The Sunni-Shia Divide: Redrawing the Map of the Middle East?

Ed Husain, Global Fellow, Middle East Program, Wilson Center; Author, House of Islam: A Global History

The Sunni-Shia Divide: Redrawing the Map of the Middle East?

Tensions between Islam’s two main religious sects—Sunni and Shia—are spiraling out of control and threaten to redraw the map of the Middle East. At the epicenter of the divide are the predominantly Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran, who are considered to be fueling today’s conflicts through proxy militias in Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon. Sectarian tensions have further provided a fertile ground for terrorist networks such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda to flourish and spread. How is the Sunni-Shia divide driving proxy wars, fostering terrorist networks, and expanding the humanitarian crisis in the region? Are religious differences in the Middle East being politicized in a fight for regional hegemony? Can the region break the cycles of sectarian violence that shaped its history? 

Ed Husain’s new book House of Islam: A Global History will be available for sale and signing from the Book Cellar following the program. 

Background reading and multimedia:

Speaker Bio


5:15 p.m.

5:30 p.m.
Presentation and Q&A

6:30 p.m.
Book Signing and Networking Reception 

7:00 p.m.