Iran (MNN) — The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Taliban in Afghanistan represent two very different branches of thought in Islam: Shi’ite and Sunni. As the Sunni Taliban has seized control of Afghanistan, many Shi’ite Muslims have fled the country.
Dr. Hormoz Shariat with Iran Alive Ministries says, “The history of their conflict is long. In Iran, for example, Sunnis do not have the right to have any mosques. But in Sunni countries like Afghanistan, Shi’ite Muslims are in danger.”
Sunni and Shi’ite
Hormoz Shariat with Iran Alive explains the differences between these schools of thought. “Shi’ite Islam is more shallow, I would say, but the more emotional type of Islam. And Sunni is deeper but more mental. There’s less emotion. But basic beliefs are the same.”
This sets up a potentially tense political situation between Afghanistan and Iran. “The Taliban and the Islamic Republic of Iran, I can say they’re afraid of each other. They are trying not to get into any conflict with each other because of the fear.”
Shariat says Iran would love to gain political influence in Afghanistan. But right now, many other projects and internal problems have stretched their resources too thin.
Christians in Afghanistan and Iran
Iran Alive broadcasts Christian television into both Iran and Afghanistan. Pray for the safety of Christians and the growth of churches in these countries.
Shariat says, “The people of Afghanistan, for the majority, still believe in Islam. But the majority of Iranian Muslims don’t believe in Islam. So it makes it easier for Christians in Iran, except that the government of Iran is after them. In Afghanistan, not only will the Taliban be after Christians, but many of the Afghans will turn the Christians in. Christians in Afghanistan feel very much in danger right now.”
The header photo shows the shrine of Imam Ali Reda in Mashad, Iran. (Photo courtesy of Iahsan at the English-language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>, via Wikimedia Commons)