Staff Reporter of the Sun
November 7, 2007
The rivalry and violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims isn't just limited to Iraq. It is increasingly found in one place presumed shut off from the influence of faraway sectarian politics: New York's state prisons.
In the last two decades, the state's Muslim inmates, who number 7,987, have been increasingly identifying as either Sunni or Shiite, a phenomenon that prison chaplains elsewhere say is most pronounced in New York. Shiite inmates, who make up less than 4% of the Muslims incarcerated here, have long reported religious persecution by the Sunni-dominated Muslim chaplaincy employed by the state. The Sunni-Shiite divide has played a role in at least one stabbing between inmates in 2004, e-mails by prison officials show.