Membership, Community, Diversity

Do Sunni and Shi’a Muslims worship in separate mosques?

That depends on a host of other social and political circumstances. In many places where Muslims are a small minority of the regional population, there are very few mosques. Most of them serve Muslims from all over the world without inquiring as to whether new members are Sunni or Shi’ite. Shi’a Muslims who attend a predominantly Sunni mosque may discover that some themes they were accustomed to hearing in sermons, for example, are no longer so prominent. In some areas of countries like the United States, where there are growing numbers of immigrant and indigenous Muslims—people with ties to Iran or Iraq, for example—there might be sufficient numbers to begin plans for a Shi’a mosque. The motivation for doing so more than likely will have a great deal to do with ties to a country of origin as well as a desire for a kind of spirituality more in keeping with distinctively Shi’a interpretations of history and emphasis on the redemptive suffering of the Imams.


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