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 Bahai faith also
grew out of the Shiite group.