View Full Version : Mapping the Shia

08-05-2012, 06:56 PM
Moderator's Note

This post appeared in the thread on the South China Sea and China thread, but warrants it's own thread (ends).

China has to placate the Shia (namely Iran) and Syria is under the Shia regime.

It helps China to play along with the Shia countries (of course, without upsetting the Sunnis) so that there is a continuous belt of influence from West Afghanistan to Eastern Saudi Arabia (where I believe most of the oil lies).

Shia Muslims are in the demographic majority in four countries: Iran, Azerbaijan, Iraq, and Bahrain. The government of Bahrain is headed by a Sunni, an inversion of the Syrian situation. I am not an area expert, but my impression is that notions of Shia influence tend to be undertheorized when noted at all. Some things to take into account would include:

Percentage of all Muslims whom are Shia (I don’t know that a consensus exists, but you’ll often see figures somewhere in the range of 10%–20%).
Percentage of (a) national population(s) made up of Shia Muslims.
Number of Shia Muslims within a national population (there are roughly as many Shia Muslims residing in India as in Iraq, for example).
Whether a national government can reasonably be said to be Shia-dominated.

It would probably also be worthwhile to formulate some bullet points at the sub-national level and to note their potential for interaction with national demographics and governance. Like I said, I am no area or subject matter expert here, so take it for what it’s worth.

08-06-2012, 09:25 AM
This thread is prompted by Ganulv's post, which will appear first when it is moved here.

I think it deserves it's own, maybe short-lived post - as geographers and regional, if not religious experts are none too plentiful here. He highlights a strategic requirement that has eluded wider notice IMHO.

As a starter Wikipedia has some maps and a table on the Shia:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shia_Islam

I was curious to learn Tanzania has a minority of Shia, but none listed in Kenya.

For the Middle East, a more detailed map (small scale):http://gulf2000.columbia.edu/images/maps/ShiasReligionCore_sm.jpg

08-06-2012, 09:38 PM
I was curious to learn Tanzania has a minority of Shia, but none listed in Kenya.

The historical trade routes between Gujarat and Zanzibar may be the why of the Shia presence in Tanzania. I could be wrong about that, of course.