Sunni, Shi'ite heads make accord to ease tension

Sunni and Shiite clerics agreed Saturday to prohibit killing members of the two sects and banning attacks on each other's mosques in an effort to ease tension between Iraq's Muslim communities following sectarian violence after the bombing of a Shiite shrine. The agreement was made during a meeting between representatives of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, Shiite religious leader Jawad al-Khalisi and members of the influential Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars at the Abu Hanifa Mosque, a Sunni place of worship. A statement read by association member Abdul-Salam al-Kubaisi condemned attacks on holy places and "those who tried through the media to incite sectarian strife and civil war." The clerics also agreed to prohibit killings of Sunnis and Shiites as well as attacks on mosques and shrines. In Saturday's statement, the groups blamed "occupiers for what is happening in Iraq whether it has to do with sectarian tension or terrorism." "We demand that the occupiers leave or set a timetable for the withdrawal," the statement added.