Hamid Almolhoda, deputy director of the Center for Rapprochement of Islamic Schools of Thought, wears the white turban of a Shi’ite Muslim cleric. His budget comes from the world’s only Shi’ite theocracy, the Iranian government, better known for bristling revolutionary rhetoric than for sunny public outreach. But Almolhoda’s message of brotherhood wouldn’t sound out of place at an ecumenical church breakfast.
His mission, approved at the highest levels of the Iranian government, is to convince the world’s Muslims that the increasingly violent divide between Sunnis and Shi’ites — on lurid display in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East — is no big deal, just a matter of minor theological differences.
“Let’s cooperate on what we have in common,” he says. “Regarding our differences of opinion, we can tolerate each other.”
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