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Tensions rise in U.S. Muslim communities

Feb. 4, 2007 at 3:10 PM

DEARBORN, Mich., Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Tensions between Shiite and Sunni Muslims in Iraq are echoing in Dearborn, Mich., and other communities.

"The Shiites were very happy that they killed Saddam (Hussein), but the Sunnis were in tears," Aqeel Al-Tamimi, a Shiite Iraqi immigrant in Dearborn, told The New York Times. "These people look at us like we sold our country to America."

Dearborn's Shiite mosques have had their windows shattered twice recently, the newspaper reported. Members of the Shiite community blamed the Sunni Muslims.

"A microcosm of what is happening in Iraq happened in New Jersey because people couldn't put aside their differences," said Sami Elmansoury, a Sunni Muslim and former vice president of the Islamic Society at Rutgers University, where there have been major tensions between Muslim students.

Experts told the Times that the growing population as well as the Iraq war has contributed to the tension. Decades ago Sunnis and Shiites had to get along because the Muslim population was so small that most communities had one mosque. The Muslim population has grown in many communities, and many Muslim students don't meet someone from the other branch until they get to college, the newspaper said.

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