Det är möjligt att jag är den ende tidningsläsare som inte förstått den riktigt viktiga skillnaden mellan de båda grenarna av islam – sunni och shia – men här är ett klipp från The Economist som åtminstone för mig förklarade mycket:
The ability of Sunni Islamists to pick and choose religious concepts and take them out of context is partly down to the absence of respected religious authority in Sunni Islam. Nearly every Shia bows to one of a handful of Grand Ayatollahs, but Sunni institutions such as Cairo’s al-Azhar have limited authority. And the internet allows the masses of alienated youth to listen to the most radical preachers rather than the imam at their local mosque. State attempts to control preachers only increase mistrust of them. Scholars trying to set Islamic teachings in their historical or cultural context, whose work might inspire ways of better accommodating political Islam to the contemporary world, find themselves drowned out.
The relative prosperity, peace and democracy of Muslim-majority countries such as Indonesia show that today’s Islam can be tolerant. And there may be positive signs amid the bloodshed in the Arab world—from the popular distrust signalled by Egypt’s rejection of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group that briefly ruled after the 2011 revolution, to the way that Ennahda, Tunisia’s Islamist party, relinquished power after recent elections.
But most scholars reckon that the factors behind jihadism will only abate when the region’s Muslim-majority societies become prosperous and politically and socially free. None of the Arab world’s leaders are making much progress towards that.