This is the first book on the Arab Shi'a community, a group whose identity and relations to the rest of the Middle East cut to the heart of politics and society in the Arab and Muslim world. The Arab Shi'a represent a majority of the overall population along the Arab coast of the Persian Gulf and are the largest religious group in Leban. Historically there have been major tensions between the Shi'a and Sunni communities. This book, based on extensive field interviews, examines the nature of Shi'ite belief and community life, contemporary political and social problems, key grievances, and the nature of their relationship with the dominant Sunni state today as they seek a major voice in a new political order. Integration of the Shi'a is a key to orderly political evolution in the Gulf in the next century.
GRAHAM E. FULLER is Senior Political Analyst at RAND Corporation. REND RAHIM FRANCKE is Executive Director of the Iraq Foundation.