Hundreds of Iraqis and Iraqi-Americans held a street celebration in Dearborn, Mich., cheering the apparent fall of President Saddam Hussein, but some Arab-Americans stayed away.
........Dearborn, with the nation's highest concentration of Arab-Americans, also has many Arabs with roots in other countries. They were absent from today's demonstration â€” a sign that other groups were not so enthusiastic about the war to topple Mr. Hussein.
......Most of the celebrators today were Iraqi Shiites, and for them the war is personal. All seemed to have family members who had been killed by the Hussein government, which is dominated by Sunni Muslims, or relatives who had been tortured or taken away and never were heard from again. Much of the celebrating took place in front of the Karbalaa Islamic Center, a gathering place for Iraqi Shiites.
"His own people know what's going on," said Ali Al-Baaj, 35, from Basra. "Most of us have had a relative, a father or a mother, killed."
Mr. Al-Baaj said the government had killed his uncle, taken away six of his relatives and bombed his house. He pulled up his right sleeve to reveal a sizable scar.
Ahmed Shaker, 25, a cook from a town near Najaf who took the day off to celebrate, said of other Arabs: "They haven't seen what we've seen. They didn't have people executed or captured." He said his grandfather had been executed and two of his uncles taken by the secret police.
Hachem Al-Swaychet, a local businessman with seven brothers still in Basra, said he was upset today when two Palestinian women asked him why he was celebrating.
"No Palestinians, no Yemeni, no Lebanese, no one else connects with us," Mr. Al-Swaychet said, pointing across the street from the Karbalaa center to a line of shops with signs in Arabic and English.
"Tell the Arab people," he added, "why don't you celebrate with the Iraqis?"
Other Arab-Americans, at their places of business nearby, did not see today as one to celebrate.