How safe is it to be Sunni in a Shiite country and vice versa?

Yeah, right…ask an Alawite what its like to live where Sunnis predominate? Or an Ismaili where there are lots of Wahabists. generally, minority sects of islam are subject to quite a bit of persecution (along with Christians and Jews). take Iran (Shia); that country once had large communities of Christians and Jews…most of them have left…I wonder why?

Yes right, the historical islamic governments did not have great interest in small theological differences, you repeat nothing more than superficial stereotypes.

As this is GQ you can of course provide the substantive citations on the historical pattern

We have already seen on many threads the thin knowledge displayed in your posting.

Wondering about the recent decline in the minorities in the Middle east in th edecades since the colonial rule, minorities quite substantial under the classical rule for over a thousand years (contra the experience under the western christians up to the 19th century, who liquidated minorities) makes his point (although I think it is stated in a somewhat exagerated).

Beyond the colonial regimes, there is the change in the conception of what the loyalty group means, with the exposure to the ideas developed out of the western europe of the ethnic-nation. This was foreign to the Islamic world and only began to gain a traction in the late 19th century.

In the region of the Gulf and the Levant due to the great politicisation these last decades it becomes a problem, where 60 years ago it was not really. The illustration of this recency (contra the interventions of many posters here who base their knowledge on superficial western tv reporting it is clear, and make the sweeping ahistorical claims without shame), is the 1960-1970ss Yemeni civil-war case where the Kingdom of the Ibn Saud allied with the Shia royalists against the Sunni anti-royalists factions (supported by the Egypt). This in the living memory.

You can also see this in the way the pan arabist Baath parties came together in the 1950s Levant where it was not a problem to have the senior leadership and members being from the Shia, from the Alawi from the Sunni backgrounds - and the later dominance of the Sunni in the Iraq and the Alawi in the Syria within the Baath party arising not from specific sectarian decisions but from the reversion to the family and the clan networks when the specific individuals made - for their individual power - internal coups for control.

there are numerous examples that the supposed eternal sectarian between the various shia and the various sunni divide is not eternal and has varied over the time.

In the North Africa no one very much cares about the Shia and the Sunni divide (although we have the Kharijis). ETA I do not think any maghrebi could tell if someone is shia or sunni unless they had spent much time in the gulf.

In the Middle east region now they care, but the very mixedness of the populations that is persisting and making the civil wars complex shows the idea of exclusivity is not one eternal nor that it was in the past dominant.

A shia arab traveling to North africa, no one will care or even notice. In the Syria or the Lebanon or the Iraq, they may (although in the Iraq there are tribes that are mixed Sunni and Shia appartenance so making ambiguos any name affiliation). In the Gulf now they may care if you are a National but in practice if you are not a National (a citizen), but only a guest worker, they do not at all - if you are a Lebanese Shia or Sunni or a Pakistani Sunni or Shia, your Lebaneseness or your Pakistaniness counts much more.

the care and paranoia of the Saudis about Shia is mostly about their regional fragility and the weak legitimacy even now of the Ibn Saud.

much of the current ‘religious’ conflict in the region is very economic stress related. If you look even to the Brotherhood in the Egypt, you can tell by names that many of them come from the families of the previoulsy rural, whose ascent is blocked by the old corrupt elites, as an example.

There is no single answer to this, most of us outside of the Levant and the Gulf do not care or even have any great opinion.

If you ask do Iraqi shia or Iraqi arab sunni (or Syrian, etc) have X opinion, you can have some valid answer - but there is no religion wide answer

To further what Ramira said, here in Pakistan, my own family has both Shia and Sunni members. My father was acquianted with someone for over three decades, he did not know said person was Shia until the man’s funeral. A lot of the time you won’t even known the persons sect.

Yes, it is a long time since I have spent great time in the ‘Middle east’ but in the 1990s it was not obvious who was the shia or the sunni unless you had one of those rare names that is associated with on the great religious family, even then it is not 100% clear. For maghrebis to the Gulf the discourses about the Sunni and the Shia is just weird and foreign.

The idea that is often assumed in the Western writing that the Shia and the Sunni divide is just like the Protestant and the Catholic is to me a false one as historically except perhaps along the divide of the Persian and the arab zones, there was never a great divide or great doctrinal fight. The islamic world lacked any real equivalent of the idea of or the applied practice of the Inquisition or its protestant equivalents.

It’s natural, I think, to compare the Shia/Sunni divide with the Troubles of Ireland because both divides involve(d) a complex interplay of religious, ethnic, economic, and political issues. It’s almost never only about religion (because if it is, then the USA would not be able to have so much Catholic/Protestant peace and cooperation), but religion tends to get the blame for causing the strife.

For the specific yes, but the problem is for people udnerstanding the shia and the sunni structurally through the lens of the catholic and the protestant.

like the struggle in people not understanding easily that islam lacks “clerics” since there is no structure for them (only preachers, that is a closer idea).

“Ten Ways on How Not To Think About the Iran/Saudi Conflict” —

My understanding is that nobody really cared about the religion or ancestry of foreign tourists. The Protestant/Catholicism thing was essentially about loyalties.

Going by this, most Iranian Christians did not leave in the wake of the revolution, but rather stayed in the country.

So does the same thing apply to Sunni/Shia relations? E.g. if a Sunni extremist in Saudi Arabia sees a Shi’ite walking down the street, is he likely to be more concerned with “OMG heretic must die!!11!1one” or is he likely to be more concerned that said Shi’ite ought to be killed because he is likely to support Iran?

A Shia does not have a forehead stamp saying “Shia”. Extremists tend to target what are specifically places of worship or markets in homogenous areas.

An old joke from the Troubles:

A small, well-dressed man enters a Belfast pub late one night. Everyone glowers at him, and a huge bruiser soon gets up, walks over to him and asks threateningly, “Are you a Catholic or a Protestant?”

“Why, neither,” the new guy says, sipping his beer. “I’m Jewish.”

The bruiser is a bit taken aback at first, but then he snarls, “Are you a Catholic Jew or a Protestant Jew?”

Right, but would (on average) those places be targeted because the extremist can’t stand to see heretics around or because they can’t stand to see people who might sell out the country to Iran?

I don’t exactly make it a point to hang around extremists and share their views.

Suspected motivations for extremist attacks have been all over the place, from killing “heretics” to “easiest target we could find” to “embarsse the government because the a minoirty community got hit:”.

That must explain why so many Shia get murdered by extremists in Pakistan then

A better punchline to this is “Well that must make me the luckiest Palestinian in Belfast!”

Yes it likely does, as just like in the Iraq, the extemists attack places of congregation to drive wedges and spread distrust, to force their views.

something like what the extremist hindus are doing in the India now, against the religious minorities.

It is sad, the humans condition. Beni Adam, Beni Adam.

Who the what now?