P. 17, DIVERSITY OF IRAQIS:
Of course, the more conscious of the townsmen thought themselves as part of the realm of Islam, and Islam's ideals, though denuded of much of their old vigor, tended to rescue them to some extent from their localism and associate them with their brother Muslims within and beyond the confines of the Ottoman Empire. But Islam in Iraq was more a force of division rather than of integration. It split deeply Sunni and Shi'i Arabs, socially they seldom mixed, and as a rule they did not intermarry. To the strict Shi'is, the government of the day - the government of the Ottoman Sultan that led Sunni Islam - was, in essence, a usurpation. In their eyes, it had not the qualification to even execute the laws of Islam. They were, therefore, estranged from it, few caring to serve it or attend its schools.Of course, today things are much different, mostly thanks to the pseudo-secular period of modern-day ideologies such as Pan-Arabism and Communism, there is social intermingling and intermarriage, although today, with the full-force resurgence of old Islamic models and the hostilities along it, it seems the problems are largely the same, except they got perhaps a little uglier with all that sly decades-long maneuvering, marriages are being broken apart and friends are re-examining their relationships. Let's hope for the next episode.