From Tehran, the capital of Iran, comes a reminder that Islam is not monolithic. As with the other Religions of the Book -- Christianity and Judaism -- there are a number of divisions and even more subdivisions, each one claiming that they and only they have the True Faith. The main groups Sunni extremists, including ISIS, despise Shia-majority Iran. Iran has also come under attack in the past by Arab insurgents. The two biggest Muslim groups are the Sunnis and the Shias. (Westerners used to call Shias "Shi'ites", but had a tendency to mispronounce the word.) They hate each other.
Wahabism, the sect that dominates Saudi Arabia, is an extreme form of Sunni Islam, which is itself more extreme than the Shia version. Sunni extremists, including ISIS, despise Iran, which is mostly Shia. There's also an ethnic divide, as the Iranians aren't Arabs, but a different ethnic group which we used to call "Persian". Anyway, whether through fear or having other things to do -- blowing up Christians -- ISIS hasn't attacked Iran... until today.
Today, ISIS has claimed responsibility for a deadly pair of attacks on Iran's parliament and... wait for it... the shrine of the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
The Tehran attacks began mid-morning, local time, when assailants armed with AK-47s stormed Iran's parliament building, where a session was in progress. One of the attackers blew himself up inside. The siege lasted until mid-afternoon. Not counting the jihadis, 12 innocent Muslims were killed and 42 wounded. This is the first ISIS attack on Iran itself. Until now, when not hunting "infidels" in the streets of London, Paris, Berlin etc., ISIS has been fighting Iranian-backed forces in Syria and Iraq.
In addition to being lethal, the attack on the shrine of Khomeini is symbolically stunning. As Iran's first Supreme Leader, Khomeini is a towering figure in the country and was its revolutionary leader in the 1979 ouster of the shah.
And here's a little detail for clueless Western security forces to keep in mind. Iranian Deputy Interior Minister Mohammad Hossein Zolfaghari told Iran's state TV the "apparently male" attackers wore women's attire. Just yesterday Walt told you about the (perhaps) demented Arab woman who rampaged through a Canadian Tire store in Toronto, attacking innocent bystanders with a golf club (really) and a knife which she had hidden under her Islamic attire. Her face was obscured by a niqab, which she was still wearing when she appeared in court yesterday afternoon.
Dear readers, the Muslim civil war is being fought in the Middle East, but the Islamic extremists' mission to conquer the world (or at least the worthwhile parts of it) and exterminate the "infidels" (meaning US) knows no boundaries. I don't recommend nuking Iran or Syria or Saudi Arabia or Iraq. I think we should let them fight it out until there's just one left and then throw that guy down a deep well. But I do think we should defend ourselves and our Western Christian (?) civilization in our own lands. And the best defence is a good offence!
Question of the day: Where is Santiago Matamoros (St. James, slayer of Moors) now that we need him?