Monthly Archives: February 2007

The Partisans of Ali

The Partisans of Ali
A History of Shia Faith and Politics

The United States is immersed more deeply than ever in the Muslim world’s sectarian divide. A five-part series explores the split between Shia and Sunnis, from its origins shortly after the death of Muhammed in the seventh century to the modern-day upheaval in Iraq.

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The Origins of the Shia-Sunni Split

From NPR [link]

Morning Edition, February 12, 2007 · It’s not known precisely how many of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims are Shia. The Shia are a minority, comprising between 10 percent and 15 percent of the Muslim population — certainly fewer than 200 million, all told.

The Shia are concentrated in Iran, southern Iraq and southern Lebanon. But there are significant Shiite communities in Saudi Arabia and Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India as well.

Although the origins of the Sunni-Shia split were violent, over the centuries Shia and Sunnis lived peacefully together for long periods of time.

But that appears to be giving way to a new period of spreading conflict in the Middle East between Shia and Sunni.

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Filed under Iran, Islam, Shi'i