Friday, March 10, 2006

Sunnis and Shiites

Brief history of the conflict between the two from Gene Edward Veith at reads in part:

The division and the unforgiven grudges go all the way back to 632 a.d. when Muhammad died. Who would succeed him as the leader of what was becoming both a religious and a political empire? One group claimed that the prophet had chosen his cousin and son-in-law Ali. These "Shiites"——a shortened form of the words for "the party of Ali"——believed that future successors should be physical descendants from the prophet's family.

The other faction believed Muhammad had said that future rulers should be chosen by consensus of the other leaders. They chose the prophet's father-in-law, Abu Bakr, to be the "caliph." His followers became the "Sunnis," from a word for followers of the "tradition."

Then followed a civil war; read the article to find out who won.

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