Sunday, November 26, 2006

Shi'ite? Isn't that a swear word?

In this New York Times editorial, some guy named Jeff Stein asks, "Do you know the difference between a Shi'ite and a Sunni?" You may notice that the date on the article is October 17. If I were the sort of person who knew the difference between a Shi'ite and a Sunni, I probably would have read it already.

In his article, Stein says that he asked one FBI official and one congressman what the difference was and did not get a right answer from either of them. While I agree that the people who serve us in government could do well to know more about what the hell they are doing, I think he is asking the wrong question. He should ask Islamic fundamentalists if they know the difference between a Catholic and a Protestant?

I say this because, in his introduction, Stein writes, "After all, wouldn’t British counterterrorism officials responsible for Northern Ireland know the difference between Catholics and Protestants?" For all his smug self-satisfaction, that isn't a very good analogy. Of course Brits would know the difference between a Catholic and a Protestant. Northern Ireland is, after all, part of their country. On the other hand, the closest place to the US with a Muslim majority is halfway around the globe. You couldn't expect an Islamic person to know the difference between a Catholic and a Protestant anymore than you could expect an American to know the difference between a Shi'ite and a Sunni.

But, while we're on the subject, I think I have the Catholic-Protestant thing down pat. Like many religions(including Islam and Judaism), Christianity broke into two parts. Around 1492, when Columbus was busy nailing the Commandments to the door, a group of people decided they wanted to break off from the Catholic church because they were tired of eating fish on Friday. These people became known as the Protestants, because nailing commandments to a door was what passed for protest in the late 15th century. Fortunately, these people would never live to see the 1960s. See? This Sunni-Shi'ite thing is pretty confusing.


Blogger Cal Skinner said...

Worth a chuckle!

10:41 PM  
Blogger Amy Allen said...

Thanks. I was googling Shi'ite and Sunni when I came across the story an I figured that I couldn't be the only one who didn't know the difference. How was your Thanksgiving?

10:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Impressive post--I always forget to include the apostrophe in "Shi'ite"!

10:36 PM  
Blogger Amy Allen said...

Me too! Just like with Shi'itake mushrooms. Thanks for reading.

11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember to keep your Sunni side up!

8:30 PM  
Blogger Freudian Slip said...

Pretty humorous stuff. Sharing this with my history class :)

1:16 PM  
Blogger JerryVacha said...

jeez amy, keep hating the world
just kidding! i love your eloquent opinions. you're so awesome

7:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes this is worth a chuckle. I can let escape a giggle too. Keep writing!!

This is Joshua from Israeli Uncensored News

2:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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2:08 AM  

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