Letter on Muslim split hits the mark

July 23, 2014

Peter Schultz’s letter to the editor on Iraq (July 11) is a superb summary of the history of the situation there. My family and I spent three years living in Iran in a mixed but mostly Shiite neighborhood in Tehran, and can attest to the bitterness among Muslims. What most Americans fail to appreciate is the depth and permanence of the Sunni-Shiite split. It will never be healed unless Allah himself were to choose a side in some undeniable form, like in a public appearance.
Some might think that this split works in our favor, because it keeps the Muslim extremists fighting each other and not us. I don’t know. But such extremism and volatility in the Middle East puts so much at risk, like a major source of our oil. I believe it will be helpful if we recognize that the majority of Muslims of all sects are not extremist, but moderate. But then it only took a small minority of extremist Germans in the 30s to launch Nazism and World War II!
Our involvement in Iraq was an awful mistake as Peter pointed out. Joe Biden’s suggestion to recognize the reality of distinctly different religious and cultural boundaries looks better and better.
David Downing

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