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While international observers fixate on the Sunni-Shiite rivalry's role in shaping geopolitics in the Islamic world, deep fissures within the Sunni arc that stretches from the Maghreb-Sahel region of North Africa to the Afghanistan-Pakistan belt are increasingly apparent. Moreover, it is Sunni communities that produce the transnational jihadis who have become a potent threat to secular, democratic states near and far. What is driving this fragmentation and radicalization within the ranks of Sunni Islam, and how can it be managed?The largest acts of international terror, including the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., and the 2008 Mumbai attack, were carried out by brutal transnational Sunni organizations (Al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba, respectively).The Sunni militant group Boko Haram, known globally for abducting 276 schoolgirls in April and forcing them to marry its members, has been wreaking havoc in Nigeria for years. Such conflicts are spurring the militarization of Sunni states.Today, federalism can allow for the orderly management of key Sunni countries, where a unitary state simply is not practical.It is time for the Sunni world to recognize the need for a federalist approach to manage the instability and conflict that plagues it.
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