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Differences between Kurds and Shiites

Differences between Kurds and Shiites

Kurds and Shiites are two of the main groups in the Middle East, and they have many differences. The Kurds are Sunnis, while the Shiites are mostly followers of Shia Islam. The Kurds were traditionally nomadic herders, while Shiites tended to be farmers. There are also linguistic differences between the two groups; Kurds speak Kurdish, while Shiites typically speak Arabic or Persian. Finally, there is a long history of conflict between these groups. Sunni Arabs have often persecuted Shiites and vice versa.

What are Kurds?

Kurds are an ethnic group native to the Middle East who share a common language and culture. Kurds make up the majority of the population in several countries, including Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Kurds have often been persecuted by their governments and have experienced violence and discrimination. In recent years, Kurds have played a significant role in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Kurds have also been active in the struggle for greater autonomy and self-determination within Turkey.

What are Shiites?

Shiites are members of a branch of Islam that Shi’a Muslims believe to be the correct interpretation of the Islamic faith. Shiites account for approximately 10-15% of all Muslims, and they are the majority population in Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, and Bahrain.

  • Shiites believe that Ali ibn Abi Talib, the cousin, and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, was the rightful successor to Muhammad’s political and religious leadership.
  • This Shi’a belief is based on Muhammad’s statement, made on his deathbed, that “Ali is the mawla (master) of all those for whom I am mawla.” Shiites also differ from other Muslims in their beliefs about the imams who succeeded Ali. Shiites believe that there were 12 imams who were chosen by God to lead the Muslim community after the Prophet Muhammad’s death.
  • The last of these imams are believed to have been hidden by God and will return at the end of time as the “Messiah” or “Mahdi.” Shiites have a strong tradition of martyrdom and often refer to themselves as “shit” (sufferers).

This is due to their history of being persecuted for their beliefs by Sunni Muslim rulers. Shiite Muslims are found primarily in Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, and Lebanon. There are also significant Shiite populations in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Syria, Yemen, and East Africa.

Differences between Kurds and Shiites

  • Kurds and Shiites are two of the largest Muslim groups in the world. Both groups have a long history, and they share many cultural and religious traditions. However, there are also significant differences between Kurds and Shiites.
  • The most notable difference is that Kurds are Sunni Muslims, while Shiites are Shia Muslims. This means that Kurds follow the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, while Shiites follow the teachings of Ali, the Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law.
  • Kurds also tend to be more culturally conservative than Shiites, and they often live in rural areas. In contrast, Shiites are generally more educated and urbanized. They also have a strong presence in the political and economic affairs of their countries. Despite these differences, Kurds and Shiites have coexisted peacefully for centuries, and they continue to play an important role in the Muslim world today.


The differences between Kurds and Shiites are important to understand in order to create a more peaceful Iraq. It is hoped that by understanding these differences, both sides can work together to build a brighter future for all Iraqis.

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