What is your name?

An interview that is literally worth
life or death.
With Hindus in Bangladesh the ID
interview was fairly trivial. Just remove the underclothes, inspect the male
organ and (if you wish) cut it off. In the killing fields of Mosul things are a
bit more tricky. If you can hold your nerve you may be able to escape. OTOH a
lifetime of habits is difficult to change.And the killers are merciless…
As the militant group
the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, has seized vast territories in
western and northern Iraq, there have been frequent accounts of fighters’
capturing groups of people and releasing the Sunnis while the Shias are singled
out for execution.
ISIS believes that the Shias are
apostates and must die in order to forge a pure form of Islam. The two main
branches of Islam diverge in their beliefs over who is the true inheritor of
the mantle of the Prophet Muhammad. The Shias believe that Islam was
transmitted through the household of the Prophet Muhammad. Sunnis believe that
it comes down through followers of the Prophet Muhammad who, they say, are his
chosen people.

What is your name? A quick look at an Iraqi’s national identity
card or passport can be a signal. Shias believe that the leadership of Islam
was passed down through the Prophet Muhammad’s son-in-law Ali and his sons
Hussain (or Hussein), Hassan and Abbas, among others. While some Sunnis and
members of other Islamic groups may also have those names, ISIS would most
likely associate them with the Shias.
Where do you live?  In every city and province, even
majority Sunni ones, there are enclaves that are known to be Shia. People who
said they came from one of those neighborhoods would most likely be killed.
How do you pray? Shias and Sunnis offer prayers in slightly
different ways, with Sunnis generally folding their hands or crossing their
arms in front of their stomachs and Shias leaving them extended, palms resting
on their thighs.
In a chilling video
that appeared to have been made more than a year ago in the Anbar Province of
Iraq, ISIS fighters stopped three truck drivers in the desert and asked them
whether they were Sunnis or Shias. All three claimed to be Sunni. Then the
questions got harder. They were asked how they performed each of the prayers:
morning, midday and evening. The truck drivers disagreed on their methods, and
all were shot.
What kind of music do
you listen to?
Recordings of
religious songs could also be a tipoff. Similarly, even the ringtone on a
person’s telephone could be a clue because it might be from a Sunni or Shia
religious song.

There are other clues,
but none are completely reliable. For instance, a number of Shias wear large
rings, often with semiprecious stones. But so do some Sunnis, and others. Generally,
Iraqi Shias and Sunnis are often indistinguishable in appearance. That is even
more evident in many families and tribes in which there has been intermarriage
for generations.
Given that the rigid
views of ISIS are fairly well known, it is perhaps natural to wonder why
hostages do not simply lie about their origins. It seems that many do, yet in
very tense, perilous encounters, people can easily get tripped up. Sometimes
another person in a group might inadvertently give someone away. Others refuse
to lie about their faith. 
Brown Pundits