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Sunni and Shi’a Islam’s Ancient Schism.docx

Sunni and Shi’a Islam’s Ancient Schism.docx - Sunnis...

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Sunnis and Shia: Islam's ancient schism 4 January 2016 From the section Middle East Share this with Facebook Share this with Twitter Share this with Messenger Share this with Email Share Pilgrims worshipping at Mecca Pilgrimage to Mecca is one of many rituals that are shared by both sects The divide between Sunnis and Shia is the largest and oldest in the history of Islam. Members of the two sects have co-existed for centuries and share many fundamental beliefs and practices. But they differ in doctrine, ritual, law, theology and religious organisation. Their leaders also often seem to be in competition. From Lebanon and Syria to Iraq and Pakistan, many recent conflicts have emphasised the sectarian divide, tearing communities apart. Who are the Sunnis? The great majority of the world's more than 1.5 billion Muslims are Sunnis - estimates suggest the figure is somewhere between 85% and 90%. In the Middle East, Sunnis make up 90% or more of the populations of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo, Egypt
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Egypt is home to some of Sunni Islam's oldest centres of learning Sunnis regard themselves as the orthodox branch of Islam.
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