Icons & Independence

Iraq’s Shi’a community is in the ascendency after decades of Baathist suppression, and whether this bodes well or bodes ill for the future remains to be seen. Is there really as much animosity between the two Islamic sects as we have been led to believe? Is civil war inevitable, or is that being used merely as a justification for America’s continued presence in the country?

    When asked about the difference between Sunnis and Shiites, most people gave a similar answer: Mako farq, or there is no difference. There have been many intermarriages between families from both sects.

    “It is Saddam who worked constantly to create divisions between the two sects by benefiting Sunnis and appointing them in high-ranking posts,” said Hamid al-Mukhtar, a writer who was detained and tortured in 1999 by the former regime.

From the Daily Star (Lebanon): Shiites emerge from shadows of Iraq’s Baathist regime