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Home NATIONALPolice to discuss Sunni-Shiite issues with Helsinki imams today
Mon, 15 Sep, 2014 12:08:44 AM
FTimes-STT Report, Sept 15
Finland Islamic Council Vice Chairman Anas Hajjar. Photo – Lehtikuva.
The Helsinki police are scheduled to hold a meeting on Monday with imams of the city mosques and representatives of various Islamic associations.
The discussion is expected to focus on the relationship between the two major Islamic sects, the Sunnis and the Shiite, police sources said.
The talks are aimed at establishing whether there has been an increased friction between the two sects due to the war in Syria.
The interior ministry warned in a report on extremism that there are indications albeit weak of a confrontation between Sunnis and Shiites in the country, which, at its worst, could even lead to violence between the sects.
Other issues affecting the Muslim community will also be discussed.
Anas Hajjar, chair of the Islamic Council of Finland, and Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila, a researcher of Islam, both do not feel that the long and bloody civil war in Syria and rise of the Islamic State, formerly known as Isis, have had a significant effect on the relationship between Sunnis and Shiites in the country.
Hajjar is not aware of any Sunni-Shiite crimes that have come to light. Hajjar however points out that there has been spread of hearsay expressed in the social media. 
Hajjar also points to the political debate in Syria with arguments coming from both sides. Other than this, Hajjar says, he has not noticed any widening rift.
To Hämeen-Anttila, the interior ministry’s report seems exaggerated. He does not believe that there is an increased friction between the two sects.
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