Monday, September 12, 2005

Sunnis and Shi'ites

I keep saying that there isn't really a long-standing broadly felt existential hatred between Sunni and Shi'ite in Iraq, and here's more evidence:
"Abdul-Jabbar al-Dulaimi expressed his sympathy with survivors of the stampede in Baghdad that killed about 1,000 people last week in the most practical way possible – by going to the Abdul-Aziz mosque in the Sunni heartland town of Fallujah to donate blood.

"'With tearful eyes and broken hearts, we offer our heartfelt condolences to families of those martyred, whose souls have been elevated to God,' said al-Dulaimi, a 26-year-old Sunni who spoke of the suffering of those he called his 'Shia brothers'.

"Sunnis across Iraq have expressed similar sentiments following the August 31 tragedy in which a crowd of Shia pilgrims marking a holy day were panicked by fears a suicide bomber was in their midst. In the chaos, many were trampled to death on the bridge leading to the Shia shrine, while others were drowned after jumping into the river Tigris in desperation.

"In addition to the fatalities, about 800 people were injured – and mosque leaders in Fallujah, located only 50 kilometres from Baghdad, as well as the other Sunni areas rose to the challenge, calling on local people to help with blood donations or other services. At least four of Fallujah’s biggest mosques were transformed into ad hoc blood donation centres."


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