Backgrounder: S. Iraq, Home of the Shiites Today, we are hearing names of Iraqi cities such as Najaf and Karbala. To most American ears, they're exotic names for contemporary battlefields. But to Muslims, especially Shiite Muslims -- the predominant group in Iran and Southern Iraq -- these are names freighted with history. NPR's Robert Siegel visits about these place names with historian Shaul Bakhash of George Mason University.
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Backgrounder: S. Iraq, Home of the Shiites

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Backgrounder: S. Iraq, Home of the Shiites

Backgrounder: S. Iraq, Home of the Shiites

Backgrounder: S. Iraq, Home of the Shiites

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1202672/1202673" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Today, we are hearing names of Iraqi cities such as Najaf and Karbala. To most American ears, they're exotic names for contemporary battlefields. But to Muslims, especially Shiite Muslims — the predominant group in Iran and Southern Iraq — these are names freighted with history. NPR's Robert Siegel visits about these place names with historian Shaul Bakhash of George Mason University.