US Foreign Policy

The Escalating Shi’a-Sunni Conflict: Assessing Arab Public Attitudes

Sectarianism has been a driving force of conflict in the Middle East for many years. From Iraq to Yemen, Syria, and Bahrain, conflict and confrontations between Shi’a and Sunni Muslims are on the rise. The emergence of extremist groups such as Al Nusra Front and the Islamic State has further deepened this divide. Each of these groups claims to offer the correct interpretation of Islam. In this tense climate, how do Shi’a and Sunni Muslims in the Arab world view each other?
The panelists discussed the differences in beliefs and practices between the Shi’a and Sunnis globally and the extent to which members of each group accept the other as “Muslims.” The discussion also examined differences in political opinions between the Shi’a and Sunnis.

Part of the conversation presented findings on religious tolerance, views toward the current governments, and the role religion should play in politics and international relations based on polling in Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon.


Ambassador Peter Galbraith, Author of “The End of Iraq”
Michael Robbins, Project Director, Arab Barometer
Neha Sahgal, Senior Researcher, Pew Research Center
Moderator: Geneive Abdo, Fellow, Middle East Program, Stimson Center
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Watch this event below or here.


Middle East
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