Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Sunni and Shia - a map tells it all
There's an astonishing article by Jeff Stein today "Can you tell a Sunni from a Shiite?" (New York Times; free registration required). It's astonishing because he asked a wide selection of Washington D.C. policy-gods if they could give him a brief explanation of the differences between Muslim Shia and Sunni's; few could! Without getting into a lots of details one might hope they would at least know that most Muslims (85%) are Sunni while the remainder are Shia. More importantly, vis-a-vis, the current problems in Iraq, Iran is mostly Shia. The map tells it all. Particularly notice the concentration of Shia in Iraq. This map was produced, and made available online, by the Central Intelligence Agency!
If you think this is interesting you might begin to consider the historical differences between Iran (Persia) and the Arab world. It is not even remotely true to say that all Muslims have a shared hatred of the West.
One reference "Sons of the Conquerors" Hugh Pope takes a look at the changing landscape of the old Ottoman Empire, state by state.
Now if I could find some way to get the policy-gods away from their comic books and on to some serious reading I'd be a happy man.
Jan 2007, more Christian Science Monitor here