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Saqi Books, a London-based independent publishing house, announced the publishing of A Concise History of Sunni and Shi’is by John McHugo , an author, historian, Arabic linguist and international lawyer.

The book Demystifies the current conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan and other Muslim countries and provides an essential guide to understanding the most important divide in the Muslim world by acclaimed historian of the Middle East

In this definitive account, John McHugo charts the history of Islam from the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad to the present day. He describes the conflicts that raged over the succession to the Prophet, how Sunnism and Shi‘ism evolved as different sects during the Abbasid caliphate, and how the rivalry between the empires of the Sunni Ottomans and Shi‘i Safavids ensured that the split would continue into the modern age. In recent decades, this centuries old divide has acquired a new toxicity resulting

The book was highly regarded by media. Asian Affairs described the book as “A valuable introduction to Arab history … Recommended for anyone wishing to learn more about the multifaceted history of the Arab world and its relevance to modern day events.

Geographical Magazine said: “Anyone with any interest in Middle Eastern history and politics must read Syria. There was a need for an accessible guide to the past century of history, which this admirably provides”.

John McHugo is an honorary Senior Fellow at the Centre for Syrian Studies at St Andrews, and a board member of the Council for Arab-British Understanding and the British Egyptian Society. He has also written on legal aspects of the Arab-Israeli dispute and advised Tim Farron, when he was leader of the Liberal Democrats, on Palestinian issues. Previous titles include A Concise History of the Arabs and Syria: A Recent History.