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The Sunni-Shi'a Divide: Islam's Internal Divisions and Their Global Consequences
Until the attacks of September 11, 2001, few Americans knew anything about Islam, let alone about the distinctions between Sunni and Shi‘a, the Sufi and Wahhabi, the origins of the Holy Qur’an and Shari‘a law, and the respect that all Muslims, even secular ones, harbor for the prophet Muhammad, his family, and Islamic traditions. In The Sunni-Shi‘a Divide Robert Betts ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published July 1st 2013 by Potomac Books
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Densely written and closely argued, this book suffers paradoxically from both too much and too little depth. Its history chapter is well-researched but could really do with more maps (and a greater attention to what events and movements parallel each other), while its modern day chapter is overly concerned with Israel (given that this book is supposed to be about the divisions between Sunni and Shi'a, it spends a lot of pages on an issue that they have comparatively few disagreements about). ...more
Hard to get through even at a skinny 135 pages. First half mostly delivers the advertised historical summary, though often snapping into tedious catalog mode along the way. Second half goes way off message and into what is basically an anti-Israel rant, followed by an attempt to sum up the current state of affairs in the Muslim world - an attempt that is already, less than two years later, a bit embarrassing, with its proclamation that Yemen's Zaydi Muslims "pose no threat to anyone" and that ...more