The Press: Closing the Gap

The week's big news from the Moslem world: serious efforts are being made to heal a schism that has divided Islam for more than 1,000 years.

The bitterly opposed sects are the Shiites and Sunnis, each claiming the true faith and branding the others as heretics. The Shiites acknowledge as their leaders the direct descendants of Ali, Mohammed's son-in-law, consider these imams incorruptible, infallible and immortal; since the disappearance of the last known successor of the house of Ali in 878, the Shiites wait for the "Hidden Imam" to make his earthly return. The Sunnis, on the other hand, refuse to accept...

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