the shia crescent…

“…is a geo-political term used to describe a region of the Middle East where the majority population is Shi’a, or where there is a strong Shi’a minority in the population…. The nations where Shi’a Muslims form a dominant majority are Azerbaijan, Iran, Bahrain and Iraq, a plurality in Lebanon and large minorities in Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, India, UAE, and Syria. The shape of these countries put together does in fact resemble a crescent moon or a half moon.” [source]

here’s a map:

looks to me like this crescent coincides pretty well with the extent of the arab y-chromosome haplotype (the j y-chromosome haplotype). i ‘shopped (in red) the shia crescent onto this map:

and here’s the distribution of the j1 y-chromosome haplotype w/shia crescent:

and here’s the distribution of the j2 y-chromosome haplotype w/shia crescent:

coinkidink? don’t think so.

previously: baharnas and ajams and howalas, oh my! and tribalism makes a comeback!

update 03/03: meng bomin worked a little of his cartographical magic and came up with a couple of neat maps showing how|how much the j2 haplotype corresponds to where the wild shi’as are. here’s what he did:

j2 haplotype map + this muslim distribution map = meng’s map number 1
j2 haplotype map + this mid-east religions map = meng’s map number 2

awesomesauce!

thnx, meng! (^_^)

(note: comments do not require an email.)

19 Comments

  1. That +70% j1 region looks like the range of the Zaidi, who are “fiver” Shi’a. Otherwise, I’d be wary about taking the Shi’a crescent in the map too literally. Most Iranians throughout the country are Shi’a (rather than the thin sliver shown) Bahrainis are mostly Shi’a, but are only a small minority in neighboring Qatar, which happens to fall within the area of the drawn crescent. As well, the crescent’s path through Iraq seems to trace many of the areas that are precisely not Shi’a majority (which is in the southeast of the country…the Kurds in the north are mostly Sunni).

    Here’s a map that does a decent job of showing where the breakdown lies:

    It’s not a very smooth crescent.

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  2. @meng – “I’d be wary about taking the Shi’a crescent in the map too literally.”

    absolutely — and i didn’t mean to leave the impression that i took it literally (if that’s what i did).

    what’s interesting is that the crescent is a sort-of border between high- vs. low-shia nations (with yemen being some sort of outlier). and that there is a similar border in practically the same area between a particular “arab” y haplotype and areas where its frequency is much lower (with, again, yemen being some sort of outlier).

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  3. Alright, this isn’t perfect (it just so happened that the Sunni-Shi’a map I posted was a different projection than the haplogroup map, so I had to do a little stretch to mitigate the problem, but it’s not a complete fix), but here’s the Shi’a majority areas superimposed on the J2 haplogroup map:

    Personally, this exercise has convinced me that the Zaidi are the true descendants of Abraham and thus closest to the truth. Clearly Zaid ibn Ali was the fifth and final imam. Better start making my way towards northern Yemen…

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  4. @meng – “here’s the Shi’a majority areas superimposed on the J2 haplogroup map”

    NEATO! (^_^) i luv maps!

    so, well, yeah — i guess there’s a rather large-ish clump of places-with-shias that also have the j2 haplotype at a frequency of 20%+, but the real difference seems to be simply (“simply”) arabs vs. persians/iranians, no? (plus there’s that other big clump of afghanis … and those troublesome yemenis, of course.) hmmmmm.

    @meng – “Personally, this exercise has convinced me that the Zaidi are the true descendants of Abraham and thus closest to the truth. Clearly Zaid ibn Ali was the fifth and final imam. Better start making my way towards northern Yemen…”

    hallelujah! or, allah be praised. or whatever is most appropriate in this sitch. (~_^)

    Reply

  5. so, well, yeah — i guess there’s a rather large-ish clump of places-with-shias that also have the j2 haplotype at a frequency of 20%+, but the real difference seems to be simply (“simply”) arabs vs. persians/iranians, no? (plus there’s that other big clump of afghanis … and those troublesome yemenis, of course.) hmmmmm.
    Well,it certainly seems like there’s a lot of sectionalism. You have the Alevis in Turkey,

    The big area in Afghanistan = Hazaras = Persian speakers:

    From what I understand most of the Shi’a in Lebanon and Iraq are pretty standard Twelvers and they make up a plurality and a majority of the populations in their respective (Arabic-speaking countries.

    The Azeris, who have an even bigger population in Iran than in Azerbaijan (pretty sure Mir Hossein Mousavi is Azeri) are Turkic-speaking.

    Kurdish is an Iranian language, but they’re mostly Sunni.

    And of course, the Zaidis barely count as Shi’a having ditched the imam train at five.

    There are a bunch of other groups and sects (the Ismailis, for instance, are Seveners).

    hallelujah! or, allah be praised. or whatever is most appropriate in this sitch. (~_^)

    It’s probably الحمد لله (al-hamdu lillah), but who knows? Northern Yemen’s a wild, wild place.

    Reply

  6. The Fertile Crescent seems to overlap you Shia Crescent. It also substantially reproduces the traditional migrations of Abraham’s family. There might be some meaning there, but it’s beyond me.

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  7. The large map is very nice. I did a similar grafting of the Shi’a areas onto the J2 map here:

    The projection differences were a bit greater, but I think I preserved Anatolia through Iran pretty well.

    Anyway, though the more detailed aspect of the religious map (including its featuring of significant minorities rather than just majorities) adds a good deal and makes a correlation between J2 and Shi’a groups to be more compelling, though I suspect that the J2 map is so smooth precisely because the data with regard to actual distribution is somewhat lacking.

    Of course it should be noted that the split between the two is prehistoric (and for those young Earth creationists out there, before the Earth existed). A significant minority of Jews carry each group and of course, J1 is much more heavily associated with Arabia. That means some ambiguity for Jews as to whether J1 or J2 would be associated with Abraham, but given that Ismail is considered the Biblical (and Qur’anic) progenitor to the Arabs, that seems to balance the scales in favor of an Abrahamic J1 group. That is, if Abraham really was the progenitor of those groups…

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  8. […] death, and indeed, differences—even fairly minor variations—of religious belief seems to have served as a way of establishing ethnic distinction and solidarity (also see here and here by Steve Sailer).  Both of these religions stress the importance […]

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  9. J2
    I’m not sure what you/the maps are implying – is it that J2 people spread Christianity or that J2 people moved into Christian areas?

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  10. None of those J2 maps provide any time scale or any info about the different clades of the haplogroup, which vary regionally. The estimates for the origin of J2 are the Neolithic and the subclades not long after that. Well before either of the religions talked about here.

    I think the maps merely show coincidence in human migrations and contact–early farmers migrated out of the middle east into other environents their crops would grow. Empires spread over similar climactic regions. Religions spread most easily over the same territory.

    Reply

  11. Interesting , I am J2A1b M67 … From the north of England . A long way from home . My maternal line is J* which is high in Iran yemen oman Saudi .. pretty shocked .

    Reply

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