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The Secluded Shi'ite

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"سبحان الله! الحرب الأمريكية !"(Praise Allah! American War!)Everyone chanted as they filed out of the building. Nabil said to his friends: “This war is great! I can’t wait to destroy some Americans!” But in reality, Nabil was thinking: But for some strange reason, I can’t shake the feeling that it’s the wrong thing. I love my country, and I am willing to sacrifice myself to Allah, but for this cause?

In the small town of Zareh Sharan, Afghanistan, large terrorist movements were about to begin. Nabil was being trained in a small unit of troops set to defend their town against American invaders; they are also being trained to blend in with the crowd until the opportunity comes to strike. In the Shi’a sect of Islam, they practice what is known as “Jihad”, which means struggle, to strive in the way of Allah. The reason this is important is because it is the reason that Nabil and his fellow Arabs are in this war, and in this fight. They feel that it is their duty to their god, Allah, to fight against the Americans, for their culture is affecting others around the world, making it more imperfect.

This is where Nabil’s story takes place: he believes that the terrorism and attacks in Afghanistan can be justified, but he also secretly thinks that the situation could be handled in a different way. Of course Nabil would never admit his feelings of this, however, because he would then be defying the church, and his fellow Muslim brethren. Nabil wanted to help the Americans, to possibly join them in their fight, because he saw the flaws in the Al Qaeda concepts. It seemed to him that his gullible, automaton friends were impervious to the fact that things were getting a little out of hand: the attack plans being more intense, more suicide bombings taking place, using innocent women and children as body shields and bombs. Seemingly, Nabil was alone.

Ever since the 9/11 attacks in the United States, no location in Afghanistan was truly safe, Nabil learned. True, Saddam has been captured and hanged, but that did not solve the problem. That was in Iraq, and over in this country, Osama Bin Laden is still on the loose. “What a radical. If I could, I would teach him the suffering we have to deal with here” Nabil muttered with a subtle smirk. If only, if only…

On a training mission in the mountains, the fleet was ambushed. There were so many American troops that the group was forced to separate to create a diversion. This was a training situation no longer. Nabil took out at least 4 scouts; he shot so many wild rounds it was only an estimated guess. On the way back, he came across one soldier wounded, but still alive. The soldier obviously could not walk. Surely no one will see me do this, Nabil thought as he tried to reason with the soldier that he was a friendly. He gave the trooper his supplies, as a peace offering of sorts, and handed the soldier his radio.

When confronted by his commander about where his bag with all of his equipment in it, Nabil simply stated that he had to throw it down to evade the attackers, that the pack was too cumbersome. Indifferently, the excuse was accepted and Nabil was given a new bag. Then the commander went to the front of the room to give a speech. Apparently, there were new plans in store for this group. The task was simply to kill as many as possible at the irrigation system nearby, where Americans would supposedly be visiting late that night. This is the final test, Nabil thought to himself.

When they arrived that night, everything seemed to be going just as planned. There were only the soldiers, and there was the Afghan group. Nabil was in the second wave of ambushers to be sent in, and he said a final prayer to himself in case he did not make it out alive. When the first wave attacked, the soldiers were completely caught off guard, for they had no idea that anybody knew about plans for tonight. Many Americans were shot, but just as it seemed victory was near, mortar rounds exploded on the ground.

In the hills above, American troops were set as a measure of safety with heavy artillery. As Nabil ran into the fray with the second wave, he knew what decision faced him. Surely this was his final, mortifying, moment. Do I stay and fight? Do I turn back as soon as possible? He decided that he should stay and fight. He knew that if he turned back, No one would forgive him. He accepted for the first time that what he was doing wasn’t for the well being of Zareh Sharan; but for his religion, for Allah the Father. Nabil knew what he must do.





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