John asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 6 years ago

What is the difference between Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds?

Do they have different religions?

Do they have different skin color?

Do they wear different clothing?

ETC....? Very confused.

6 Answers

  • 6 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Sunni and Shia are different branches of Islam. Sunnis make up the majority of the worlds Muslims with Shia comprising maybe 15% of Muslims. Shia are mostly concentrated in Iran, southern Iraq, and a few of the nearby countries like Lebanon.

    The split between them originally goes back to the 7th century and the death of the Prophet Muhammed. Muslims needed a new leader after the Prophet's death. The people who would become Sunnis believed that a council of wise people should choose Muhammed's successor. The people who would become the Shia believe that someone from Muhammed's family should take over. They chose Ali, Muhammed's son-in-law.

    Over the years these have just developed into different faith groups although both are Musim and have usually been able to live peacefully with each other. There are doctrinal differences between the most significant structural ones being that Shiites give Imams, Muslim religious leaders, more power than Sunnis usually do.

    The Kurds are an ethnic group located mostly in eastern Turkey, Northern Iraq, western Iran, and other adjacent areas. They speak their own language distinct from the Arabic, Turkish, or Persian of their neighbors. One of the greatest Muslim heroes, Saladin, the 12th century general and Sultan who fought off the Christian Crusaders, was a Kurd. In the 20th century there has often been friction between Kurds and the governments of the countries they live in. Nationalist Kurds have called on-and-off for the creation of a united Kuridstan which would unite most of the Kurdish people in the region under an independent government. Obviously, countries such as Turkey and Iraq haven't liked that idea. In Iraq in particular, under Saddam Hussein, the Kurds were subjected to harsh repression and genocidal attacks in an effort to keep them in line.

    The current conflict in Iraq traces its origins to the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. The majority of Iraq is Shiite but Saddam Hussein was Sunni and gave pride of place in government to Sunnis. Still, there wasn't much sectarian conflict under Hussein and people didn't even necessarily know what sect their neighbors and coworkers belonged to. After the US invasion things began to change. In the absence of a secure and functioning state, many people turned, wilingly or not, to militias for security. These militias were composed along sectarian lines. It didn't help that the US, in attempting to reconstruct Iraq, favored the Shia majority in the country. The Shia came to dominate the government and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pursued policies aimed at marginalizing the Sunni minority who are still sizable in the country and predominate in the center and west of the country.

    The Kurds meanwhile have become an almost autonomous state. They have had Peshmerga militias since the frist gulf war and when the US invaded Iraq, the Kurds were key allies. The Kurdish Peshmerga seized control of the northern, Kurdish dominated, section of the country and operate it as an almost wholly independent state, even policing a border between their section of Iraq and the rest of the country. They've been kept loyal to the central Iraqi government mainly because they get most of their operating budget from Baghdad.

    The current attack by ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, has emerged out of the Syrian Civil War. ISIS was originally Al Qaeda in Iraq but got kicked out of the broader al Qaeda coalition because the central leadership thought that Al Qaeda in Iraq's violent tactics were reflecting badly on the group as a whole. Instead they've rebranded themselves as ISIS, the "Islamic State in Iraq and Syria". As the name implies, they're trying to create a religious government, or Caliphate, based in Iraq and Syria, paerticularly the Sunni parts of those countries. They've been operating mostly in Syria so far, taking advantage of the civil war there to gain territory, practice their fighting, gain recruits, and make cash. They're mostly fighting other rebel groups in Syria. Although ISIS and the Syrian rebels are both mostly Sunni, the rebels generally hate ISIS because of the strict brand of Sharia law they impose in their conquered territories as well as the fact that ISIS mostlly attacks territories held by weaker rebels groups and not the government held territories. Last year, a number of rebel groups had united to counter attack ISIS and kicked them out of some territory they held. ISIS has been successful in part because they're well financed. In Syria they've been selling electricity from plants that they control back to the government and in Iraq they've looted millions and millions of dollars from the central bank in Mosul. This allows them to pay their fighters better than other groups and in places like Syria and Iraq where there's few job opportunities that's an attractive notion.

  • 6 years ago

    Sunni and Shia are comparable to Protestants and Catholics. The Muslims I know say that there is no real theological difference and that they would not be uncomfortable worshipping in a mosque of the other sect. Remember that Islam has spread over much of the world, and there are believers of a wide variety of ethnic groups. As others have said, the Kurds are a non-Arabic ethnic group centering around the borders between Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. Most of them are Muslim.

  • 6 years ago

    Shi'ites and Sunnis are different branches of Islam.

    Shi'ites believe that Islamic rulers should be chosen only from direct descendents of the Prophet Muhammad,Sunnies that the strongest candidate/contender becomes ruler by right of force.

    Kurds are an Ethnically Iranian group that live mostly in Western Asia.Most of them are Sunni Muslims.

  • 6 years ago

    ----All 3 are Muslims

    ----Sunnis are the majority of Muslims, Shiahs are in South Iraq and all of Iran. They disagree with regards to the Prophet Muhammad's companions and the ranks that they had. Shiah's insult some of the Prophet's companions with minimal evidence.

    ----The Kurds in Iraq are also Sunni, but they do not want violence. They are the best examples of what Muslims SHOULD be.

    ----They all have brown middle eastern skin tone.

    ----Sunnis and Shias dress the same. Kurds dress like the one below:

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  • Sum
    Lv 7
    6 years ago

    Sunnis and Shiites are both Muslim - just different brands. Actually, lots of Muslims wouldn't really know or care if they're Sunni or Shiite.... it isn't that big a deal to a lot of them. So it's too bad they seem to need to murder one another.

    And Kurds are an separate ethnic group which has lived in those Northern Iraqi mountains for the past several thousand years.... and they've mostly be subjugated by somebody else. And they're pretty sick of that.

  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    kurds are a indo european (iranic) ethnicity who are living in iraq , iran , syria & turkey

    they already separated from iraq & syria & they have more than 3500 years of history

    arabs are a semitic ethnicity , nomadic tribes who came from arabian peninsula

    shiites & sunnies are two different religious groups

    both are arabs

    both are wild

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