The Partisans of Ali
Feb 12, 2007 — In a five-part series, we look at the origins of the Sunni-Shia split in Islam, the religious and historical differences, how Iran became Shiite, and how conflicts involving Shiism have made an impact beyond the Middle East.
Feb 12, 2007 — The division in Islam between the Shia minority and the Sunni majority seems to be deepening, not just in Iran and Iraq, but across the Middle East. The split occurred soon after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, nearly 1,400 years ago.
Feb 13, 2007 — The Shia are a minority among Islam's 1.3 billion people. For centuries, they have been considered the downtrodden of the Islamic world. But as turmoil gripped the Middle East in the past 100 years, their prospects have changed dramatically.
Feb 14, 2007 — Iran's Shiite revolutionaries encountered resistance from the Arab states led by Sunnis, Islam's majority branch, when they tried to export ideology. This resistance spawned unforeseen conflicts throughout the Middle East.
Feb 15, 2007 — When the United States invaded Iraq four years ago, it didn't set out to deepen the Sunni-Shia divide in the Islamic world. But that may be one of the most important outcomes of the war.
Feb 16, 2007 — America's aims in Iraq changed as the sectarian conflict between Shia and Sunni deepened. Now bringing stability to Iraq is the goal, while preventing Shiite Iran's emergence as a regional power.
Feb 12, 2007 — Read short biographies of some of the major figures in our series about the split between Sunni and Shia Muslims.
Feb 12, 2007 — The division of Islam into Sunni and Shia branches goes far back in Muslim history to the aftermath of the death of the Prophet Muhammad. Read a chronology.
Feb 9, 2007 — Sectarian violence in Iraq has broadened awareness of the split between Sunni and Shia Muslims, the thousand years of Shiite history and the sect's changing fortunes.
Feb 12, 2007 — A list of suggested reading about the Shia-Sunni conflict.