A peace sign: Iraq's Sunnis joining Shiite pilgrims
After three years of violence, pilgrims return to Karbala's shrine.
By Jane Arraf | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
from the February 17, 2009 edition
BAGHDAD - Sheikh Mohammad al-Ethawi, resplendent in his gold-trimmed robe and white headdress, hands out oranges to Shiite pilgrims walking by a striped tent on the main route to the holy city of Karbala.
Sheikh Ethawi is Sunni. The Doura highway, where more than a million pilgrims – largely Shiite – are walking for the first time in three years, passes through what had been one of Baghdad's most violent neighborhoods. Their numbers and Ethawi's presence are a sign of the easing of sectarian tensions that almost ripped this country apart.