Because not all Muslims are Arabs or Islamists, and some Arabs are Catholic or Protestant, it is sometimes difficult to understand reports out of or about the Middle East. It would seem that many journalists are themselves unclear about these matters.
Authoritative and influential international sources describe the Middle East as "the Arab World plus Iran, Israel, and Turkey." For "Arab World," read that group of nations whose first language is Arabic. The most frequently encountered mistake when discussing the Middle East is believing that the Iranians are Arabs. Iran was formerly Persia. Iranians are Persians; they speak Farsi.
It helps to keep in mind that the major divisions within Islam may be thought of as:
Sunni = Roman Catholics
Shi'a = Protestants
Wahabite = Puritans
A photograph in Crain's Detroit, shows Domino's Pizza opening in Saudi Arabia. Saudis are mostly Sunni.
Now, go read the New York Times with confidence!
Frank Versagi is the editor of Versagi Voice.