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In This Part of India, Sunnis and Shiites Show the World a Different Way to Pray

By: for on Sept. 19, 2016
News Briefs
Photo Credits: Aktar Ali

Muslims and Sikhs greet each other after congregational prayers between Sunni and Shiites to mark Eid al-Adha on Sept. 13, 2016. Photo courtesy Akhtar Ali.

LUCKNOW, India (RNS) At Eid al-Adha prayers last week, several hundred Shiite and Sunni Muslims offered joint prayers as a show of peace between two Muslim sects often better known for their bitter conflicts.

The prayer took place in a Shiite shrine but was led by a Sunni imam as part of an initiative by a volunteer group called Shoulder to Shoulder.

“In Uttar Pradesh, sectarian tensions surfaced occasionally between the two sects,” said Arif Durrani, a member of Shoulder to Shoulder. “We came up with this idea of joint Shia-Sunni congregational prayer.”

Around 85 percent of world’s Muslims are Sunni and about 15 percent are Shiite. The groups rarely pray together.

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