My trusty cameraman Eric Hinojosa and I went out into the New York City world last weekend to see what Americans knew about the Middle East. The point was to get a general overview about what Americans might know about certain subjects dealing with the region.
Questions and Answers:
1) What is the difference between a Sunni and Shiite Muslim?
A: Muslims are split into two main branches, the Sunnis and Shias. The split originates in a dispute soon after the death of the Prophet Muhammad over who should lead the Muslim community. The clashing in the region currently is due more to socio-economics and political representation than religious beliefs.
2) Do you know who Bashar al-Assad is?
A: Bashar al-Assad is the current president of Syria.
3) Which religion is older, Islam or Christianity?
A: Christianity (1st century); Islam (7th century)
4) Which country does the group Hezbollah operate out of?
5) What language do Iranians speak?
6) What does the I-S-I-S in ISIS stand for?
A: Islamic State of Iraq and Syria; ISIL= Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (translated from the acronym Daesh in Arabic)
7) Is the hijab a concept which comes from the Quran?
A: It is not explicitly stated in the Quran. Verses 30-31 and verse number 59 in Surah 24 all point to modesty between the sexes. The hijab has been interpreted over time.