March 12, 2012: Attack on Shia mosque in Belgium

On March 12, 2012 a petrol bomb was thrown through the window of the Imam Reza mosque in Brussels killing the resident imam.

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – Many people emigrate to get away from age-old conflicts: sometimes those conflicts follow them anyway.

I am the grandson of eastern European immigrants to Canada. While I do not know what drove my grandparents – two from Ukraine and two from Poland – to come to this great land (only my paternal grandfather was alive when I was born and I stupidly never thought to ask him) I can hazard a guess. Many take the difficult decision to leave their homelands in search of a better life elsewhere.

Some are caught up in disputes or ancient hatreds in their native land and simply want to put it all behind them. They believe that even if their adopted country will impose challenges on them, it is all worth it, especially for their children.

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…anyone fed up with all that crap back home! (By The Mechanical Curator collection, British Library, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons)

One such hatred that has spanned more than a millennium is that between the Shia and the Sunni in Islam. A blog post is no place for summing this up but suffice to say a lot of Sunnis, and more importantly Sunni terrorists, really despise the Shia. In their way of seeing it the only good Shiite is a dead Shiite.

On this day in 2012

A petrol bomb was thrown through the window of the Imam Reza mosque in the Brussels suburb of Anderlecht, killing the resident imam. The 46-year old cleric died of smoke inhalation. Police later arrested a man of North African origin.

The mosque was apparently almost entirely burned down.

Police spokeswoman

It was believed that ‘tensions‘ in the Middle East were behind the attack: the mosque had received threats prior to the incident. Whatever the motive this was one more death over a never ending argument over succession in the Muslim world. It is time to move on folks!

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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