Quantcast BRANCHES  OF  ISLAM

 
  
 
Figure 2-14.—The Star and Crescent is symbolic of Islam. In Islamic countries, the Islamic counterpart to “Red Cross” organizations are the “Red Crescent” societies. At present, over 15 Islamic groups exist in the United States. The World Community of Islam in the West and the Hanafi Muslim Movement are two of  the  larger  Islamic  groups  drawing  primarily  on  the  black  community  for members.   Other   similar   groups   include   the   Moorish   Science   Temple   (of Noble  Drew  Ali),  the  Ahmadiyya  Muslim  Movement,  and  the  Nubian Islamic  Hebrew  Mission. BRANCHES  OF  ISLAM Like all religions, Islam has its branches. In the 900s, the Moslem world split   into   two   great   divisions,    Sunnites   and   Shiites.   Most   Moslems are  Sunnites.  The  Shiites  form  the  largest  minority,  numbering  about 20,000,000.  Most  of  them  live  in  Iraq  and  Iran,  and  consider  as  sacred  the Iraqi  cities  of  Karbala,  and  Najaf,  and  Meshed,  Iran,  where  some  of  their Imams (religious leaders) are buried. The Shiites have divided into a number of smaller branches. The Karijites broke  away  from  the  Shiites  and  formed  a  more  puritan  and  democratic branch. They elect their Imams for leadership, general ability, and religious merit. They live mostly in southeastern Arabia and in North Africa. Another prominent  Moslem  branch,  the  Wahabis,  or  Ikhwan,  also  formed  a puritanical group. They are dominant in Saudi Arabia. The Baha’i faith also grew  out  of  the  Shiite  group. 2-67


 


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