Gotta have a scorecard so's ya can tell the players... Shiite and Sunni: What are the differences? 15 Jan.`12 - Sectarian tensions are flaring in Iraq with the suicide bombing of a Shiite religious procession Saturday that killed at least 53 people and a ruling by an Iraqi court today that the country's Sunni vice president must stand trial in the capital. The procession was commemorating Arbaeen, one of the major holidays in the Shiite calendar. The festival comes at a time of stridently sectarian politics in Iraq, with the Shiite-led government of Nouri al-Maliki at loggerheads with the Sunni-backed minority in the parliament. We take a look at the differences – and similarities – between Sunni and Shiite below.