Despite all of the violence that has plagued Iraq over the last thirty years, there are signs of a peaceful society building. Takes this case of Sunnis welcoming thousands of Shi’ites into Samarra, the place the infamous mosque bombing in 2006.
About 5,000 Sunnis and Shiites attended a joint prayer Friday at Samarra’s Grand Mosque and chanted slogans denouncing sectarian violence. “Sunni and Shiite brothers, this homeland won’t be betrayed,” they said in unison.
Some pilgrims in Samarra described the security forces as overwhelmed by the crowds and marveled that there had been no attacks. Others fretted that the measures were preventing them from touring Samarra, where they heard that residents had set up welcoming tents for them to rest.
“I was very delighted by the pilgrimage; I found absolute safety,” said pilgrim Nabeel Haidari, 34, who came from Karbala.