Concerned about a possible outbreak of sectarian violence in Michigan, Sunni and Shi’ite leaders worked today to repair their ties after Shi’ite-run mosques and businesses in Detroit were targeted over the weekend by men who may have been Sunni.

The Islamic Shura Council of Michigan, a Sunni coalition group based in Bloomfield Hills, said in a statement today that the incidents may have been hate crimes against Shi’ites.

“Islam does not condone vandalism or desecration of any house of worship,” said the council’s president Mouhib Ayas.

The vandals broke thick windows at several Iraqi Shi’ite-owned establishments along Warren Avenue in Detroit, close to the border with Dearborn.

The attacks came a week after Shi’ites and others celebrated on the day that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was executed. The celebrations, broadcast often on TV, upset some Sunni Muslims in metro Detroit.

The Iraqi Shi’ite owner of one restaurant said that he had received a threatening phone call from a man who cussed at him in Arabic and English before his establishment was vandalized, according to Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. . .

Walid spoke at a Shi’ite mosque late Monday to urge the two sects to be united.

“It’s important that Sunnis and Shi’ites come together,” Walid said.


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