Sunni, Shiite clerics meet to ease tension

Shiite and Sunni clerics met Friday and agreed to further discussions and to work to discourage killings between the two sects, one of the participants said. The meeting between followers of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and members of the influential Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars was held in Baghdad's predominantly Shiite northern neighborhood of Kazimiyah, said Sheik Abdul-Hadi al-Darraji of al-Sadr's group. The meeting followed sectarian violence that left more 130 people dead since Wednesday's explosion that damaged a Shiite holy shrine in the central city of Samarra. Dozens of Sunni mosques were attacked after that. Al-Darraji said the two groups discussed the latest developments especially the attacks on the shrine and the mosques. Al-Darraji said al-Sadr's followers showed their readiness to protect Sunni mosques to prevent sectarian strife.