Why the Sunni-Shia Split?

Why the Sunni-Shia Split?

January 3, 2016 by George G. Coe



Saudi Arabia just executed 47 prisoners, including a renowned Shi’a cleric, Nimr al-Nimr, who was a fervent critic of the Saudi royal family. Iran, a Shia country, condemned the execution and Iranians overran the Saudi embassy and set it on fire. According to the Washington Post, “Shiites around the world expressed outrage, potentially complicating a surge of U.S. diplomacy aimed at bringing peace to the region.” This might be a good time to review with students the differences between Sunnis and Shias.


Two branches of Islam developed after the death of the prophet Muhammad.  Shias, who represent the smallest group of Muslims, believe that the successor to the Prophet had to be related to Muhammad. According to this excellent BBC story, “the Shia claimed the right of Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, and his descendants to lead the Islamic community.”


The Sunnis, the largest group of Muslims, do not agree. As NPR notes in this excellent story about the origins of the split, “Sunnis believed that leadership should fall to the person who was deemed by the elite of the community to be best able to lead the community.” Sunnis represent the vast majority of Muslims in the Middle East and beyond.  According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, Iran is the largest Shia country but Iraq and Bahrain also have a Shiite majority.




Interactive Map – WorldPopulationHistory.org


Found here: http://worldpopulationhistory.org/

WorldPopulationHistory.org, an interactive site that lets you explore the peopling of our planet from multiple perspectives – historical, environmental, social and political. It is about the 2,000-year journey of human civilization and the possible paths ahead to the middle of this century.

The genesis of this project was World Population, a simple, yet powerful, video animation of “dots on a map” representing population changes through time. First produced by Population Connection (Zero Population Growth at that time) over 40 years ago, the video became a popular teaching resource. This spawned new editions that have been viewed in classrooms, museums and boardrooms worldwide. The new 2015 version is viewable here in six languages and contains the latest population projections.

But, what if, you could go beyond the video animation to discover more about the trends that have shaped population growth? What if you could zoom into the population map to learn more about the places illuminated by dots? What if you could select different overlays for the map to see the impacts of human lifestyles over time? What if you could then join an online conversation about what you’ve learned? We thought that would be really cool, so we created WorldPopulationHistory.org.

2014 Crash Course: The History of a Year

Merely a selection of sources.
Yours to use for writing, teaching, etc.


Top Sources for Review:

  1. What America was tweeting about in 2014, Mic.com & Echelon Insights


  2. By the Numbers: How the World Changed in 2014, The Atlantic


  3. The 2014 Year in Review, Gallup.com


  4. 10 Most Important Environmental Stories of 2014, Earth Island Journal


  5. Eleven Stunning Graphs from 2014 That You Should See, Medium.com


  6. 17 Things We Learned About Income Inequality in 2014, The Atlantic


  7. The Best Longreads of 2014, Various Authors


  8. 2014 The Year in Pictures, The New York Times


  9. (Photo Gallery) 2014: The Year in Protest, Takepart.com


  10.  (Charts) The Year in Management Told in 20 Charts, Harvard Business Review


Lists by Publisher:

The Kicker 2014 Year in 10, GoKicker.com


The Very Best Mashable Reads of 2014, Mashable.com


Best Books of 2014: Editors’ Picks, Council on Foreign Relations & various sources


14 Must Reads of 2014, Council on Foreign Relations & various sources


The Best of 2014, Foreign Affairs Editors


Most Popular Features and Essays of 2014, Lifehacker.com


(Comic) 2014 in Review, This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow

Part 1: http://images.dailykos.com/images/121067/lightbox/TMW2014-12-24color.png?1419185290
Part 2: http://images.dailykos.com/images/121987/lightbox/TMW2014-12-31color.png?1419787651

10 Must-Read Reddit AMAs of 2014, Mashable.com


Notable Articles:

The Torture Report, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence


14 From ’14: Quick Takes on the Midterm Elections, University of Virginia Center for Politics


All We Need is the Will to Change, The Atlantic


The Fortune Global 500 Isn’t All That Global, Harvard Business Review


Investment Management Director Offers Top 10 Lessons Learned in 2014, Above the Law


Megan Smith Thinks Every Child Should Be Able to Code, The Atlantic


Why This War?, Antiwar.com


Opinion: France & Britain’s Poorly-Drawn Middle East Was Destined to Collapse


Opening Lines:
John B. Judis of New Republic argues that the United States is powerless to combat the breaking up of nonsensical Middle East borders drawn nearly a hundred years ago by colonial powers. This collapse, he argues, is and has been quite inevitable:

What is happening is that the arrangements that the British and French created during and after World War I—which established the very existence of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan, and later contributed to the creation of Israel—are unraveling. Some of these states will survive in their present form, but others will not.

As Judis explains, the names Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Palestine were affixed to territories formerly of the Ottoman Empire that were parsed out to Britain and France as spoils of World War I.

Full Synopsis Here: http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/france-and-britains-poorly-drawn-middle-east-was-destined-to-collapse

Full Article Here: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118409/mideast-unravelling-and-theres-not-much-us-can-do

Ultimate Maps Post…and one chart

Countless Maps to teach us about our world!

A New Map Reveals the Geography of American TV News

The visualization shows a world unevenly aglow with television attention.
 DEC 17 2013, 12:42 PM ET

Using the Archive’s massive archive of television news, Georgetown scholar Kalev Leetaru tracked all the locations mentioned on U.S. television news between June 2009 and October 2013, then plotted them on a world map.

On the foundation’s blog, archivist Roger Macdonald writes that the map constitutes the “first large-scale glimpses of the geography of American television news, beginning to reveal which areas receive outsized attention and which are neglected.”

FULL STORY HERE: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/12/a-new-map-reveals-the-geography-of-american-tv-news/282443/

Top 25 Informative Maps That Teach Us Something Uniquely Different About the World

Found at: http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/top-25-informative-maps-that-you-ll-never-forget

Population of Southeast Asia Compared to the Rest of the World

Maps can be great guides for more than just finding routes for traveling. They often provide insight on the rest of the world. Taking a look at certain maps can be incredibly informative, especially when comparing the standing of countries in relation to one another. In fact, many passionate cartographers take pride in creating maps that present relevant knowledge through a visual medium.

Whether they’re on topics concerning population density, educational level, or even a gauge of internet usage across the world, each serves a purpose of sharing data to enlighten minds. Most people aren’t constantly traveling and immersing themselves into the practices of multiple nations, so a statistically informed map can help us all learn more about how we compare to the people of a country on the opposite end of Earth.

An ever-growing collection of informative maps are available through ChartsBinTarget Map, and theMapPorn subreddit. There’s also a wonderfully curated list over on Twisted Sifter. Here’s our roundup of the top 25 informative maps that you’ll never forget.

Top map: reddit

Countries That Do Not Officially Use the Metric System


Frequency of Lightning Strikes Around the World


Worldwide Driving Orientation by Country

Benjamin D. Esham

World’s Population Evenly Divided into 7 Regions, Each with 1 Billion People

All That is Interesting

The Longest Straight Line You Can Sail on Earth


Most Used Web Browser by Country

Vlad III Tepes

World Internet Usage by Time of Day

Carna Botnet

Worldwide Annual Coffee Consumption Per Capita


Daily Fat Intake Per Capita


Most Popular Spectator Sports in the World

Target Map

Most Consumed Alcoholic Beverages by Country

World Health Organization

Total Worldwide Adult Alcohol Consumption

World Health Organization

National IQ Scores

Target Map

Areas with Highest Income and College Education Level in the US

The Washington Post

Number of Researchers Per Million Inhabitants by Country


Interactive Map of the World’s Shrinking Forests


Currently Married Population Around the World


Average Age of First Sexual Intercourse by Country


Gender Inequality Index Based on Reproductive Health, Empowerment, and Labor Market


Paid Maternity Leave: Almost Everywhere

The New York Times

World Level of Happiness by Country


Global Median Age


Worldwide Oil Import and Export Flows


Satellite Map of Earth Over the Course of One Year