As Sunni militants attempt to seize control of Iraq and Prime Minister Maliki's Shiite-led government tries to reassert its control, The Takeaway is taking a step back to look at the Sunni-Shia divide that has so inflamed the Middle East for generations.
The separation began over the prophet Muhammad's successor. While the conflict is many centuries old, the divides laid politically dormant for years, until the 1970s when Ayatollah Khomeini led a Shiite revolution to seize control of Iran.
The Al-Marayati family understands the divide on a personal level. Dr. Laila Al-Marayati, an OB-GYN physician, is Sunni. Her husband, Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, is from a Shiite family. And while Laila and Salam try to emphasize Muslim-American unity, the divide does come up, mostly in terms of community and family.