john mccain, this is a sunni, this is a shiite…

Whoops! I guess all those Muslims look the same huh?

Speaking to reporters in Amman, Jordan, McCain said he continues to be concerned about Iranian operatives “taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back”. Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it was “common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that’s well known. And it’s unfortunate.” A few moments later, Sen Joseph Lieberman, standing just behind McCain, stepped forward and whispered in the presidential candidate’s ear. McCain then said: ‘I’m sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda.'”

Turns out they are pretty different.

Sunni Islam- The largest denomination of Islam (estimated at 85% of the Muslim population). Generally considered to be the orthodox form of Islam, as preserved in traditional literature.  Sunni’s follow Sharia law. Both Sunni and Shia Muslims share the most fundamental Islamic beliefs and articles of faith. The differences between these two main sub-groups within Islam initially stemmed not from spiritual differences, but political ones. Over the centuries, however, these political differences have spawned a number of varying practices and positions which have come to carry a spiritual significance.

Shi’a Islam- Minority within the Middle East. The Shi’a adhere to the Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, and believe that his descendants (Imams) have special political and spiritual rule over the community. Shi’a Muslims are significant minorities in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Syria (and others). Shia and Sunnis differ in their view of Aisha (one of the wives of Muhammad). The Shia have a dim view of her character whereas the Sunnis consider her an exemplary woman. Because Islamic law and theology is based partly on hadith (traditions or customs of Mohammad) the Shia rejection of some Sunni hadith and Sunni rejection of some Shia hadith means that the versions understandings of Islam emerge.

Modern Sunni-Shi’a relations have been particularly bloody. Particularly in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Some of the worst Shia-Sunni sectarian strife ever has occurred after the American invasion of Iraq, steadily building up to present. While thousands have been killed by American and allied military collateral damage, this has become overshadowed by the cycle of Sunni-Shia revenge killing – Sunni often using suicide bombing, Shia favoring death squads. I would think that for this reason, at least knowing the difference between the two groups may be somewhat important for a Presidential candidate. Particularly if you are planning on governing the current world hegemon.

I have the most experience of any presidential candidate when it comes to foreign policy and advancing our national and economic security priorities around the globe. [Mc Cain. 1/29/08]

Hmm. Yeah maybe not.

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~ by k-rock and l-jive on August 22, 2008.

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