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Iraqi PM Points To Sunni-Shi'ite Cooperation

2 September 2005 -- Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Ja'afari said today that the reaction to a stampede earlier this week that left nearly 1,000 people dead demonstrates that Iraq's Sunni and Shi'ite communities "complement each other."

Many Shi'ites blamed Sunnis for spreading a false rumor of a suicide bomber during a Shi'ite pilgrimage in Baghdad on 31 August that resulted in the stampede. But al-Ja'afari listed examples where Sunnis tried to help Shi'ites, sometimes at the cost of their own lives, following the incident.

Al-Ja'afari, a Shi'ite, told Al-Iraqiya state television that Sunnis and Shi'ites "will continue to be two communities that complement each other and respect each other."

Earlier today, Shi'ites rallied in the southern city of Al-Basrah in a sign of support of a draft constitution due to be put to a referendum next month.

The march was called by a powerful Shi'ite group, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq.