When reading about attacks by ISIS in the past year or so, I noticed that a lot of them involved attacks on Shiite mosques, in several countries.

While I understand that ISIS hates Shia Islam, and frequently kills people, I don't understand what their objective is.

I assume it's not hoping for Shiites will leave to return to Shiite-controlled countries, because the targets aren't recent immigrants. I also assume it's not about obtaining concessions from Shiite-controlled countries, because I didn't see any sign of them attacking anything associated with Shiite-controlled countries other than mosques, outside of Iraq and Syria.


4 Answers 4


ISIS is killing Shia Muslims and destroying their holy sites because they see them, in their distorted ideology, as being no Muslims. The ideology ISIS follows, stems from Wahhabism, which was established in Saudi Arabia by the British Government around 200 years ago. And ever since being spread out into the world with the help of Saudi's huge oil revenue.

This ideology understands the Qur'an literally and is opposed to its interpretation. In this ideology , praying in holy shrines is forbidden and the seeking of intersession from holy prophets or imams is forbidden. This is why you are in trouble when you go as a Shia Muslim for the holy pilgrimage, as they won't let you pray in peace at the grave of the holy prophet or at the grave of any holy imam there. They don't want to understand that the Shias are not praying to these human beings instead of praying to God but rather asking this Holy people, who have a special status in the eyes of God, to plead for them to God to fulfill their request. So the Wahhabis think , that the Shias do not pray to God but to the prophet or the imams when they visit the holy shrines. Therefore they aim to destroy the Shias and their holy sites. In fact, the Shias are the main victim of ISIS terrorism. Every day Shias are killed in Iraq by terror attacks. When IS invaded Iraq and took over the control of the city of Mosul, they took over the university as well. They separated the students in Sunni and Shia and killed all Shia students cold-bloodedly. Did any western news channel report about that? They killed Shia prisoners and soldiers as stated here from Human Rights Watch.

Shia Muslims have been victims of terror since they came into existence around 1400 years ago and mainly by their fellow Muslims. For example, look what the Umayyads did to the prophet's grandson.

Of course other religious minorities have been targeted by IS as well, which always finds a good media coverage in the west.

Some people try to increase the division between Shia and Sunni Muslims by stating that IS is a Sunni group. And they like the idea of a civil war in Iraq for example. Meanwhile it should be clear that IS was created by some western powers to spread chaos in the Middle east for their own advantage. IS is funded by Saudi Arabia, Katar etc. and supported by western countries. (I cannot post a third link, but you can find Putins statement at the G20 summit about this on rt.com.)

I have the impression that the aim is to destroy the image of Islam that even the Muslims themselves feel ashamed of being part of that religion.

  • AFAIK ISIS wants to blow up the holy places in Saudi Arabia and Mecca as well. And Kaaba.
    – Anixx
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 15:42
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    @Anixx blowing up Saudis? dude that would be called treason.
    – user2977
    Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 10:32
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    @Saeed, your comment is really a bitter truth that ... helping indirectly ... Well done for mentioning that. Commented Feb 14, 2016 at 16:32
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    @DearMartyr Sheikh Nimr-Al-Nimr you're welcome, just telling the truth.
    – user2977
    Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 17:46
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    The British government did not create Wahabism, that is absurdly ignorant. This sect is a consequence of Saudi history and internal politics.
    – user8398
    Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 12:13

ISIS are extremist Sunni Muslims. They consider Shia Muslims to be heretics. The objective is to kill heretics. That, to them, is sufficient.

  • 2
    -1: although the claims within might be true, this answer adds nothing comparing to the statements within the question itself. Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 12:46
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    Andrew Grimm's question seeks to place the actions of ISIS within a rational paradigm of incentives, objectives and concessions such as most states and political movements operate by. Regrettably, ISIS are not acting according to such a paradigm. My answer disputed the premises of Mr Grimm's question. Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 13:14
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    Sorry, but no. Compare this answer with @Noor's. One may agree or disagree with its argumentation (I don't, for instance), but that one clearly indicates research and is backed with references. That's why that one is a good answer, and this one isn't. Sorry again. Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 14:59

that's cause whenever they attack their fellow Sunnites, they refuse to accept that ISIS did it and blame it on some other party,like Hezbollah for instance.

part of the question you ask is the result of media being manipulated or not being thorough enough in western countries. ISIS isn't targeting Shiites only, it is targeting a lot of religions in general, including Sunnites that reject their extremist beliefs.

the conflict between these 2 has been around for a long time, it just elevates time to time, and ISIS isn't the only group that has done that. the whole purpose of their attacks are to cause instability between the 2 religions,aggression between the people,thus affecting the economy and stability of the entire middle east. these guys are well funded from places you won't even imagine,they have the latest weapons,the latest technology,and a lot of uneducated brainwashed people as soldiers who would do anything they are told for money,women,or drugs.

now let's go a few days back, the suicide bombing in paris, were they targeting Shiites there? and 2 days before the paris explosion there was an attack in lebanon with 3 suicide bombers. 12 November 2015, two suicide bombers killed at least 43 people and wounded more than 200 in the Southern Beirut suburb of Bourj el-Barajneh, source if u want to review https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_attacks_in_Lebanon how many ppl heard about that, or the entire list in this link for that matter what does news say about this? http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-34795797 funny to read from my perspective since i live here, how they make up stories in the news,"southern suburb of Burj al-Barajneh, a stronghold of the Shia Islamist Hezbollah movement." lol


About your nice query, I strongly believe:

As well as the opposite beliefs of Shia Islam (against ISIS terrorists and other similar countries who support ISIS indirectly...), they are bombing Shiite mosques and other Shi'a places (as a hidden goal) to destroy them. Why?

Since, on the whole, Shia have the characteristic of Standing against oppressors (even oppressing in other countries, as if Shia see it as their duty (in all conscience) to defend oppressed people), and they are considered as big trouble for the supporter countries of ISIS (and ISIS) where they see Shia as a serious obstacle against them (in their ways of oppressing and plundering oppressed people (indirectly)...

Otherwise why don't you see they attack (serious attacks) to other...?! (I hope nobody mention or indicate some limited attacks or bombing of ISIS to some difference countries (except Shiite), why?

Since I strongly believe that it might be one of their negative goals to behave like that as if there is no different for them if you are Shia or other sects and religions!

But, FAIR INDIVIDUALS will easily recognize that: It is a long time that ISIS is attacking daily to Shia countries and related Shia countries (as their main targets) such as Iraq, Syria, (& Yemen) and kill oppressed children, women, ..., so, honestly, you cannot really compare these vast daily (several years) savage attacks of Isis against Shia with: One or few attacks in one or some limited days, who they attack to a few diverse countries?

Hence, fair persons can easily and insightfully infer that ISIS sometimes have some limited (e.g. 1 or 2 or 3 days) attacks --by bombing-- to some non-Shia countries to deceive the public thoughts as if all of the world is their goals ... / But please be realistic...

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