It’s often described as Islam’s civil war, the conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims—a split in Islam that goes back to the days after the death of the Prophet Muhammad and disagreements over who would lead the growing faith.

It’s reared its head many times from the conflict between the Ottoman and Safavids to today’s proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Extremists have brutally targeted Shia communities and many Sunnis in Iraq and Syria talk of being marginalised by what the US and Saudi Arabia fear will be a Shia crescent from Iran to Lebanon.

Discussing this will be writer and commentator Dilip Hiro and Muslim Chaplain and humanitarian Adam Kelwick, with Aaqil Ahmed, the former head of religion at the BBC and Channel 4.

About The Host

Aaqil Ahmed

Aaqil is the former Head of Religion and Ethics at the BBC and Channel 4, delivering many award-winning programmes, including The Life of Muhammad. He is also Professor of Media at Bolton University, Non-Executive Director of the Advertising Standards Authority and a consultant in Television production, communications and diversity.


About The Speakers

Dilip Hiro

Dilip Hiro is the author of more than thirty books, including After Empire: The Birth of a Multipolar World; Inside Central Asia; and most recently, Cold War in the Islamic World: Saudi Arabia, Iran and the Struggle for Supremacy.



Adam Kelwick

Adam Kelwick is a Muslim Chaplain from Liverpool. He often travels around the world to discover Islamic heritage and also engages in public speaking and charity work.