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Differences Between the Kurds and the Sunni

Kurds vs Sunni

Kurds, or Kurdish people, are an ethnic group of people living mainly in the Middle East and are a minority in many different parts of the world. Sunni refers to the Islamic subdivision to which people of different ethnicities and different countries subscribe to. Sunni is an Islamic subdivision, and Kurds are Kurdish people who subscribe to Sunni as well as Shia Islam.


Sunnis are also called Sunni Muslims and Sunnites. Islam’s largest branch is Sunni Islam. It is considered to be the orthodox version of Islam. It originates from an Arabic word “Sunnah.” “Sunnah” is an Arabic word which refers to the actions and sayings of Prophet Muhammad which are recorded and written in a narrative collection regarding the prophet called “hadith.”

All the methodologies of Sunni Islam are based on a conjunction of the Quran and the hadith collection. The laws followed in Sunni Islam are basically derived from both the Quran and the hadith collection. Laws are also derived from juristic reasoning called “giyas” and consensus like “ijima.” All the laws are followed as per four different schools of opinions called Madh’hab, or the laws are derived by expert scholars who independently derive the meanings of the laws and exercise them called “ijtihad.”

Sunnis are distributed all over the world; they are not an ethnic group. Sunni Islam is followed by people of many different ethnic groups, one of them being the Kurds. The difference can be easily explained by saying in simple words that Sunni is a branch of a religion whereas Kurds are people who may or may not follow this religion.


Kurdish people are called Kurds. They speak the Kurdish language. Along with Kurdish they also speak two or more languages depending upon the nation and region they live in like Persian, Turkish, Arabic, and Aramaic. Kurds are distributed mostly in the Kurdistan region which includes Turkey, Iran, parts of Iraq, and Syria. The diaspora population is also distributed in European countries, Russia, Georgia, Armenia, U.S., Israel, Lebanon, and Azerbaijan. They are the fourth largest ethnic community in the Middle East.

Kurds subscribe mainly to Sunni Islam. There are minority populations of Kurds who subscribe to other religions also. Some Kurds are Christians, some are Jews, and some subscribe to Shia Islam. Kurds who follow Shia Islam live in Southeastern Iraq and central Iraq. They are called Fayi Kurds. Shia Kurds living in Turkey, Sivas, and Tunceli are called Alevis.


  1. The main differences between the Sunni and Kurds is that the Sunnis are people who follow Sunni Islam which is a branch of Islam. Whereas Kurds are an ethnic group of people who may or may not follow Sunni Islam.
  2. Sunnis are distributed all over the world. They do not live in a certain region of the world or speak a particular language. They speak the language of the nation they live in. Kurds are distributed mainly in certain regions of the world, and the diaspora population is found in many countries but not throughout the world.

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