Imams to Hold Special Meeting on Vandalism Incidents

January 9, 2007

Author: Gregg Krupa

Source: The Detroit News

DETROIT -- Imams from across Metro Detroit will meet Wednesday in Dearborn Heights to discuss a spate of vandalism in the Warrendale area. Many local Muslims who are originally from Iraq believe they may have been targeted.

While community leaders stress that until the perpetrators of the damage are identified and interviewed, it is unclear whether divided opinions in the Muslim and Arab communities over the execution of the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, or the war in Iraq generally, have led to the vandalism.

But it is clear that many Shi'a Muslims, who emigrated from Iraq to Metro Detroit in the early 1990s, during the Gulf War, believe they have been targeted because some in their community celebrated Saddam's hanging, despite criticism of the timing and conduct of the execution throughout the wider Arab and Muslim worlds and even among Europeans, President Bush and members of his administration.

Many Iraqi immigrants in Metro Detroit have been ardent supporters of the overthrow, arrest and execution of Saddam, in part because many had family members who were killed, tortured and imprisoned under his regime.