iraq war - A Divided Religion, a Divided Nation The two...

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A Divided Religion, a Divided Nation The two major Islamic sects- the Shiites and the Sunnis - have had a long history of differences, but the current violent tension between the two groups is taking its toll on the Middle East region and civilians of Iraq. Their religious dissimilarities are the root to the division of social, economic, political and geographic identities and the conflict for power seems to have only increased with foreign involvement. The schism first developed after the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632 C.E. which led to a debate over the rightful successor, acting as the caliph of Islamic faith. The Sunni branch believes that the first four caliphs rightfully took Muhammad’s place as the leader of the Muslims. The Shiites however, believe that only the heirs of the fourth caliph, Ali, are the legitimate religious successors. Although the Sunnis are a minority in Iraq against the major Shiite population, they have continuously ruled and dominated most of the Middle East for centuries. 1 In 2003, when U.S. forces overthrew the regime of Saddam Hussein, a Sunni, they not only brought an end to the dictatorship of three decades, but also to Sunni domination of 1,400 years. For the Shiites this was a historic opportunity to take control of Iraq, and their interest in building a stable Shiite dominated Islamic nation was, and still is strengthened by the presence of oil, mainly in the Shiite dominated southern Basra district. After the loss of Iraq’s governmental structure chaos
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This note was uploaded on 04/28/2008 for the course REL 110 taught by Professor Luevano during the Spring '08 term at Chapman University .

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iraq war - A Divided Religion, a Divided Nation The two...

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