries-old sectarian blood feuds will find themselves recreated in western cities and towns.
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