The 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) was sundered.

Further rifts continued over time in many Arab countries,
and as the faith spread to all parts of the globe.

With allegiance to no single world leader or leaders, but rather guided and governed by countless mullahs, Islam today is composed of numerous divisions and sects.

Sects all follow The Koran, Islam's Holy Book, but vary in aspects
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.

There is in the creed no insistence is separation between "church"
and state.

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.

The following diagram gives a further sense of the complexity of Islam.
The original Ottoman Empire Caliphate collapsed in 1924, sundering
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 has resulted
in violence across the world, espoused by groups
like Al-Queda
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 disagreement.

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
this cause.

Catholics 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!