Sunnis and Shias
The Shia comprise between 10 percent and 15 percent of the Muslim population
(fewer than 200 million) but they are concentrated in certain areas of strategic
The Shiites control Iran which has links to North Korea and sympathizers amongst
non-Muslims such as the Germans, Russians, and Hindus.
[The Germans at present are important players on BOTH SIDES OF THE COIN!]
In the Middle East the Shiites share a similar social profile to important
non-Muslim groups such as the Alawis and Druse.
The Shia are concentrated in Iran, southern Iraq and southern Lebanon. There
are also significant Shiite communities in Saudi Arabia and Syria, Afghanistan,
Pakistan and India.
# Shia predominate where there is oil in
Iran, in Iraq and in the oil-rich areas of eastern Saudi Arabia as well. #
#Iran is overwhelmingly Shia - 89%.
Shias also form a majority of the population in Yemen and Azerbaijan, Bahrain
and 60% of the population of Iraq. There are also sizeable Shia communities
along the east coast of Saudi Arabia and in the Lebanon. The well known guerilla
organization Hizbollah, which forced the Israelis out of southern Lebanon in
2000, is Shia. #
Shiites are followers of Ali. He was the cousin and son-in-law of Mohammed. Ali
was killed fighting other Muslims who disputed his right to rule. Shiites mourn
the death of Ali. They sometimes seem to attribute almost godlike attributes to
him. Historically a recurring phenomenon amongst Shiites was the attribution of
almost divine characteristics to their leaders. The Druse may have had such origins.
These types of belief and Shiitism in general may reflect a continuation of
pagan traditions under Muslim garb.
The Shia call their leaders Imam. They sometimes attribute divine qualities to
the Imam. At the least they consider the Imam to represent the will of God on
Ali was the first Imam, Hussein the son of Ali was the third Imam. Hussein, like Ali, was killed by other Muslims. The death of Hussein is commemorated every year in a public ritual of self-flagellation and mourning known as Ashura.
A branch of the Shia is Twelver Islam which accounts for 85% of the Shia. They
hold that there were twelve major Imams. In addition, they say, that every generation has its own
Imam who represents Divine Will.
Iran was originally Sunni but in the 1400s was conquered by AZERIS from Central
Asia and became Shiite.
# Shiism gradually became the glue that
held Persia together and distinguished it from the Ottoman Empire to its west,
which was Sunni, and the Mughal Muslims to the east in India, also Sunni. #
The Hizbollah in Lebanon is a Nazi type group of Shiite fanatics funded and supported by Iran.
Likewise the Alawi Rulers of Syria receive support from Iran partly because their social profile is close to that of the Shiites.
They also have common interests.
Shiites and Sunnis are not necessarily always opposed to each other.
Early Divisions at Root of Sunni-Shia
# In Afghanistan, what we called the
Northern Alliance was an alliance of Sunni Tajiks, Sunni Uzbeks and Shiite
Hazaras, and so they jointly took over Kabul together in 2001. Also in India,
Shiite and Sunni Muslims coexist without regular violence for the most part..
The Sunnis are considered the more Orthodox branch. They are the majority. Sunnis believe in the Koran and in Oral traditions (hadith) attributed to Mahomed and his companions. It has been claimed that Sunnis derived much from Rabbinical Traditions and from the legal writings of Maimonides. The Wahhabis were a Sunni sect in Arabia. Their belief was adopted by the Saudi Family who conquered other tribres and created Saudi Arabia. The saudis use their income from oil to spread Islamic Extremism all over the world.
Sunnis and Shiites
Dr. C. George Boeree
The most famous Sunni extremist faction
is the Wahhabi sect, of which Osama bin Laden is possibly a member. It is
characterized by radical fundamentalism: The Koran is not to be interpreted but
rather taken literally. There are to be no prayers or other appeals to prophets,
saints, or any entity other than God. There are to be no images of or monuments
to any supposed Islamic leaders, not even elaborate tombs for famous Moslems.
And the Koran is to be the soul source of secular as well as religious law.
Another famous group is the Sufi
movement, which can be Sunni or Shiite. Sufis are mystics who believe that God's
love shines through everything, even ugliness and evil, and that by attaining a
certain state of mind, one can directly experience this. ... One subgroup of the Sufis is the 'whirling
dervishes,' whose mystical practice includes religious dance.
Origins of the Sunni/shia split in Islam
by Robert Williscroft
The Sunni passionately believe that
certain body parts of Allah are real, physical objects. The Shia just as
passionately believe that Allah is entirely immaterial.
The Wahhabis believe that Allah's organs are physical, and that Allah sits
firmly on a ruling throne in Paradise. They take in a literal sense every
Qur'anic statement, especially when it relates to warfare, and most particularly
to jihad - religious war.
Sometimes called the Salafi school,
Wahhabi is an 18th-century offshoot of the Hanbali madh'hab. In 1818 Wahhabi was
nearly defeated and deprived of influence, but the Saudi dynasty breathed new
life into the movement in the early 20th century when it drove the Hashemites
out of Arabia into the present Jordan.
According to a prominent Lebanese
Islamic scholar (who remains anonymous for obvious reasons), during the last
decade, Saudi Arabia has financed all of the Wahhabi movements in the region
either directly or indirectly through non-governmental organizations.
This means that al Qaeda, 9/11, and all the other terrorist acts against the
United States and other nations received their funding from the House of Saud.
Islam in the Middle East. Geographical
Most Muslims in Turkey are Sunnis forming about 70-80%, while Alevis of the Shia-sect
comprise about 20-30% of the Muslim population.
The Alevis include the Bektashi. They are similar to the Alawis of Syria.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
#Some consider the Alevi part of an "extremist" trend within Shi'ism, like the
Alawi/Nusairi sect of Syria. Others emphasize elements of a pre-Islamic
substrate within Aleviness, as in the case of groups such as the Ahl-e Haqq and
the Yezidis, Zoroastrian influence might play some part. Still others detect the
influence of Eastern Orthodox Christianity or Gnosticism. More than one of these
viewpoints might be true simultaneously. #
Alevis were early supporters of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (1881-1938). Ataturk
created modern Turkey as a secular state with a Secularist Reforming Ideology.
The legacy of Ataturk is still important in the Turkish Armed Forces and amongst
liberals. Most Turks however are becoming more and more religious which means
more fanatically Sunni Muslim.
Turkey once ruled over the whole Moslem world. It is still potentially the most
formidable Moslem nation.The region of Turkey was conquered by Turkish Tribes
from Central Asia in the 1000s to 1300s CE. The Turks imposed their language and culture but
comprised less than 20% of the population. Most citizens of Turkey are descended
from the previous non-Turkish inhabitants.
The Othman Turks took control and created the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans were
Sunnis. Most of the Turkish Tribes however became Shiites. In Turkey the Shiites
are mainly Alevis and Bekatshi.
Roughly speaking descent from Turkish Tribes, Alevi Shiites, and adherence to
left-wing liberal ideologies all overlap. The present leaders of the opposition
in Turkey are mainly Turkoman Alevis.
We see ethnic distinctions parallel to the religious ones.
Minorities in Turkey:
About 20% of the population of Turkey are Kurds. These are mainly Sunni. They
number ca. 14 million. They are mainly in the east and would prefer to be
Turkey has about a million Arabs mostly near the Syrian border both Alawis, and
Sunnis. The coastal region of Hatay in the southeast should by rights have
probably belonged to Syria.
Turkey has about 200,000 Azeris who are Sunnis, 70,000 Armenians who are
A large number of Circassians also exist. These may largely identify as Turkish and are
The present Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is descended from the non-Turkish Laz people of the Caucasus.
The Forebears of Erdogan and the Armenian Genocide.
The wife of Erdogan is also from a non-Turkish group.
Within Turkey these facts are not emphasized. This does however show that different ethnic origins are not necessarily an impediment. Erdogan appears to hold extreme Sunni Muslim and Turkish Nationalist views.
Iraq has about 30 million people.
35% are Sunni. Saddam Hussein was Sunni and in the past the Sunni always ruled.
60-65% are Shia.
In recent years about 600,000 Christians have fled Iraq due to religious
Christians are also persecuted in Pakistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.
The Shiites in Iraq are linked to Iran. In effect they now control the country
to the degree that the USA allows it.
Before becoming Muslim the Iranians were mainly Zoroastrians. The faith of
Zoroaster (Zarathustra) was originally Hebraic.
What Spake Zarathustra?
by Yair Davidiy.
After the death of Zathustra the pagan Magi took control of the religion and
turned it into an idolatrous creed. Nevertheless some monotheistic Hebraic type
The Arabs conquered Persia (637-651 CE) and Islam was imposed. At first they
were Sunnis but soon became Shiites.
Almost all native Iranians are Shi'as of the Twelvers sect.
Islam in Iran incorporated many elements and trends of thought from
Zoroastrianism. There was never really that much difference between
Zoroastrianism and Islam.
# Sunni Muslims constitute approximately
9% of the Iranian population. A majority of Kurds, virtually all Baluchis and
Turkomans, and a minority of Arabs are Sunnis, as are small communities of
Persians in southern Iran and Khorasan. #
Ethnic minorities in Iran.
According to the CIA World Factbook and other Western. sources,
ethnicity/race in Iran breaks down as follows: Persian 61%, Azeri 16%, Kurd 10%,
Arab 2%, Lur 6%, Baloch 2%, Turkmen 2%, other 1%. However, these statistics are
largely discredited and viewed as flawed by Iranians themselves,
because the Western data ignores considerable intermarriage rates over centuries
between these groups, and the fact that almost all of these groups speak Persian
as well as their ethnic language, and identify with their sub-identity only
.... the majority of Kurds, Baluchis and
Turkmen are Sunni Muslims, while the state religion in Iran is Shi'a Islam. Some
of these groups however have large Shi'a majorities and the overwhelming
majority of Persians and Azeris are Shi'a.
Despite constitutional guarantees of
equality, individuals belonging to minorities in Iran, who are believed to
number about half of the population of about 70 millions, are subject to an
array of discriminatory laws and practices.
The Kurds speak an Iranian dialect. They may descended in part from the
ancient Medes. According to legend, Israelites and elements from Benjamin may also
be found amongst them. The Kurdish language defines the Kurdish People though on
the fringes there are some Arab groups who now speak Kurdish and some Kurds who
speak Arabic. The region of Kurdistan includes areas now occupied by Iran, Iraq,
Syria and Turkey.
Kurdish people. Population.
# The number of Kurds living in Southwest Asia is estimated at 26-34 million,
with another one or two million living in diaspora. ..According to the CIA World
Factbook, Kurds comprise 18% of the population in Turkey, 15-20% in Iraq, 9%
in Syria, 7% in Iran and 1.3% in Armenia. ... Roughly 55% of the world's
Kurds live in Turkey, about 18% each in Iran and Iraq, and a bit over 5% in
Ca. 17% of the population of Iraq are Kurds. Under Saddam a policy of
elimination (1986-89) was attempted. After further attacks in 1991, 1.5 million
Following the First Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm 17 January 1991 - 28
February 1991) in which mainly US and British troops invaded Iraq, the United
State established a safe-haven and no fly zone in Northern Iraq for the Kurds.
This allowed, in effect, Iraqi Kurdistan to function independently.
In 2003, the Allied forces again invaded Iraq only this time they stayed. The
Kurdish border moved southward.
# This gave Kurds more access to water
and oil resources, therefore increasing priorities within the region to
establish steady relations with the Kurds. This new access also encouraged
more investment within the region, softening political tensions and
The Return of Ephraim
Most Kurds are Sunni Moslems.
About one-third of the Kurds follow practices that collectively are known as
Yezidism. These are basically pagan religions under the veneer of being
# The adherents of these faiths were
referred to as the Sabians of Harran (of Carrhae) in Maimonides Guide for the
Maimonides uses the Sabians as the major representative proponents of pagan philosophy and practice. The Sabians (Saba) are recalled in
the Book of Job.
The story of Job probably did take
place in this general region.
The Book of Job. Where was Uz?
The Yezidis believe in God but also reference an angelic being as
intermediary. One of his titles is Shaitan which is the local name amongst local
Muslims and Christians for the Satan. The Yezidi Shaitain is also associated
with some type of fall from Heaven similar to that of the Satan. The Yezidis
have been accused of devil worship though they deny it.
for the force of Evil in Theology is known as Antinomianism.
It has been claimed that Antinomianist tendencies are to be found amongst different Muslim
groups and Muslim heresies.
The Alevi-Baktashi Shiites of Turkey are often recalled in this regard.
Pakistan has about 190 million inhabitants. The majority are Sunnis
though about 20 million are Shiites.
Ethnic groups in Pakistan include Punjabis (45%), Pashtuns [i.e. Pathans] (15%),
Sindhis (14%), Saraikis (8.4%), Muhajirs (7.6%), Baloch (3.5%), Others 11.1
The Baloch (Baluchis) are also found in Iran. They have a tradition that they
came from northern Syria. Half the Sindhis may be of Baloch origin.
More than 13.4% (over 138 million as per 2001 census) of the population
of India are Muslims.
In India a kind of caste system exists amongst the Muslims. Those who claim Arab
or other foreign origins have higher status. Those who engage in professions
associated with the Hindu Lower castes are treated as low caste and as
Bangladesh has ca. 148 million inhabitants. They are Bengali Indians. Under the
British India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh were one country. With Independence and
Partition in 1947 the Hindus and Muslims fell to killing to each other. Up to a
million were killed and about 12.5 million displaced. Violence between Muslims
and Hindus in India is still not uncommon.
As a result of Partition, the Muslim Nation of Pakistan was created, one half
in the west and the other half in the east. The Western Section (dominated by
Punjabis and others) oppressed the eastern Bengali one.
There was an uprising in 1971. India intervened. Bangaldesh came into being.
Population ca. 29 million.
About 80-89% of the peoples of Afghanistan practice Sunni Islam and belong to
the Hanafi Islamic law school while 10-19% are Shi'a.
The Afghans and the Pathans (Pachtuns, Pashtu) are basically the same though
originally the inhabitants of Kabul may have been Iranian. They comprise ca. 42%
of the population and traditionally have always ruled the country oppressing the
others. The Taliban mostly comes from them.
Other groups include:
Tajik ca 27% Hazara 9%, Uzbek 9%, Aimaq 4%, Turkmen 3%, Baloch 2%.
The Hazaras are Shiites. The others are overwhelmingly Sunni.
A Muslim Seminary of the Sunni Hanafis was st up at Deoband in Northern
India in the 1800s. Deoband and Al Azhar in Egypt are the two most prestigious
schools in Islam.
The Deoband school preaches Jihad (Religious War) as a Principle of Faith. Most
of the Taliban leadership was trained in Deoband seminaries in Pakistan or
Afghanistan. As well as non-Muslims they also kill Shiites and Sunnis who are
less extreme than themselves.
Afghan-Pathan Deobandis go to the Taliban in Afghanistan. Punjabi Deobandis
work in Kashmir against India.
The Deobandis wish to return to the Islam that they imagined was practised by
their ancestors (salaf). They are known as Salafis. The Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia
and the Deobandis identify with each other. They are also considered Salafis as
are the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
The Wahhabis provide funding for the Deobandis.
Religion in Afghanistan
To be CONTINUED!