Population: Muslim 97% (Shia 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%), Christian or other 3%
Islam and the state: Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq through the essentially secular Baath party. Islamic political expression not sanctioned by the state was severely suppressed. In the new Iraq, the majority Shia community is expecting to have a significant role in ruling the country.
Militant Islam: The US alleges that Ansar al-Islam, a group based in northern Iraq, is linked to al-Qaeda and is still active in Iraq. Some Shia groups have indicated that they may be willing to take up arms against the US and UK occupation. The US and UK coalition in Iraq say that Iraq has become a magnet for Islamic militants wanting to carry out attacks on their forces.