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Originally posted by Nygdan
The shia, from what I am starting to gather, are view as near, if not actual, apostates, they are thought to have scandalously corrupted the religion, and, apparently, many shia 'offshoots' are esoteric religions that revere other men as actual incarnations of God himself. So the Sunni view the Shia as a conspiracy to perverty and corrupt the pure monotheism of islam.
From what I gather, the Alawite sect, that of Bashar in Syria, are esoteric offshoots of a shia group (called 12ers, having 12 big imams (imam being equivalent to caliph, caliph equivalent to, well, not really anything in christianity, maybe more like Apostolic Succession, and perhaps then the Pope or Orthodox Patriarchs), beleive in incarnation of god, and that some of the Imams were indeed god made flesh. Also, apparently, the infamous Assasins (who still exist to this day in the levant) were another esoteric group that may have shot-off from shia'ism, and that they two had secret and strange beleifs.
Am I at all correct in understanding this, or at least approaching the truth?