The Friendly Shi'a
The Friendly Shi'a is a Shi'a man or woman who joins general or Sunni-specific Islamic groups in order to "learn" and "promote Islamic unity." He or she (for our purposes, it is she) will exhibit an intense desire to learn about various aspects of Sunni law and belief. She is friendly and seemingly open. She will repeatedly assure the members of the group that her aim is not to convert them to Shi'ism.
However, she soon slips in questions about various ayat (verses) in the Qur'an, hadith from the Sunnah, or historical incidents. The question may be cloaked with the intent that she wants to "learn the Sunni perspective" or "get a deeper grammatical understanding" of the matter in question. A quick visit to any one of the large number of Shi'a missionary sites will clue you in to the fact that these are the very same questions Shi'as are encouraged to ask Sunnis when proselytizing them.
In my experience, Friendly Shi'a will pull the "who me?" wide-eyed innocent act when confronted or asked about her intentions, even when told that the confronters have found evidence of those true intentions. It has also happened that at the same time Friendly Shi'a is interacting on the given group, there are several other Shi'a on the same group who are engaging in 'taqiya,' or dissimulation. This basically means lying, and in our case, means pretending and claiming to be Sunni Muslims. The Friendly Shi'a will disavow any knowledge of these individuals, even though that quick Google search showed you that they interact together, openly, on Shi'a boards using the same names and IDs.
Individually, the Friendly Shi'a targets those who are new to Islam, those who exhibit a desire to become students of knowledge, and / or those who express some confusion about various Islamic concepts. Friendly Shi'a also exploits those whom she perceives to be overly friendly, quiet, or weak. Such individuals may be targeted for a more "individual" proselytizing off list. Members should be wary when Friendly Shi'a starts asking questions about the personalities and biographies of various other members.
Now, because the Shi'a has been so friendly and open until this point, there will be other members of the group who feel bad exposing her or trying to have her removed, saying that it adds to the "disunity" of the Ummah. It ends up creating a significant amount of fitnah for group / message board owners and members. This does not mean that all Shi'a are "bad," or even that most online Shi'a engage in this or approve of this. Most Shi'a 'netizens out there stay on Shi'a groups and the Shi'a 'web and are not the slightest bit interested in doing what Friendly Shi'a does. What it does mean is that message board and group owners need to be both aware and wary of Shi'a members, and protect the rest of the group by hiding the membership lists or member e-mail addresses.
This article: Copyright 2003, Saraji Umm Zaid and Modern Muslima