Does Al Qaeda consider itself Sunni or Shiite? The answer can be found here at ABC News' Brian Ross and & the Investigative Team site, along with seven other questions that will test your knowledge of Islam.
Inspired by Congressional Quarterly's Jeff Stein, the "two choice" quiz gets more difficult as you go along, but take it and post your results. I'm happy to say that I had the first seven questions correct but sadly botched the last one. (I honestly did not know the answer to that one. On the others I was fairly confident.)
Stein is of course the reporter who started asking high-level officials in Washington basic questions about Islam. After they failed miserably, Stein wrote about it. And now he's writing a book on the subject:
"Members of the intelligence committee, mind you, are paid $165,200 a year to know more than basic facts about our foes in the Middle East," commented Stein in his column, which was published on Congressional Quarterly's Web site in December.
"If you are a manager of a baseball team ... how can you manage the team if you didn't know the difference between the pitcher and the catcher?" remarks Stein.
The book's publisher, Hyperion editor Zareen Jaffery, noticed Stein's first articles and now considers the ignorance he exposed a key contributor to the ongoing problems in Iraq. "These issues go to the very basis of why our country is still there. If you don't put any effort into learning it, how do you expect us to get out?"
Although he is now well-known for his pop quizzes, Stein expects his second round of interviews to produce the same uninformed responses. "But now they're going to prepare for the interview?" we asked him. "If my showing up at the door will make them learn, it would be a huge capstone of my career."
I will be looking forward to this book, and we should all be grateful to reporters like Stein for asking questions that have huge implications for our nation. As Jimmy Carter said about the hostage-takers in Iran nearly 30 years ago, we can't always control people bent on hurting America abroad. But reporters can at least start to help us understand them.