Sunni-Shiite Schism Compared with Catholic-Protestant Divide

A disagreement 14 centuries ago over Islamic leadership following the death of the Prophet Mohammed –whether it should be by merit or bloodline–divides a religion that will be world’s largest this century.

CHR Comment: Reporter Gregg Zoroya attempts to make the Sunni-Shiite conflict more understandable to western readers by comparing it to the conflicts that followed the Protestant Reformation. Both the Muslim conflict and the Christian conflict had issues of authority at their center and resulted in wars, which makes the different events comparable to some extent.

Zoroya points out that the conflict in Islam was over who would succeed the prophet Mohammed as a leader. In the Reformation, the conflict was different. Before the Reformation took place, the medieval church was developing the modern papacy and often conflicted with kings  and councils over issues of authority . Martin Luther appealed to the Scriptures as the ultimate authority since popes and councils erred. When the papacy took offense at Luther’s teaching and concluded that he was harming the church, Luther and his supporters appealed for a council to address the issues. The papacy did not wish for such a counsel to take place, which would undermine papal authority by putting the Protestants and the papal supporters on equal footing. Ultimately, the papacy did call what we know today as the Council of Trent (1545-1563), which established the doctrine and practice of Roman Catholicism in distinction from Protestantism. Not long afterward, the European wars of religion arose (Thirty Years’ War; 1618-1648), which brought horrible devastation.

When reviewing religious history, it is important to note that conflicts often have their origin not in religion itself but in the varied interests of religious people. There are always political and economic factors that attach themselves to the spiritual issues.

Source: Ancient Islamic Sunni-Shiite schism inflames a modern world

Two Sudanese Lutheran Churches and a Church of Christ Destroyed within One Month

Christians in the predominantly Muslim country of Sudan continue to suffer intense persecution, with the government engaging in a systematic destruction of churches, a conservative law group has warned.

CHR Comment: The Sudanese government is applying narrow interpretations of Sharia law to destroy church buildings and to persecute pastors. Some Muslim groups are also targeted. Since 2003, war in the region has led to more than 300,000 deaths.

Source: 3 Churches Destroyed in 1 Month Amid Rampant Christian Persecution in Sudan