Islam in Yemen

Islam in Yemen

Islam was introduced into the region by Ali ibn Abu Talib in about 630 when Prophet Muhammad was still alive. It was during this period that the mosques in al Janad and the great mosque in San'a were built. Yemenis are divided into two principal Islamic religious groups: 50-55% Sunni and 42% [ [ Yemen Embassy in Canada] ] -47% [ [ Atlapedia] ] Shi'a. The denominations are as follows: 50-55% primarily of the Shafi'i and other orders of Sunni Islam. 40-45% of the Zaidi order of Shi'a Islam, 2-5% of the Ja'fari and Western Isma'ili orders of Shi'a Islam. The Sunnis are predominantly in the south and southeast. The Zaidis are predominantly in the north and northwest whilst the Jafaris are in the main centres of the North such as Sana'a and Ma'rib. There are mixed communities in the larger cities.

The Zaidis of the northern highlands dominated politics and cultural life in northern Yemen for centuries; with unification, and the addition of the south’s almost totally Shafi'i population, the numerical balance has shifted dramatically away from the Zaidis. Nevertheless, Zaidis are still overrepresented in the government and, in particular, in the former North Yemeni units within the armed forces. However, there are no reported incidents of violence or discrimination between the adherents of the two main orders of Islam, Zaidi and Shafa'i, in Yemen. Except for a small politically motivated clerical minority, religiously motivated violence is neither incited nor tolerated by the Islamic clergy. However, Wahhabi and Salafi influences from Saudi Arabia and anti-Shiite rhetoric from Iraqis who support Saddam, are causing clashes between the government and primarily Zaidi forces.


ee also

*Islam by country
*Religion in Yemen
*Freedom of religion in Yemen

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