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  • The terms Sunnis and Shiites are thrown around a lot when talking about Middle Eastern conflicts.

  • Sometimes it's useful, but most of the time it feels like it's just shorthand for "these people hate each

  • other". But with over one and a half billion Muslims in the world, there's no way they can

  • all be involved in some Hatfields and McCoy style blood feud. So, what's really going on here?

  • Well, first of all, not all Sunnis and Shiites are at war with each other. There are tons of places

  • where they co-exist peacefully.

  • Like the United Arab Emirates or Dearborn Michigan, for example.

  • It's also world knowing that their religions aren't diametrically opposed. In fact,

  • the Sunni-Shiite conflict isn't even really about religion. It's about power.

  • Originally Muslims were one unified group under the prophet Muhammad. Then in the year

  • 632, Muhammad died and Muslims split off into two groups.

  • The Sunnis wanted Muhammad's successor to be chosen by the community of his followers.

  • While the Shiites wanted the leadership to stay within the prophet's family.

  • The Sunnis, who were in the majority, so they chose a new leader to be their Caliph, which is basically

  • the head of state.

  • The Shiites did not recognize this new leader, and instead, they chose Muhammad's son-in-law, Ali, as their

  • new Imam, which also basically means head of state.

  • That was the main source of divide, and from there, things really only got worse.

  • Early on most of the Shiite Imams met violent ends at the hands of the stronger Sunni Caliphs,

  • including Imam Ali's son Hussein, whose beheading is still considered as a major holiday for

  • Shiite Muslims.

  • Today, there are far too many conflicts and subtle differences between the two groups to go into

  • here, so instead let's just jump ahead to modern times.

  • Today, there are numerous Sunni and Shiite Militant groups, terrorist organizations,

  • and oppressive governments.

  • Being Sunni or Shiite doesn't necessarily make you a member or even a supporter of any of those groups.

  • but they are still divided up that way.

  • In fact, every nation where Sunni-Shiite conflicts has large militant groups

  • on both side. They all have a history of oppressing one another

  • depending on who's currently in power.

  • Iraq, for example, was run by an oppressive Shiite regime before Saddam, then an oppressive

  • Sunni regime under Saddam, followed by an oppressive Shiite regime once again after Saddam left power. And now the oppressive

  • Sunni militant group ISIS is threatening to take over huge parts of the country.

  • So you can see that the Sunni-Shiite conflicts are more about power, politics and retribution than

  • actual religion. And truthly, the words "Sunni" and "Shiite" aren't even the best words to use when discussing

  • Sunni-Shiite conflicts. They are way too general. If you're talking about Militant Jihadists

  • or Terrorist networks, but what you really mean is ISIS AL Qaeda, just say ISIS AL Qaeda. Otherwise,

  • you're including billions of people who aren't even involved and most likely don't share the beliefs

  • of those fringe organizations.

The terms Sunnis and Shiites are thrown around a lot when talking about Middle Eastern conflicts.

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スンニ派とシーア派のイスラム教徒の違いは? (What's the Difference Between Sunni and Shia Muslims?)

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    羅紹桀 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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