How the Sunni Shi’i Divide Arose – John McHugo



Time: 7.30 pm
Location: Hashomer House, 37a Broadhurst Gardens, NW6 3QT

̶  and why it does not need to be toxic, despite what many people say…

Meretz UK is delighted to have John McHugo speaking about this fascinating and timely topic. McHugo recently published A Concise History of Sunnis and Shi’is and previously gave us an excellent and stimulating talk on current events in Syria, drawing on his book Syria: A Recent History (Saqi Books). He describes the themes of his latest book well in the magazine, Diplomat.

  • Please note – incorrect address given in CNJ ad! You can find the right addreJohn-McHugo (1)ss, Hashomer House, above
  • Contributions of £5 and refreshments served
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John McHugo is an international lawyer and Arabic linguist, with over forty years’ experience of the region. He earned a BA in Oriental Studies from Oxford University, an MA in Arabic Studies from the American University in Cairo and an MLitt in medieval Sufi thought from Oxford University. He has worked as a lawyer in several Arab countries, notably Egypt, Bahrain and Oman. A board member of the Council for Arab British Understanding and of the British Egyptian Society, John McHugo is also chair of the Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine. He lives in London.


The 1400-year-old schism between Sunnis and Shi‘is has rarely been as toxic as it is today, feeding wars and communal strife in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and many other countries, with tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran escalating. …The rivalry between the empires of the Sunni Ottomans and Shi‘i Safavids contrived to ensure that the split would continue into modern times. Now its full, destructive force has been brought out by the struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran for the soul of the Muslim world.

Definitive and insightful, A Concise History of Sunnis and Shi‘is is an essential guide to understanding the genesis, development and manipulation of the great schism that has come to define Islam and the Muslim world.

  • ‘In lucid and accessible prose, John McHugo shows that there is nothing inevitable about the so-called Sunni-Shi’i divide.’ Madawi Al-Rasheed, author of A History of Saudi Arabia.
  • ‘Good judgement in balancing the various accounts… over 1400 years of Islamic history, and a great clarity of expression.’ Moojan Momen, author of Shi‘i Islam: A Beginner’s Guide