Shi‘i-Sunni dynamics in America have to be contextualized within the framework of the history of the early Muslim community (around the 1900s), which comprised both groups. Faced with the challenge of assimilation to American culture, the early Muslims sought to keep their faith intact and perform their religious obligations. They also felt the need to socialize and maintain regular contact with their religious brethren. Since they were a minority in America, Muslims stressed their Islamic, rather than sectarian identity. Hence, despite their sectarian differences, Shi‘i and Sunni Muslims often intermarried, worshipped in the same mosques, marked social occasions, and together represented Islam to the non-American community. Recent events in the Middle East have heightened tensions that have impacted the North America Muslim community. Muslim leaders in different parts of North America have sought to reduce these tensions through various measures which have brought a better understanding of what it means to be the other.


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pp. 103-105
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