Even Al-Qaeda thinks ISIS is too extreme. We explore the newly-powerful terrorist group, which is gaining strength from the centuries-old feud between Sunnis and Shiites.
For almost the entire 1,400 year history of Islam, the Sunni majority ruled the Arab world. But the tables turned in Iraq in 2003, when American troops invaded. The Sunnis were cast to the bottom of Iraqi society, and the Shiites were launched to the top, making Iraq the perfect breeding ground for a Sunni extremist group: ISIS. Few Sunnis like the group’s violent brand of Islam, but many feel they have nowhere else to turn.
Josh Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma
Gregory Gause, non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Center in Doha, Qatar
Robert Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute
In the early 1800’s, young girls in Shaker communities began to spontaneously speak in tongues, sing songs, see visions, or make prophesies. In what became known as the Era of Manifestations, Shakers revered the girls as divinely gifted and named them “Visionists.” A new novel takes this famous Shaker revival as its setting, and delves into a contradiction at the heart of the Shaker religion: balancing a stark and regimented daily life with ecstatic and emotional worship.
Rachel Urquhart, author of The Visionist