Azaranica is a non-biased news aggregator on Hazaras. The main aim is to promote understanding and respect for cultural identities by highlighting the realities they face on daily basis...Hazaras have been the victim of active persecution and discrimination and one of the reasons among many has been the lack of information, awareness, and disinformation.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Student Killed in Melee at Afghan University

November 25, 2012 6:05 pm

By AZAM AHMED / The New York Times

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Sectarian violence erupted on the campus of Kabul University on Saturday, claiming the life of at least one student and wounding eight others as Shiite Muslim students observed a major religious holiday, the police said.

The clash began Saturday evening as Sunni Muslim students tried to prevent their Shiite counterparts from observing Ashura inside a dormitory mosque. The holiday commemorates the martyrdom of Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad and a revered figure in Shiite Islam. The confrontation escalated during the night, with students throwing stones at one another. University officials eventually sent in the police to break up the melee.

Some police officers said that as many as three people might have been killed, but only one death was confirmed as of Saturday night. University officials evacuated the school and canceled classes for the next 10 days.

Shiites and Sunnis represent the two main branches of Islam. Some extremist Sunnis view Shiites as heretics.

The government had hoped to avoid violence during Ashura this year after a series of bombings killed more than 60 worshipers in Kabul during last year's holiday. Expanded security measures this year successfully thwarted at least two suicide bombings during Saturday's processions, which drew tens of thousands of Shiites to the streets.

Aside from the melee at Kabul University, there were few other episodes of violence reported across the country.

While the Shiite minority, many of them ethnic Hazaras, suffered violent discrimination under the Taliban before 2001, ethnic violence has been muted in recent years. Last year's Ashura bombings were the work of a Pakistani extremist group known for attacking Shiites for their religious beliefs.

But last month, fighting erupted primarily between ethnic Pashtuns and Tajiks at Kabul Education University after President Hamid Karzai decided to rename the school the Martyr of Peace Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani University. Mr. Rabbani, a former Afghan president who was killed by a suicide bomber last year, was a Tajik.

Sharifullah Sahak contributed reporting.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
First Published November 25, 2012 6:01 pm

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