Long-suppressed Shias shape new Iraq

Persecuted by Saddam Hussein, Iraq's Shia population is increasingly influencing the political and religious landscape.

    Iraq's long-suppressed Shia majority is in the ascendancy.

    Thousands of pilgrims flocked to a Baghdad shrine this week in a vibrant expression of religious identity that would not have been tolerated under the ruler of former dictator Saddam Hussein.

    Iraq is also the first country in the Arab world to be ruled by Shias, with Shia parties now shaping the country's political landscape.

    But Shia nationalism is also playing a role in continued opposition to the presence of American troops in the country - with Moqtada al-Sadr, a key Shia leader, putting pressure on Iraqi leaders by threatening to re-activate his militia unless the US completes its withdrawal.

    Al Jazeera's Rawya Rageh reports from Baghdad as part of our Iraq's Challenge series.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.