What Is The Shia-Sunni Divide?

Ken Chitwood
mercatornet.com/above/
2017-08-12

Tensions between Sunnis and Shias have been flaring up, with several incidents of violence reported in recent months: Most recently a suicide bomber killed at least 29 people when he blew himself up at the largest Shiite Muslim mosque in Afghanistan’s Herat province on Tuesday, August 1.

Earlier in June, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for two attacks that claimed at least 12 lives in Iran. Iran is a Shia Muslim majority state often in tension with Sunni states and extremist groups like the Islamic State or al-Qaeda.

As a scholar of Islam and a public educator, I often field questions about Sunnis, Shias and the sects of Islam. What exactly is the Shia-Sunni divide? And what is its history?

History of divide

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