Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Islam 101

One of the keys to understanding Iranian political culture is understanding Islam. This might come a little late this school year, but I'd want to have this next time I taught about Iran.

Sunni-Shia strife: The sword and the word
IT SEEMED historic. Muslim scholars, 170 in number and representing nine schools of legal thought (including four main Sunni ones and two Shia), gathered in Amman and declared that, whatever their differences, they accepted the others’ authority over their respective flocks. Implicitly, at least, they were renouncing the idea that their counterparts were heretics…
But seen from the outside, feuds between Sunnis, who make up roughly 80% of the world’s Muslims, and the Shia minority (most of the rest), remain savage and are, in some ways, worsening.
In conservative Sunni monarchies (especially those with restless Shia populations) dislike and suspicion of Iran, the Shia bastion, is running higher than ever. Theology intertwines with geopolitics—and an incipient strategic-arms race. Far beyond the Gulf or Middle East, from western Europe to North America, Sunni agitation (often Saudi-sponsored) is intensifying against the supposed heresies contained in Shia teaching…
European Shia-Sunni acrimony is part of a many-sided contest over the future of the continent’s tens of millions of Muslims, says Jonathan Laurence, a scholar at Boston College. The religious authorities in migrant-sending countries like Turkey and Morocco struggle to keep their people loyal to their own varieties of Sunni practice: they see Shia Islam and hardline Sunni groups like the Salafists as equally dangerous and insidious temptations for their sons and daughters in Europe…

Click on the chart or go to The Economist article to read the chart.

Teaching Comparative blog entries are indexed.

The First Edition of What You Need to Know: Teaching Tools is now available from the publisher

The Fourth Edition of What You Need to Know is available from the publisher (where shipping is always FREE).

Labels: , , ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home