The need to learn about each other’s beliefs just keeps getting stronger. This seems particularly true as Islam makes the news on so many fronts. On the positive side: with Bosnians and Iranians playing in the World Cup, knowing the dominant faith traditions in these countries is essential understanding a bit of their culture, and dispelling some stereotypes. On the unfortunate side, “Sectarian clashes” making headlines again with new violence flaring up in Iraq, makes knowing what distinguishes Sunni from Shiite vital. Better than any book learning, though, make a friend that practices Islam in order to learn first-hand, see the inspirational and human side of a practice and belief, and knock out prejudices. These principals apply to any faith tradition that differs from your own.
Below is an excerpt from Growing Up Global – a primer on the distinctions between Sunni & Shiite traditions for those who’d like to gain a clearer, simple understanding.