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Qom, Najaf differ on approaches to tolerance

Because of their histories and approach toward politics, Qom and Najaf seminaries have different approaches toward tolerance of other religions and interpretations.

The Shiite seminaries (hawzas) are yet to become coherent social organizations, and we therefore do not see a unified image regarding religious tolerance in these institutions. As a result, any attempt to present a stereotypical view of religious tolerance in the hawza will be quite problematic.

We have different images of tolerance and intolerance in the two major Shiite hawzas of Qom and Najaf. The level of tolerance in these hawzas is dependent on three important elements: the social environment of the hawza, the structure of the political establishment in charge of the country and the attitude of the influential Marjas (religious authority) in each era of their existence.

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