Our Media

Via digby, a bit of pontificating and puffing, from Our Media:

Anonymous: You said that Mayor Giuliani aced the Sunni/Shia question. What event in history was he referring to when he said "and then of course there was a slaughter of Shiites in the early part of the history of Islam, and it has infected a lot of the history of Islam, which is really very unfortunate"

Chris Cillizza: I don't claim to be an expert on the history of the Sunni and Shia. In the coverage I watched following the debate, it appeared as though Giuliani was factually correct about the differences between the two groups. That was all I was referencing. And, from a political standpoint, I think Giuliani dodged a major bullet with that question. I wonder how many of the ten men on that stage last night could have come up with something approximating a right answer on that question.

Now, for all I know, Rudy did ace the question. I do not know the history of the Sunni/Shia split in detail. But the problem is Cilizza and Our Media pretend that they do. Thus, Cilizza claimed "Rudy aced it" when in fact, he has no idea if Rudy aced it. His clarification was most revealing however - Rudy dodged a major bullet even though, for all Cilizza knows, Rudy got the answer completely wrong.

This is what passes for political discourse in our country. We are doomed.

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  • Display: Sort:
    O...M...G... (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Michael Gass on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 12:44:06 AM EST
    Rudi's answer to the Shia/Sunni question would be like an agnostic answering a question on christianity:

    You know, in history, Christians did some bad things... but then they stopped...

    What a bunch of crock!!!!

    He's also urging folks to (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 01:05:05 AM EST
    remember Jesus and the "fallen woman" re Rudy's failed marriages and fracture relationship with his kids.

    We are being herded. (none / 0) (#1)
    by Lora on Sat Sep 29, 2007 at 11:22:23 PM EST
    You won't find just any candidate "acing" these questions!

    I guess if we are hippy grading he aced it (none / 0) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 04:11:36 AM EST
    That isn't exactly the no child left behind way to grade though freaky Repubs and even freakier Media!  Question and answer follows:

    MR. VANDEHEI: Mayor Giuliani, this question comes from Eric Taylor (sp) from California. He wants to know, what is the difference between a Sunni and a Shi'a Muslim?

    MR. GIULIANI: The difference is the descendant of Mohammed. The Sunnis believe that Mohammed's -- the caliphate should be selected, and the Shi'ites believe that it should be by descent. And then, of course, there was a slaughter of Shi'ites in the early part of the history of Islam, and it has infected a lot of the history of Islam, which is really very unfortunate.

    Per about.com though something a little more substantial that has to do with Muslim life TODAY!

    Shia Muslims believe that the Imam is sinless by nature, and that his authority is infallible as it comes directly from God. Therefore, Shia Muslims often venerate the Imams as saints and perform pilgrimages to their tombs and shrines in the hopes of divine intercession. Sunni Muslims counter that there is no basis in Islam for a hereditary privileged class of spiritual leaders, and certainly no basis for the veneration or intercession of saints. Sunni Muslims contend that leadership of the community is not a birthright, but a trust that is earned and which may be given or taken away by the people themselves.

    Shia Muslims also feel animosity towards some of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad, based on their positions and actions during the early years of discord about leadership in the community. Many of these companions (Abu Bakr, Umar, Aisha, etc.) have narrated traditions about the Prophet's life and spiritual practice. Shia Muslims reject these traditions (hadith) and do not base any of their religious practices on the testimony of these individuals. This naturally gives rise to some differences in religious practice between the two groups. These differences touch all detailed aspects of religious life: prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, etc.

    Sunni Muslims make up the majority (85%) of Muslims all over the world. Significant populations of Shia Muslims can be found in Iran and Iraq, and large minority communities in Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, and Lebanon.

    actually, mr. guliani (none / 0) (#5)
    by cpinva on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 06:48:38 AM EST
    did get one thing right in his response:

    The difference is the descendant of Mohammed.

    this is pretty much the source of the original split, which occured right after mohammed's death. there is nothing in the quoran which supports the shia position on this, or the inherent sainthood of imams either. as with the celibacy of priests, an item never mentioned in the new testament, it was made up years later, to provide support for an otherwise unsupportable position.

    this could explain the huge disparity in shia:sunni adherents; the sunni's believe in leadership by accomplishment, a merit based position. the shiites believe in a "divine right" leadership approach. this could also explain the historical failures of many of their leaders. if your leadership is god-given, it doesn't matter how much of an idiot you are. see: louis XVI, deposed "divine right" monarch of france.