Religious conflicts in Yemen

Religious conflicts in Yemen

BBC News               World Fact book- CIA

The BBC news article “How Yemen’s capital Sanaa was seized by Houthi rebels” is related to religion and worldviews through the use of conflict. The rebels are a group called the Shia Houthi Movement which has been in conflict with the Yemen government for a long time; the article states that they “have fought six wars with the government in the province since 2004”. The most recent conflict lasted for four days of heavy fighting around a military base which concluded in the military standing down and allowing the government institutions to be captured without a shot fired.

The World Fact Book shows that the Yemen population is divided into two Muslim groups, the Shia (35%) and the Sunni (65%). There are also Jewish, Bahai, Hindu, and Christians that comprise of the last 0.9% of the population. The population demographic is also useful in that it shows the percentage of the population in age, there is an estimated 62.8% of the country’s population under the age of 24 and 41.7% under 14 years old. The glaring difference of the 6.3% living past 55 years old is indicating that the country is classed as being underdeveloped or that there is constant conflict within its borders that could cause the large difference in age ranges or disease could also affect the statistics.

The rebel forces are part of the Shia religious sect and the governing body is predominantly the Sunni which is inferred by the article by “the Houthi fighters have indicated they want a strong hand in future government without ruling directly.” This could be interpreted as repression of similar religious sects within a society which the Shia ‘rebels’ are the minority in the population. The Shia leader has also stated “his men would join the army to defeat the countries notorious al-Qaeda insurgency and stay until the military is strong enough to maintain security.”

The statement from the Houthi fighters shows that there is a disparity between the governing representatives of both the Muslim religions in the country. This disparity could also be a class structuring of country that could be a misrepresentation of the Shia in the representatives of the government or a form of persecution of the minority which is approximately one third of the population. The religious differences could also be viewed as a cause of the conflict and the two Muslim sects have been reported in many news articles to be at constant odds with each other throughout the world.

The conflict in my opinion may have been resolved without bloodshed, but the article does not go into very many specifics of the ideologies and circumstances that generated the conflict in the first place which would require more research into the history of the specific country for more details.

Personal identifier: MK

Course identifier: #200


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