DEARBORN HEIGHTS — Dozens of Muslim leaders from both major branches of Islam called for unity Wednesday in the wake of several incidents of vandalism last weekend, which many Iraqis who are Shi’a Muslims believe was intended to intimidate them.

While the division between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims sometimes leads to conflict in other places in the world, the American Muslim community is generally unified. But concerns that the vandalism might threaten that equanimity in Metro Detroit spurred calls for the meeting. . .

The most pointed discussion occurred when some leaders said they found the unbridled exultation in the celebration of the execution of Saddam Hussein disrespectful and not in keeping with Muslim traditions — especially at the start of a major Muslim holiday. But people of Iraqi descent who are Shi’a Muslims in Metro Detroit have long, personal experiences with Saddam, and they had greeted his demise jubilantly.

“It was an interesting conversation,” said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council of American Islamic Relations-Michigan. “It was less to do about the actual vandalism than Sunni and Shi’a relations in general.”


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