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Do Shias prefer free market economy more than Sunnis?

Published May 30, 2012 09:03am


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Notwithstanding the millennia-old sectarian divide, which has embroiled Shias and Sunnis in a bloody feud, one wonders if differences between Shias and Sunnis indeed extend beyond the differences in their beliefs.

Given that the sectarian divide between Shias and Sunnis has been the cause of so much bloodshed in the past 1,400 years, one may get the impression that the two main sects of Islam may have irreconcilable differences.  But are these differences significant enough to result in different worldviews between the followers of the two sects. For instance, when it comes to views about democracy, free market economy, women rights, and environmental sustainability, do Shias and Sunnis hold divergent views?

Educating the west of the differences between Shias and Sunnis has largely been the dominion of Professor Vali Nasr. His well-received book The Shia Revival: How conflicts within Islam will shape the future along with Lesley Hazleton’s After the Prophet: The epic story of Shia-Sunni split in Islam are two accessible texts that explain to the uninitiated how and why the sectarian divide was forged in Islam and its implications today. However, books, articles, and other written works by learned authors, such as prolific writer and academic Juan Cole have not made much difference in creating awareness amongst the largely indifferent western populace.

One would assume that before waging not one but two wars in Iraq and another ill-planed misadventure in Afghanistan, the American officials in charge of the trillion dollar military escapades were indeed familiarwith the sectarian fault lines in Afghanistan and Iraq.  This, however, was not the case. Writing in the New York Times in October 2006, Jeff Stein revealed that the senior American military officials were clueless about the Shia Sunni differences. The ignorant included “not just intelligence and law enforcement officials, but also members of Congress. Stein wondered “how can they do their jobs without knowing the basics?”

While the west remains largely ignorant of, and indifferent to, the details of the Shia-Sunni schism in Islam, even most Muslims may not know if these differences extend beyond the religo-sectarian spheres. Using a 2010 dataset from Pew Research Center I will attempt to explore how Shias and Sunnis diverge or otherwise on non-religious matters. The data are available from Pew Global Attitudes Project’s website. The survey was conducted in 22 countries during April and May of 2010. Over 24,790 individuals were surveyed. The survey was also conducted in seven countries with sizeable Muslim populations such that 28 per cent of all respondents were Muslims (see Table below).

The data also identified Muslim respondents by their sect. I have aggregated the sectarian categories into three main groups: Shias, Sunnis, and  those who identified themselves as just Muslims. I am not reporting on other sects for which only a small number of observations were available. The subset thus included 74 per cent Sunnis, 6.3 per cent Shias and the remaining 20 per cent identified themselves as just Muslims. Apart from Lebanon, where Shia and Sunni respondents were in an almost even split, Sunnis were in majority in most countries with the exception of Indonesia where most respondents identified themselves as just Muslims.

Given that Lebanon is the only country in the sample where a sizeable number of respondents identified themselves as Shias, Sunnis, and others, I have further restricted reporting to Lebanon, which also had its fair share of sectarian conflicts that transcended beyond the Shia-Sunni schism and included several Christian sects resulting in a bloody civil war during eighties and later wars with Israel. While the demographic mix in Lebanon is disputed by all concerned, Shias and Sunnis are reported to account for 27 per cent each and a large number of Christian sects account for another 39 per cent of the population.

Source: Pew Research Centre: Global Attitudes Project, Spring 2010 Survey data

So do Shias prefer free market economy more than Sunnis? For Lebanon, the answer is yes. When asked if they agreed or otherwise with the statement that most people are better off in a free market economy, 28 per cent of the Shias completely agreed with the statement compared to 10 per cent of the Sunnis. At the same time 22 per cent non-Muslims in Lebanon completely agreed with the same statement. And whereas 14 per cent of the Sunnis reported support for segregating men and women at the workplace, only eight per cent of the Shias showed support for gender segregation at workplace.

A large number of Lebanese Shias (48 per cen) reported being very  concerned about the rise of Islamic extremism in Lebanon compared to Sunnis (30 per cent). Non-Muslim at 66 per cent were obviously the most alarmed about the spread of Islamic extremism in Lebanon.  Concomitantly, every three out of four Shias viewed Shia-Sunni differences a very big problem compared to only 40 per cent of the Sunnis who felt the same. Again, only seven per cent of Lebanese Shias showed support for harsh punishments, such as chopping off hands of thieves, compared to 19 per cent of Sunnis.

When it comes to the US influence in the world, Shias and Sunnis in Lebanon don’t see eye to eye on America’s war on terror. Almost all Shias (98 per cent) opposed the US efforts to fight terrorism compared to only 53 per cent of Sunnis. Similarly, 96 per cent of Shias and 55 per cent of Sunnis wanted the US and Nato to remove their troops from Afghanistan.

While Lebanese Shias have demonstrated a progressive streak in several facets of social life, they have also reported more regressive views than Sunnis in several other aspects. For instance, 75 per cent of Sunnis completely agreed with the statement that women should be able to work outside the home compared to 63 per cent of Shias. Similarly 40 per cent of Shias completely agreed with the statement that men should have more right to a job when jobs are scarce compared to only 23 per cent of Sunnis. Twice as many Shias (30 per cent) demonstrated support for stoning to death of those accused of adultery than Sunnis.  And lastly 22 per cent of Shias in Lebanon thought that suicide bombings and violence against civilian targets was often justified in a conflict compared to nine per cent of Sunnis.

Source: Pew Research Centre: Global Attitudes Project, Spring 2010 Survey data

Shias, Sunnis and others reported similar responses on matters related with protecting the environment and equal rights for men and women, suggesting that there was some convergence of views. Similarly, there were some expected differences, such as Shias in Lebanon reported confidence in the Iranian President Mahmood Ahmadinejad while Sunnis reported confidence in the Saudi King Abdullah.

The Pew data set is not detailed enough to develop a sound theory of how Shias and Sunnis differ in their respective worldviews. The analysis presented here offers only a partial, but still useful, assessment of how the followers of the two main sects in Islam hold divergent or similar views about non-religious matters. Indeed, no attempt is being made to demonstrate one sect’s superiority over the other because no such evidence was found.

The mix bag of results suggests that elements of modernity and orthodoxy could be found sprinkled along the sectarian divide amongst Lebanese Muslims. The same is perhaps true for Muslims elsewhere.

Murtaza Haider, Ph.D. is the Associate Dean of research and graduate programs at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University in Toronto. He can be reached by email at

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


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Murtaza Haider is a Toronto-based academic and the director of

He tweets @regionomics

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (120) Closed

Masud Zaidi Jun 06, 2012 05:23am
Basically religion is just like a stick which is a support ( sahara or aasra in Urdu language ) when used by a week person and a weapon in the hands of powerful ruling elite which they use for their advantage. Sects have also been made by the powerful to divide and rule over the week. This has been going on in every religion all over the world. Muslims are no exceptions.
Masud Zaidi Jun 06, 2012 05:13am
Agree with Nafees. Purpose is to create sectarian divide further. Maybe the authors name has been used by someone for this purpose.
Introspection Jun 07, 2012 12:10pm
I do not agree. Did one take out time to analyze why, and suggest solutions, and a cure? We tend to usually react to the 'symptoms' of the disease rather than addressing the 'root-cause' of the disease. And that's where all the bigotry, biases, hatred, and regression starts to spring from. Where there is no Truth, there is falsehood...and where there is no Light, there is darkness...
mike rauf Jun 05, 2012 01:54am
"internal and external forces working against Islam and Muslim." typical conspiracy theory Bro... had too much of this paranoid stuff. However your comments on sects is very positive but who is listening?
Usman May 31, 2012 06:03am
Well said
TXDTTT May 30, 2012 11:47am
Honestly, I don't even think articles like these should be published. Not because I'm intolerant and don't support freedom of speech but this in some sense is a hate speech. We're all muslims, we're the same. Heck why only shia's or sunnis. Even jews or christians are human and thats what matters. This article is just trying to say Sunnis are less liberal well how do you feel when they say Muslims are less liberal than Atheists?
Naseema Perveen Jun 10, 2012 11:13am
very well written and a very sensitive issue!
hashmat Jun 06, 2012 06:43am
i wonder what this artical is abt ??
saythetruth Jun 06, 2012 12:53pm
Don't worry many are listing, we do have problems in Pakistan but look around we are not alone. All we need is a good leader and changing is coming Pakistan.
Why? Jun 13, 2012 03:59pm
I find it hard to understand, why the preachers of love and peace for mankind are the most self-righteous and the greatest war mongers.
Omair Jun 01, 2012 11:50am
Iran and KSA are missing in the survey. These two nations will provide the real difference
Hasanalirana May 30, 2012 09:34am
sample set of Data is too small to get Fair idea of a very complex situation. We cannot draw any reasonable conclusions as demography plays much larger role when Modern issues like War on Terror are concerned.
Nafees N. May 30, 2012 09:55am
This is a silly line of research: do people with beards prefer capitalist economy as compared to people with moustache? However, if the purpose of the research is to create sectarian divide amongst the two sects, the research fits in nicely.
Usman May 30, 2012 10:32am
this is sample and sample data is not the actual data in lebanon shia are a minority amongst mainstream muslims so discussion in this article is not very credible and nor worth reading
apakistani May 30, 2012 10:40am
i would have to agree with Hasanalirana... you are trying to draw conclusions based on data that is clearly not sufficient. I also have a problem with the way the survey appears to have been conducted. i mean if somebody asks me my faith i would tell me that i'm a muslim rather than a shia, but then again that's just me. Also it would be interesting to note the views of Pakistanis on the topics you've touched briefly.. Perhaps you could do a follow up article with views of both Shia & Sunni Ulema on broad predetermined subjects (say banking, commerce, role of the government as a regulator, free market etc) and add comments from your respondents.
Fahad May 30, 2012 11:39am
Majority of Lebanese people are liberals. Only few of them are conservatives. Taking lebanon as a sample cannot be justified as far as the opinion of practicing Sunnis and Shias are concerned. Shias and Sunnis can live peacefully unless Shias stop abusing the ones which are of high status in Islam i.e. The first 3 Caliphs and Ummahatul Momineen. You can see Shias abusing these beloved personalities on youtube. I urge Shias to stop this as the literature of Shias 12 Imams (Which are poius people for Sunnis) also considers these personalities as of high piousness and status.
Mahesh Patil May 30, 2012 12:10pm
Dear Author, No doubt you are Sunny.I have Sunny as well Shia friends but without prejudice I find Shia's more tolerant. Off course it is a personal opinion.
Faraz May 30, 2012 12:17pm
Apropos of Usman, samples are generally considered representative of a whole. That is why we take them. I find the article to be well-written and conceptually brilliant. This takes an entirely new look into the sunni-shia discussion and brings it down to a human-level rather than an ideological one. I'd like to commend Murtaza Haider on his out-of-the-box approach to most issues. This and the last two articles (the ones on affluence levels in Pakistanis) were very well received by a large cross-section of readers.
SuperRaj May 30, 2012 12:25pm
So what does the article try to say?
unimpressed May 30, 2012 12:28pm
how does this rubbish get published in dawn? the writer has taken a statistically insignificant number, reduced it further, and then drawn massive generalisations from it! what is common between a landed aristocratic shia from jhang, punjab and a shia peasant in lebanon?? nothing. this is absolute, utter tosh.
Asgher Ali May 30, 2012 12:29pm
It is a meaningless article which concludes with a subjective and vague statement. It was nothing but a waste of time wity no lessons learnt.
Iqbal May 30, 2012 12:29pm
What ever the religion Shia or Suni, but they are human being and the driving force is money, greed and economic conditions. All Muslim area are either uneducated or not interested in education, this give opportunity to some people to play with the hypocrisy of the religion.
Introspection May 30, 2012 12:32pm
Usman, I fully endorse your line of thought and assessement. Embellishing and condoning schismatic roots, objectives, and goals, do not make this philosophy veritable in any way shape or form...They need to read more about ISLAM...the authentic ISLAM, period!
Salim Langda May 30, 2012 12:37pm
What is the "Just Muslim" category? Can we have some innovative articles from you... all your articles merely take data from one country and try to break it down/interpret it.
Jay May 30, 2012 01:01pm
Zain May 30, 2012 01:20pm
This article is just another attempt by the media to create a rift between the two sects. It should be ignored completely.
Tariq May 30, 2012 01:27pm
Get your facts right and shias are single majority inlebanon as compared to sunnis and christians
KKR May 30, 2012 01:31pm
Frankly, this is a rubbish article. It beggars belief that this was actually published. It gives shallow analysis a whole new meaning.
A Muslim May 30, 2012 01:47pm
A useless article. I do not understand why author has decided to chose this topic, what he wanted to highlight, please inform us, if you are reading this comment.
abc May 30, 2012 01:54pm
thanks !
Talib May 30, 2012 01:57pm
Quite clearly you have little information about Lebanon. The country has a pretty even spread as far as muslims are concerned. But your point regarding the sample is true to some extent, however, some information in this article is quite true as far as shia-sunni views in Pakistan are concerned.
Rashid Khan May 30, 2012 02:12pm
Sunnis and Shias can never stop fighting.
kanwal May 30, 2012 02:18pm
Its a very bold article. I am not sure abiut the outcome though. Analysis looks a bit incomplete overall
Qaiser Hussain May 30, 2012 02:25pm
Usman, Shia do form a majority in Lebanon. they are minority among the whole of population but with in muslims they are majority. Also what do you mean by "mainstream muslim" ?
iwenops May 30, 2012 04:39pm
Dr. Haider, Again good efforts at addressing this historical issue. However, as stated by you, the data set is not detailed enough to addresses deeper level differences. Hence, the article may not serve a meaningful purpose. Instead, your analysis might be misinterpreted and misused by others, especially the one that refers to 'Is the violence against civilian targets justified?' Also, PEW is a western (US American) body and by the virtue of it being in USA it is as much a victim of ignorance as the rest of the US American society is. To address Shia-Sunni related issues, a suggestion would be to address aspects that bring the two interpretations closer to each other. For example, the role of sufis in shia and sunni interpretations of Islam. The task of highlighting deeper level similarities between the two interpretations might be more challenging than the task of identifying differences between them. Thanks
Hussain May 30, 2012 02:41pm
Shias are not in minority in lebanon. They are actually equal to sunnis or even a littlebit then sunnis. Attached is the wikipedia link for proof. m
Mukhar May 30, 2012 02:50pm
Actually shias are majority and the biggest of all sects in lebanon. Sunni are minority.
Goga Nalaik May 30, 2012 02:55pm
FYI, shias in Lebanon are in majority (44%) and christians (including maronites and all other subsects) are 35%. I let you calculate the percentage of sunni muslims ... Now, with due respect, I would like to tell you that your above remark is totally displaced. Your fourth caliph very rightly said "Ignorance is your worst enemy" !
NASAH (USA) May 30, 2012 03:01pm
The chart if my perception is correct shows that more Shias besides being proponents of the free market ( I don't know what that has to do with violence) -- justify violence against the civilians -- than the Sunnis do -- yet the picture is just the reverse in Pakistan's wild West. Sectarian strife is a hazardous area for quantitative research in emotionally charged unstable regions. There is no doubt that the swords are clearly drawn between the Shias and the Sunnis in the Middle East -- no Sunni can rule the Shia land no Shia can rule the Sunni majority -- contrary to the past amity -- thanks to the American Bull in the China shop of Shia-Sunni relations in the Middle East. Still a very useful column.
abbas May 30, 2012 03:14pm
@ usman sick mentality fatwas shia minority any where every where, wake up man look into population surveys of world by third / neutral parties. u will find even in Saudia shias are in sizeable numbers...... and i couldnt get your comment against mainstream muslims.......... i hope u have a better explanation!!!!!
Akbar May 30, 2012 03:18pm
This is probably one of the worst articles I have ever read. The author has tried to grasp some very complex historical, cultural and political traits and tried to impose an american styled black and white framework to analyze them. I hope the author writes a book about it rather than come up these articles.
Ali Asghar May 30, 2012 03:21pm
Usman: You can't say that the sample is only a sample set and set the issues aside. The points discussed in this article highlight the some of the main issues facing the Muslim world today. Historically, Shias have been oppressed for their beliefs with the mainstream Muslim Umma not saying a single word. Dr. Murtuza provides a logical reason as to why the sample data that was selected was used. Analysis of the Muslim world shows a fine disconnect between the Shias and Sunnies. You can't say that this is nor credible and then put it aside. For this Muslim world to move past our differences you need to open your blinders and accept the fact that your views are skewed. Don't just see the word "Shia" and shut those blinders.
Anser May 30, 2012 03:36pm
This is not enough evidence to base an article on - it is people in one country, without even taking into account differences in opinion between rural and urban communities, etc, etc.
Hasanalirana May 30, 2012 03:39pm
Sample set is not very balanced. More than 50% of the shia questioned are from Lebanon, (275/407). In my view it would be unfair to have gross generalization of Millions of Shias/Sunnis by asked few Hundreds. Author agreed in the end that data is not detailed enough. i guess it is common sense to have divergent views on any modern issue. Cant figure out the sense that Author is trying to make out of it !!!
The realist May 30, 2012 03:50pm
Usman please explain to me how it is possible to collect this "actual data" you speak of? Your comment shows your complete ignorance and obliviousness of statistics and if you know anything about the subject you will know that a sample is taken to best represent a population to come up with conclusive results. Please show the writer some respect next time and do not make such uncalled for comments.
Shahzad May 30, 2012 04:09pm
According to WiKi, both Shia and Shunni are same in numbers in Lebanon, please correct me if I the WiKi numbers are wrong.
AB_Jaf May 30, 2012 04:11pm
Many countries are missing from the list like Iran, Iraq, Saudia .. so data cant be reliable so as the results....
Hussain Ali May 30, 2012 04:33pm
Usman thats pretty interesting to know - where do you find that information that Shia's are the minority in Lebanon?
Fazal Karim May 30, 2012 04:34pm
Enough is enough, in the present modernisation and enlightment days there should be no place for bitter division between Shias and sunnis. Sense should prevail history. Shias and sunnis follow Quran in which preaches love and peace for mankind.
Peace Lover May 30, 2012 05:47pm
It would have been much better if the writer had chosen at ways how these two sects can live together in this world rather than discussing the stuff which is irrelevant to most people.
Asad May 30, 2012 06:14pm
Well said!
Glad I am non Umma May 30, 2012 06:34pm
Soon, you may find yourself that Shias and Sunnis are so different that you can't live in together and you want to break up the nation. You know why? You muslims simply cannot tolerate other religions. You can't tolerate some simple critical questioning of your religion. I really feel sorry for you. You are hardwired to hate people who are not like you. You are hardwired disrespect people who don't have beliefs like you.First you broke up with India, tortured people in East Pakistan and lost it, and now you're again fighting among yourselves. A nation to survive, must have a soul. A soul based on strong bonding between its people. You are a nation without soul. Your nation was born out of hate. Once, I had a muslim friend, and we spoke for many days and months. One day, she came bit late. And I asked her, why was she late. She told me she was praying. Upon asking what was she praying, she told me, she prayed for her, her family and "Umma". I realized, I had no place in her heart and her prayers. No other religion would pray for protection of only their religion. It didn't take long for me to realize why majority of terrorists in the world are muslims. Sorry, i'm being harsh, but in the heart of your heart, you know I'm right.
Dude May 30, 2012 10:40pm
The article is really good, but the main issue that the muslims are facing is sectarian violence and spread of hatred between different sects of Islam. Sunnis and Shias should should together fight against sectarian violence and those preaching hatred against each others sect. United we can only move forward. And if Islam teaches tolerance then members of both sects should have the tolerance to accept the others point of view without killing each other and condemning all sort of violence especially sectarian.
sultan May 30, 2012 11:20pm
Alas Mr. Patil you miss the subtitles of Muslim culture despite your friendship. A rose is a it and you shall know it.
True.North May 31, 2012 02:38am
Would that be the same Quran that the Taliban and Al Qaeda follow? They must have skipped over the part about love and peace for mankind.....
Eli May 31, 2012 03:01am
An interesting aritcle........I personally believe that both sects have significantly different world outlooks.....but indeed much more research based on larger database is required to come up with results of substance....1400 years of conflict between two sects is less a story of different believes and more of their distinctly different outlooks and expectations....
eli May 31, 2012 03:03am
only quest for more learning and rationality in all sects can stop mutual conflicts..........
Ali May 31, 2012 03:37am
Useless to a great extent. The larger question is if the believe (Sunni or Shia) provide a different world view? No just of free market economy and all ill-wills of modernity.
Talat May 31, 2012 04:24am
You have touched a very sensitive topic and haven't been able to really clear what you r trying to say... most educated ppl try to eliminate the shia sunni divide while you have highlighted more differences which cannot be completely verified. I find your article very irresponsible as it could hurt sentiments of both sides and could also create more differences. I haven't come across any Muslim (Shia or Sunni) who supports suicide bombing..
whats in the name May 31, 2012 04:49am
I second your opinion friend, I find shias to be more tolerent than sunnis. I do not know the reason, of course there are exceptions also.
Hussain May 31, 2012 05:52am
I fully support this types of very rare research. Shia Sunni divide is reality and we have not been able to overcome this in last 1400 years. It means this split is deep routed. If this is reality, we should not accept it. Accepting reality and studying the implications of this split on human behavoirs is not bad at all. I appreciate this research and second the authors findings that a greater proportion of shia community is open minded. But this open mindedness is not unbriddled, they have to remain within the fatwa of their respective religious scholar. It is religious scholar job to analyse the new developments in the world in the light of Quran and Sunnaha and give guideline to his followers accordingly.
naqi akbar May 31, 2012 07:02am
a very weak story/ blog and an intro
jibran May 31, 2012 07:33am
Why doesnt the writer do some research in his own field of expertise rather than dabbling in social sciences?
Syed Imran Ali May 31, 2012 09:48am
Very Very Sensitive issue....
Sam May 31, 2012 10:14am
Sunnis are more stubborn whereas shias are tolerant and research oriented.
Baba Sidni May 31, 2012 10:14am
Sure, and my research says, that Sunnis prefer the color green, while the Shias prefer blue, why ? Bets me.
@hasanarshad_ May 31, 2012 12:30pm
Murtaza Haider is a Shia name, but I will forgive you for your ignorance since you are from India
@hasanarshad_ May 31, 2012 12:31pm
It's next to impossible to draw any conclusions from these surveys!!
be postive May 31, 2012 12:35pm
mr fahad be on topic its nt an place 2 discus such an issue which is related to the topic as a wise man says talk on a right movemnt so kindly just c ths topic with bold eyes ur jxt looking ths topic with sectrian eyes.
Khan May 31, 2012 02:26pm
what is purpose of this statistical enumeration of divergent views it doesnt say any thing !!!!!
Rai Amar Anwar May 31, 2012 04:15pm
Sir , the author discussed here his sample and not the wikipedia or some other sources. Secondly, when you take sample, this may be different than the overall population. Try to understand the difference in between sample and total population. The author does not claim about Lebanese total Population he is referring to his sample.
Hasan Naqvi May 31, 2012 04:16pm
It is the society of crows. One crow brother support their other crow brother wether he is on right or wrong. I am also facing this society. Beyond crow brothers i am living as a man. In morning these crow say that hen is white and soon instruction of their leader or cleric they says that same hen is black. They don't convince others. These fanatic persons are very dominatory.
Muhammad May 31, 2012 05:57pm
@ Fahad this might answer ur question as to y some shia ppl curse the first three caliphs their own actions according to credible sunni books justify the ill will towards them.
sam May 31, 2012 06:27pm
No he is not a Sunni -- don't be so sure -- you can't differentiate between Sunni and Shia names of Muslims -- so better to keep quiet than to say something which you don't know. In both Sunni and Shia one may find tolerant as well as not.
ejaz May 31, 2012 07:07pm
Pakistan's population is close to 180 million of which almost 97% are muslims. Now how representative this sample of 1582 people is to draw such inferences is an interesting question all those favoring the inferences drawn in article should ponder on including the writer himself!
Dar May 31, 2012 08:14pm
Fahad you are still having the same baseless reason of blaming shias that they are abusing the first 3 Caliphs. A fatwa has already been released from the supreme leader Imam Khamnai and other notable shia clerics that abusing any of the beloved personlities i.e the first 3 Caliphs, is HARAM, so a true shia can't even think to abuse them. So you can't blame the shias regarding this issue.As far as the situation in Pakistan is concerned, no one is fighting for religion or sect rather people are playing in the hands of Jewish Agents who are always busy to create more differences among different sects of Islam. Those who are fighting for peace are the real muslims and i believe thats what ISLAM is all about. As far as this article is concerned, its not a good show rather its just serving a source to create more confusions among the Muslims. We should talk and discuss about the things that are common and acceptable to all sects.
S. Abbas May 31, 2012 10:47pm
The comments of this author sometimes just amaze me. He is an educated man but he knows very well how to blow things out of proportion. For example, in last article he generalized Pakistani-Canadian being poor and struggling. Although, he didn't factor in that under reporting is huge factor amongst Pakistanis. Next, he also didn't factor in that Pakistani women aren't part of the labor force. I would suggest him to present both sides of the argument and let the reader make the judgement. SA
khan May 31, 2012 11:10pm
the article is a sceintific work, we should not think the differance to enimity. ofcourse there is differnace of opinion, it goes back to early day of islam. as we read Ali (A.S) worked in the garden of jew. he did not hate any jew because of theire believe. Shias are inspired from theire Imams( True picture of mankind). 2) thirty year ago. shia succeded to established a islamic government that has good relation with muslims countries like algeria , libya and non muslim coutries like india and many countries. in response to that salafis had a chance to established a so called islamic government, full of intolerance, they destroy a budha stature, force conversion of minorties to salafiisme . i had a lot of respect to my sunni brother. actualy sunnis are not differnet then shia. but salafis were disguised like sunni. so salafi influance made a bad image.
shah Raza May 31, 2012 11:40pm
I know there will be a lot of criticism on this well written article. The author does not mean to describe the differences between Shia and Sunnis but to elaborate more on how their thinking towards the economic freedom. There are many people in Muslim world who are totally ignorant on history of Islam. They only learn from whatever their Imam tell them in either Friday sermon or talking to other like minded people. This is an age of computers, if they are really serious they can get any kind of authentic information on a click of a button. The first word that was read by our beloved Prophet was Iqra that means read, but alas we as a Muslim do not follow the teaching of our Prophet and when it comes to religion we think we are the biggest scholar in this world and argue any and everyone to put our point across no matter how poorly we know about the subject. People like Usman is one of the biggest example here, so please go read about your own religion and when you think you have a command on this then you can talk with people with confidence.
Abdul May 31, 2012 11:56pm
Either Data is hugely faulty or Author want to project something non existent. Everyone knows that Shia's around the world are victim of sunni terror and attacks on civilians. Can anyone one point out a single Shia group who has blown up sunni mosques, or killed people after taking them out of bus on the basis that they are sunni? Why no Iranian is involved in any terror plot against US while US has used groups like Jundullah to kill scores of Iranian civilians? Why Hizbullah of Lebonan is not killing Israeli civilians when it can do it with ease in response to Israeli war crimes? This is totally opposite to what we experience daily and Author needs to apologize for that.
naseer qureshi Jun 01, 2012 02:04am
I cannot belive the great and renowned newspaper like DAWN published such a nonsense article. It is beyond my imagination that why would "dawn" publish such an article that does no good to the readers but to create religious schism in already volatile society like Pakistan.
WTF Jun 01, 2012 02:09am
A word of advice, Sunnis and Shias, try acting and behaving like human beings for a change. Give respect to get respect. I'm sure PEW research will not waste their time, energy and funds on these studies if sunni-shia differences aren't there. But again, these differences are the reason for a huge market in Pakistan where hatred and religious intolerance is fueled by outside powers from the neighboring countries and the middle east. So keep fighting amongst yourselves, you people don't need a real enemy!!!
good2rely Jun 01, 2012 02:17am
It is recent trend sponsered by Wahabi Sunnis of Saudi Arabia. During Shah Iran period both were tolerant. In india particularily UP both lived like brothers with obvious difference that would not cause rift to bloodshed Survey is insignificant and w/o depth. Main point is that Sunni Shia difference is superflous and created by power hungry. Both believe in all what Holy book requires.It is only about Sahaba...and Ego.After 14k old misunderstanding should go.It is story of those who came out of dark age and Light not yet agreeable!!! so soon.All did good service to faith. Watch Christians and Jews.Staunch opposite and living well.
good2rely Jun 01, 2012 02:25am
Majority of Muslims add ALY with their name!!! Some make things worse by divide. Strangely almost all muslim saints are descendants of the Family of Aly and Fatima.
Farhan Mahfooz Jun 01, 2012 03:43am
I have tried my best to read this piece but completely failed.
fatima zaidi Jun 01, 2012 03:53am
i dont know what lesson or what sort of information author gave to the society.facts are not proper .moreover, comparing the views existing in society one should mention literate and illeterate people's views separatelly espacially if u r quoting Pakistan.because most of illeterate people call themselves shia or sunni without even ever tought about the basics of their religion.since they practice some of there so called shia or sunni ways of living there opinions also matter alot
F.Hasnain Jun 01, 2012 10:57am
This data is not enough Mr. Haider to stir the sense of sectaranian divide among the muslims, plus you are just taking one country, Lebanon as an analysis to your research.
sherry Jun 01, 2012 04:34am
What is link with blue color
S. A. M. Jun 01, 2012 07:45am
Data collection is one thing and the interpretation is another. Not only the data is not worthyof repesenting the masses the interpretation and comparisons drawn are faulty. May be after more deeper research a better piece can be published. No we should talk about everything to get better understanding.
Amna Jun 01, 2012 09:10am
Honestly, I didn't quite understand the point of the article. Dawn should be careful about what it"s publishing. It is one of the very few credible newspaper in the country, I seriously hope it is not beginning to lose its prorities.
p r sharma Jun 01, 2012 09:25am
research data is too small to come to a conclusion. Percentile terminology gives a vague picture. In Lebnon data collected from 283 persons and analysed which is too small and analysis does not reveal a correct picture for which the article is authored.
Moin Jun 01, 2012 10:23am
An effort to further divide our society which should be deplored.
Omair Jun 01, 2012 11:55am
you are wrong on judging that the author is Sunni. If you don't know about other religion's differences than don't comment. You can find tolerant and intolerant people in every religion/sect. Be it Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism etc.
Fahad Siddiqui Jun 01, 2012 12:05pm
To understand the research you require an indepth knowldge of sample selection method employed to gather data and this articale/research lacks in providing such details. As far as shia/sunni concern research need to be based on sunnis/shias with extensive knowldge of free market/econmics than the auther/researcher can publish a result. Asking people with no knowldge of how controlled/free market work will make the research unvalid.
vijay Jun 01, 2012 12:10pm
@amna It is one of the very few credible newspapers- It is the only one in pakistan
Introspection Jun 01, 2012 12:35pm
Ali Asghar, a piece of sincere advise: The Shias really need to break out of the low profile and almost secret Ghadeer-e-Khom cul-de-sac-controversy, and really get enlightened by the open and public Hajjat-ul-Wida sermon (where all the Sahabas and Muslims and M'omineens were present in throngs), of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him), if they desire to score in the pun intended, but a sure fire solution to the Sunni Shia divide.
Introspection Jun 01, 2012 01:29pm
Your right sam, he's not a sunni (as opposed to shia-a splinter break-off from the mainstream Islam and Muslims), he does not obey the Commandments of Allah as shown and practiced by His endorsed, authorized, and beloved Prophet, Prophet Muhammad, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him.
Concerned Netizen Jun 01, 2012 02:22pm
Barelvi Sunnis are fine. It is the Deobandi Sunnis who are more rigid and extreme in nature. This was told to me by a religious but very tolerant Muslim guy.
Imtiaz Jun 01, 2012 02:25pm
Report is not worth published
Introspection Jun 01, 2012 03:26pm
Iqbal, 'human beings', yes human beings...Allah Himself in His Infinite Knowledge and Power has categorized 'human beings' into 5-categories in His Book-The Qur'an: 1. Muslimeen (Those who have recited the Shahadah, and declared the surrendering of their will and purpose to Allah). 2. M'omineen (The practicing Muslims). 3. Kafireen (The confounders and hiders of the Truth). 4. Mushrikeen (The polytheists and idol worshipers). 5. Munafiqueen (The hypocrites). Categories 1 & 2 are the defenders, supporters, and expounders of the revealed Truth. Categories 3, 4, and 5 are the rebels of Allah (their Creator), and His endorsed and authorized Prophet and Messenger-Muhammad (SAW). So let us all 'introspect', and strive to become the followers of righteous guidance as revealed by Allah...which then, as a consequence will, Insh'Allah, clear away all the prevailing ignorance and jahalat from human beings.
babu Jun 01, 2012 05:02pm
seriously , i thought muslims were one, i don't know about Pakistan ,but here in India ,I find shias to be educated and progressive and merger with the society ,rarely wear their religion on the sleeves. soooo indian.
Ali Hassan Jun 01, 2012 07:05pm
I was born to Shiia Muslim parents.... but today (2012) I am neither Sunni nor Shiia. I am MUSLIM and I am Pakistani FIRST. was there really a need to spark some kind of Shiia-Sunni debate? Things are getting to the point - religion is just dividing Pakistanis. leave it in your hearts....dont be emotional
Mujahid Hussain Jun 01, 2012 07:42pm
Reading article and comments I found two things 1) Author has focused a model country Lebanon for the readers, because of recent history of Shiite group Hebollah that formed a system in Lennon where Shiites-Sunnis even Muslims and Non-Muslims live with Love and Peace. 2) Those who have given comments are unaware from the facts of global geological changes and the real heroes of Islam and humanity. They are just following their opinion and trying to impose on others.
Hussain Jun 02, 2012 03:16am
I am responding to Usman`s comment and not the the author. I am PhD and know the difference between sample and population.
umer Jun 18, 2012 06:34pm
every1 should respect each other's belief's, situation becomes unfavorable when, one target the religious personalities & those who are the legend's of islam
ameer Jun 02, 2012 08:35am
article is a way to insight anger...hmmmm
Tony Gazzara Jun 02, 2012 09:29am
I am absolutely surprised at this article getting published in Dawn. It is to assume that Shais and Sunnis are like two nation states or human races. I wonder if we can try not to think in religious terms.
nmghmjgh Jun 02, 2012 10:00am
look at iran and look at others despite their advantages
Ali Jun 02, 2012 10:26am
Dear Murtaza, Your article is good, but again the number of persons included are very less, and you can't much out of these small numbers. Both Shia and Sunni extremism have made the present chaos. I agree that the west world was not aware of Shia and Sunny about 15-20 years ago, but we made realized it and now they are cashing on it. About a year ago i was watching some program on BBC in which they were giving the break of population in Bosnia; Shias=X %, Sunni=Y % and then Christians= Z%, and the number of Christians were the most. Why did they not break Christians in sects and then show the percentage?
amaal Jun 02, 2012 09:22pm
"Even" jews and christians - anyone else noticed "even" ? a very subtle indication that intolerance runs deeper than some people would like to admit : - )
Bharat Jun 03, 2012 01:23am
Over 60 years of living, I too have found the same, and moreover the shias are much more entrepreneurial !
Leslie Jun 03, 2012 08:48am
I agree . . it is driven by principles. Unfortunately on this side of the border they are only driven by sensationalism and greed.
saythetruth Jun 03, 2012 10:41pm
Pakistan and rest of the Muslim world is already facing too many problems due to internal and external forces working against Islam and Muslim. Sitting in the west and writing irresponsible blogs with tunnel vision only create more problems due to lack of understanding of Shia and Sunni concept. There were no Shia's or Sunni's during Prophets Muhammad (pbuh) times and I consider myself a Muslim not Shai or Sunni. I was brought about to believe that I am Sunni Muslim, this was the title I earned from my parents but after reading about Islamic history I believe these title of Shai or Sunni divide us and we must get rid them. To all those hard line Shai's and Sunni's following the Quran and Sunna'h of Prophet Mohammad only give us clear understanding of the our religion. Playing number game of twisting and making a point based on small sampling of the Shia's and comparing it with small sample of Sunni's is injustice to the Islam and Muslim. First of all we should be working to unite Muslim and to to divide by call each other by Shai, Sunni, Whabi, Safai, Malkali, Hambali ..................... where does this ends. Use your Qulam "pen" for good, Allah will ask you about unity of the Ummah first my question to the writer is Are you ready to face Allah ? Unity of the Muslims is the responsibility of every Muslim Basic Islam 101.
Raza Jun 04, 2012 07:28am
Mr. M. Haider is an expert in showing interesting data in tables and charts. His title says 'free market economy' but the article does not give any economic data of shia and sunni countries. I would request MH to provide some information and data about the alternative (ie Islamic economy). Is there any possibility of having an Islamic style of economy.
faraz Jul 04, 2012 09:30am
the article and your comments on it are both utterly useless! sorry to be very blunt.
Ahsan E. Jul 12, 2012 12:23pm
I stopped short of reading the article after reading the title. We are going to be reading this on dawn now?
Irfan Sheikh Jul 11, 2012 08:00am
Dear Friend Mahesh, There is no such thing as a sunni or a Shia muslim either one is a muslim or not a muslim all sects are man made religions.
Jawad Jul 16, 2012 06:36pm
Another article to divide Muslims based on sects.
Rahim Jul 18, 2012 12:55pm
Worst researched article i have ever read or seen.
Asif Ansari Jul 26, 2012 07:56pm
For this writing article, what is trying to say the writer, Sunnis and Shias are belongs to different FIQAS, but it is true that first they are human beings and Muslims, So writer does not clerify his meaningless observations.