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(photo credit: AP)
Sunni and Shi'ite leaders in the state of Michigan which has one of the largest Arab-American communities in the US signed a pact Thursday affirming their commitment to speak out against conflicts between the two Islamic sects.
The "Intra-Faith Code of Honor" is designed to decrease the likelihood of the sectarian tensions between Sunnis and Shi'ites in war-ravaged Iraq from occurring in the US. The Detroit-area is home to about 300,000 Arab-Americans, including many Iraqi immigrants.
About 30 leaders from both sects signed the code at the Islamic House of Wisdom in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn Heights, said Victor Ghalib Begg, chairman of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan.
"The meeting was to come together, particularly with all the rumors and speculation that there are problems," Begg said. "It's important that we celebrate our diversity and have a good system in place in case something does happen."
Under the code, local Muslim leaders from each sect have pledged not to say disparaging things about the other.
Detroit-area Shi'ites recently blamed Sunnis for vandalism at Shi'ite-affiliated mosques and businesses after the execution of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Muslim leaders in Southern California signed a similar version of the code in February.
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