first rift in Islam developed immediately after the death
of the Prophet Mohammad, leader and source of the Koran,
the Holy Book of the faith, when each of two rivals for his leadership
role assembled followers, and the Ulema (the faith community)
rifts continued over time in many Arab countries,
and as the faith spread to all parts of the globe.
to no single world leader or leaders, but rather guided and governed
by countless mullahs, Islam today is composed of numerous divisions
Sects all follow The Koran, Islam's Holy Book, but vary
of their interpretation of its meanings. Every mullah is empowered
to issue fatwas, which are individual laws or guides,
interpreted from the passages of the holy book.
in the creed no insistence is separation between "church"
The evolution of Islam is complex, involving conflicts and continuing
disputes mostly in the Middle East, but also to a lesser degree,
across the globe. The largest divisions, shown in the map below,
are the Sunnis
and the Shiites.
diagram gives a further sense of the complexity of Islam.
The original Ottoman Empire Caliphate collapsed in 1924,
the people of Islam. Some sects now are dedicated
to the reestablishment of the Caliphate, world-wide,
as a religious imperative, by force of arms if necessary. This
in violence across the world, espoused by groups
and the Muslim Brotherhood, which espouse terrorism.
The fanatic dedication
of adherents to this view is manifest in the willingness
of men and women to sacrifice their lives and even the lives
of their children as bombers in suicide attacks. The call to holy
jihad may be uniting Muslim sects across lines of theological
I am hopeful
that peace-loving people in Islam will find ways to make the argument
for peace as opposed to the idea of spreading a religion through
violence and terror. Peace be upon those who take up
and Protestants, who once were at war, now live amicably together
across the globe. I look forward to the day when all branches
of Islam will reject violence and choose to live in harmony with
their brothers in the faith, regardless of differences in theology,
practice and past history. May Allah then be praised indeed!