Wednesday, February 20, 2008
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has just released a new report on the Muslim religion.
The majority of the world's Muslim population follows the Sunni branch of Islam, and approximately 10-15% of all Muslims follow the Shiite (Shi'ite, Shi'a, Shia) branch. Shiite populations constitute a majority in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, and Azerbaijan.
There are also significant Shiite populations in Afghanistan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen. Sunnis and Shiites share most basic religious tenets.
However, their differences sometimes have been the basis for religious intolerance, political infighting, and sectarian violence. This report includes a historical background of the Sunni-Shiite split and discusses the differences in religious beliefs and practices between and within each Islamic sect as well as their similarities.
The report also relates Sunni and Shiite religious beliefs to discussions of terrorism and Iraq that may be of interest during the second session of the 110th Congress. Click on the blue title above to see report.