Today there isn’t a paper, magazine or news broadcast that we hear or read that does not state something about the Middle East and the conflict that is occurring. I questioned numerous times what was really going on over there. Most, if not all of my perception, was governed by these sources. When living in Denmark I attended a language school for 9 months and made friends with a number of individuals from the Middle East. Kurds, Iraqis, Iranians, they were all interesting people that had some unbelievable stories. I came to know them very well and was always taken aback by their honesty and hospitality. This personal contact confused my understanding of the situation. I wondered how could this area be in such turmoil after knowing such wonderful people?
After reading The Shia Revival by Vali Nasr much of what I understood about the people and this area has taken on a new light. This book is exceptionally well written and goes to explain in depth the Shiism and Shia-Sunni conflicts. This book provides the understanding of the political and theological struggles within Islam. You will not view the Middle East in your pre-defined terms again.