At least 24 people were killed and scores others were injured when an ISIS suicide bomber blew himself up in Al Sadeq Mosque in Kuwait today. On social media, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack on the Shia mosque, the fourth such attack on Shia mosques in Gulf countries in recent months.
Last month, the ISIS claimed responsibility for two similar attacks on Shia mosques in neighbouring Saudi Arabia, the heartland of Wahabbism, a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam, which claims to be the “official form of Sunni Islam.” On May 22, a suicide bomber killed 23 people and left 102 people injured when he blew himself up in the Imam Ali Mosque in Al Qadih, in Qatif, in the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia. The following Friday, on May 31, three people were killed in a suicide bombing, which the ISIS Saudi branch Walayat Najd claimed responsibility for, and some 10 people were injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a Shia mosque in nearby Dammam.
And in November, last year, eight people were killed in Al Ahsa, also in the Eastern province, when gunmen attacked a Shia community centre, where a religious ceremony was taking place.
Check out our coverage on Global Voices Checkdesk: Suicide Bomb Attack at a Mosque in Kuwait
And now Kuwait is at the receiving end of the terror unleashed against adherents of the Shia faith by the ISIS, an Al Qaeda off-shoot which is now in control of half of Syria and huge territories in Iraq.
The news quickly spread on social media, showing graphic images of the victims and the damage in the mosque.
This video, which shows the aftermath of the attack, is being widely shared on social media:
— Minhal (@Minhal_Shah1) June 26, 2015
And this is a sample of some of the photographs from inside the mosque showing some of those killed and injured in the attack:
— Anno Bunnik بونيك (@Eurabist) June 26, 2015
Also on social media, the ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.
— Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) June 26, 2015
And on social media, netizens expressed their shock at the attack, particularly that it happened in Ramadan, the holy month of fasting in Islam.
From Bahrain, Nasra Buashwan tweets:
I'm losing my mind.Someone actually thought killing praying ppl inAllah's house in Ramadan in Friday isgood thing.#تفجير_مسجد_الامام_الصادق
— Nasra Buashwan (@Nasra91) June 26, 2015
Others say it is a natural consequence of states turning a blind eye to growing sectarianism spread from the pulpits of mosques and in school curricula in the region.
Maitham from Bahrain notes:
اشوف البعض متفاجئين? لو تقعّد واحد و تحشي مخه سنين “الشيعة كفّار الشيعة مرتدين” يعني أكيد بيجي يوم بيتشجع و بيروح يفجر نفسه في وسط “الكفّار”
— مَيْثَم (@m_aitham) June 26, 2015
I see some of you surprised. If you spend years filling up people's minds with ideology which says the Shia are apostates and infidels, it will only be a matter of time before someone gets encouraged to blow himself up to kill the infidels
Iraqi journalist Mina Al Oraibi explains:
Targeting of Shia mosques in the Gulf is an attempt to ignite hatred..preachers inciting sectarianism as culpable as bombers
— Mina Al-Oraibi (@AlOraibi) June 26, 2015
And Bahraini human rights activist Maryam Al Khawajah adds:
Gulf monarchies flock to send condolences while continuing to allow, sometimes encubating, the #sectarianism that results in these attacks
— Maryam Alkhawaja (@MARYAMALKHAWAJA) June 26, 2015
Kuwait is surprisingly implicated in openly and actively funding the ISIS.
US Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen recently pointed fingers at Kuwait for bankrolling some of ISIS activities:
a number of fundraisers operating in more permissive jurisdictions – particularly in Kuwait and Qatar – are soliciting donations to fund extremist insurgents, not to meet legitimate humanitarian needs. The recipients of these funds are often terrorist groups, including al-Qa’ida’s Syrian affiliate, al-Nusrah Front, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the group formerly known as al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI).
Our ally Kuwait has become the epicenter of fundraising for terrorist groups in Syria. A number of Kuwaiti fundraisers exploit the charitable impulses of unwitting donors by soliciting humanitarian donations from both inside and outside the country, cloaking their efforts in humanitarian garb, but diverting those funds to extremist groups in Syria. Meanwhile, donors who already harbor sympathies for Syrian extremists have found in Kuwait fundraisers who openly advertise their ability to move funds to fighters in Syria.
- Monkey Cage: Sectarianism and authoritarianism in Kuwait
- The Washington Post: Kuwait, ally on Syria, is also the leading funder of extremist rebels
- Wall Street Journal: U.S. Calls Qatar, Kuwait Lax Over Terror Financing