Skip to main content

Sunnis fear spread of Shiite influence in Samarra

Residents and political representatives in the predominantly Sunni city of Samarra take issue with what they see as increased Shiite influence in the city.
Shi'ite volunteers in support of the Iraqi Army visit the Imam al-Askari shrine in Samarra July 12, 2014. Picture taken July 12, 2014. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani (IRAQPOLITICS UNREST - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS RELIGION MILITARY) - RTR3YDCJ

BAGHDAD — Some residents of the primarily Sunni city of Samarra have long felt anxious about a perceived rise in the number of Shiites there. These feelings were amplified recently when throngs of Shiite visitors crowded the streets to commemorate the martyrdom of the 10th imam, Ali al-Hadi (829-868).

Sami-al-Masoudi, a Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) leader, said April 2 that more than 1.5 million people came to Samarra during the observance. The strong Shiite presence during the occasion revived Sunni fears of Shiite dominance.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.