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Making Sense of Iranian Society, Culture, and Business by Hamid Yeganeh

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Chapter 5

The Distinctive Features of Iranian Shia

Shia and Sunni Muslims

Historically, religion has a special place in the Iranian society. Ancient Iran was the birthplace of Zoroastrianism, which is believed to have influenced Judaism, Christianity, and by extension, Islam. Currently, around 90 percent of the Iranians are Shia Muslims, but there are many other religious groups in the country including Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, and Baha’is. The Constitution of Iran recognizes Shia Islam as the official religion of the country. Sunni Muslims represent only about 6 to 8 percent of the Iranian population.1 A majority of Kurds, Baluchis, and Turkmens, and a minority of Arab ethnicities are Sunnis. In addition to Iran, Shia Muslims live ...

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