Synopsis The Sunni-Shiite Conflict is derived from Political by sdaferv

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									Adaline Zaman


                                  Synopsis
               The Sunni-Shiite Controversy: A Political Conflict
Thesis: While it is true the Sunni-Shiite conflict originated as a result of religious
differences, today it is purely political as witnessed from the very cause of the division,
the ongoing political power struggle throughout the Middle East, and the conflict’s
relation to war on terror.

Counter-Arguments:
The dispute dividing the Ummah (Muslim community) did not arise as a means of
obtaining ultimate power and control, but rather formed from the lack of preparedness
and miscommunication on the behalf of Prophet Muhammad (mpbuh).
For centuries the continuous power struggle witnessed in present day Middle East
originates from religious disagreements between both sects, each believing they are the
pure Muslims.
The increasing violence in such countries as Iraq is primarily due to the United States and
the Muslims’ retaliation against these “invaders” in their homeland.

Argument 1: The division between Shiites and Sunnis dates back to the death of the
Prophet Muhammad (mpbuh) when the question arose as to who was to become the
leader of the Ummah, resulting in the political struggle of one sect ruling over the other.
    • 1st instance, the Muslims found a leader by election. 2nd instance, the 1st leader
        nominated and appointed his successor. 3rd instance, the 2nd successor appointed
        a committee to select one out of themselves as the future leader of the Muslim
        community. Because a Sunni was elected in the 1st instance, Sunni reign
        remained dominant. 1
    • When Ali was named the fourth Caliph, Sunnis acted out against the new Shiite
        government, resulting in Ali’s assignation in the war of 661. 2
    • The war continued with Ali's son, Hussein, leading the Shiites and Mu'awiyah’s
        son, Yazid, leading the Sunnis. The two sides met on a battlefield near modern
        Karbala on Oct. 10, 680, which contributed to the eventual split of Islam into
        Sunnite and Shiite sects. 3

Argument 2: The ongoing Sunni-Shiite political power struggle is prevalent throughout
the Middle East today, as both sects strive to dominate the other.
    • “For Shiites, Sunni rule has been like living under apartheid.” 4 At the beginning
       of the 20th century, the Turkish Sunni Ottomans fought a series of wars with the
       Shiite Safavids of Persia, gaining control of the Arab territories, cementing Sunni
       dominance.


1
   Nasr, Vali. The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future. New York, NY: W. W.
Norton, 2006, 32.
2
  Ibid
3
   Ghosh, Bobby TIME. 22 Feb. 2007. 7 Dec. 2009
<http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1592849,00.html>.
4
   Nasr, Vali. The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future. New York, NY: W. W.
Norton, 2006, 93.
Adaline Zaman


    •   Most recently Iran is planning a revolution against the Sunni government by
        rising unsettlement in Iraq to initiate Shiite control, enhancing Iran’s power and
        position in the Middle East through the pursuit of a nuclear program, and a
        complete Hezbollah takeover of Lebanon. 5
    •   By 2006, the United Nations had deemed the situation a civil war. 6 In the first
        post-Saddam election in January 2005, Shiites gained governance and instigated
        their revenge by dominating the military and higher authority positions, avenging
        old grudges against Sunnis.

Argument 3: As a direct cause of the ongoing Sunni-Shiites conflict, violence is
increasing as numerous Sunni and Shiite extremist groups are acting out in violence, each
trying to outshine the other through violent acts of expression.
    • The first major incident of this sectarian violence was in 1986 with the killing of
        the Shiite leader of Tanzeem Fiqha Jaafriya. 7 In retaliation, the Sunni founder of
        the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan was murdered.
    • In the late 1990s, Hezbollah’s patron Iran, gathered forces on its border with
        Afghanistan’s Taliban, harbouring Al-Qaeda. The Iranian revolution was led by
        Shiite clerics, influencing Shiite communities all over the world.
    • The occurrences in Baghdad have been labelled as sectarian cleansing according
        to Sunni and Shiite officials as well as the media. Adnan al-Dulaymi, the leader
        of the Sunni-led Iraqi Accordance Front, affirms that Shiite militias are in the
        process of turning Baghdad into a Shiite city.




5
  Nasr, Vali. The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future. New York, NY: W. W.
Norton, 2006, 93.
6
  Ibid
7
  Tutor Gig Encyclopedia. Tutor Gig Encyclopedia, 2009. Web. 5 Jan. 2010
<http://www.tutorgig.com/ed/Sectarian_violence>.

								
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