May 27, 2004

SHIITE MUSLIM CONVENTION SUPPORTS COALITION, urges tougher action against Al Sadr:

American Shia Muslims claim two million adherents in the United States and Canada, mainly drawn from India, Pakistan, Iran, and Iraq, with a sprinkling from Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, East Africa, and the Balkans. Iraqi Shias are concentrated in Dearborn, Michigan, and Los Angeles and are expected to be well-represented at the gathering this weekend.

The first such convention, held in the nation’s capital last year with 3,000 delegates, featured a surprising banquet speaker: deputy Defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz. While this year’s banquet program had not been fixed by Thursday afternoon, UMAA media representative Agha Shawkat Jafri said the delegates have received hundreds of calls from Iraqi Shias expressing hope that the convention can draw the attention of the Pentagon to their concerns, which are centered on the need for forcible action against rebel Shia leader Moktada al-Sadr.

Read the whole thing, which is quite interesting.