Shiite Continues to Happen

Dearborn Diner
Vandalized diner in Dearborn. NYT (Fabrizio Costantini)

The Shiite and Sunni communities of Dearborn, Michigan (home to 30,000 Arab Americans) aren’t getting along.

The New York Times reports that the town’s commercial artery Warren Avenue has now seen at least a dozen of its businesses vandalized because of sectarian tension.

Strained relations between the two groups have been more marked lately–in what appears to be a carry-over from the on-going violence in Iraq.

But such discontent is not reserved to the hookah bars of Dearborn, as Shiite college students report feeling left out and even “formally barred” from Sunni-dominated campus student groups.

“A microcosm of what is happening in Iraq happened in New Jersey because people couldn’t put aside their differences,” says Sami Elmansoury, a Sunni and former head of an Islamic student association at Rutgers.

And Azmat Khan, a student at the University of Michigan, talks about the what it means to be a Shiite American on campus today (“To some extent, the minute you identify yourself as a Shiite, it outs you. You feel marginalized.”).

Go here to read the whole article (and let us know what you think).

February 5, 2007
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