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Extremists. Refers to those Shii groups critical in opposition to the centrist tendencies of Islamic doctrine and government during the first few centuries of Islam. Their speculations concerning the elevated status of Ali and subsequent Shii imams were rejected by Sunnis. As Shii groups within Islam developed into orthodoxies, they also condemned these early “exaggerators,” although some of their doctrines were adopted. The term is used of several historical and contemporary Shii sects, such as the Bektashis (Turkey), Qizilbash (Turkey), Ali-Ilahis (Iran), and Nusayris or Alawis (Syria and Lebanon).

Subjects: Islam.

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