Posted by Gerr on February 27, 2011 at 15:49:40:
I was about to post a comment about the role Sunni versus Shiite is playing when I read JeanKay's post. The answer is yes, you can bet there is a lot going on behind the scenes in the Middle East and the ancient opposition between Sunni and Shiite is sure to be part of it.
Sunni and Shiite are the two largest Islamic sects. We would see them as a lot alike, but they don't see it that way. The Shiites see their Imams as teachers inspired by God (like the Catholic Pope). The Sunnis do not, and that is a main difference in how the two groups see their religion.
Sunnis comprise about 85 percent of all Muslims. Therefore, most Mideastern nations have a Sunni majority (Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Palestine). Iran is the only nation with an overwhelming Shiite majority, although Iraq, Lebanon and Bahrain also have large Shiite communities.
Whatever the outcome of these current uprisings, the religious and political differences between the Sunnis and the Shiites is eventually going to play a role. Iran and splinter groups such as Osama Bin Laden's (he is a Wahabbi, a Sunni fundamentalist sect) will surely try to use it to further their own agendas.
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