Not that celebrating Eid together is something new and doesn't happen in other regions of the world with significant Sunni and Shia population. The common Sunnis and Shias have generally lived along with each other for centuries. They shared cultures, languages, lifestyles, businesses, intermarriages, friendships, and common historical experiences. This is despite their differences and occasional tensions. But I wanted to quote the below story to emphasize the 'coexistence' aspect, since too often the media seem to be focused on the 'conflict' between the two groups.
Shias, Sunnis celebrate Eid together in Lucknow
By Kamal Khan, Anant Zanane, NDTV.com, October 02, 2008
LUCKNOW For years, Mecca was the only place in the world where Muslims from different sects offered Namaaz together. But now, it is happening in Lucknow too.
It began as a gesture in 2007 and it is already almost a tradition.
"When Shias and Sunnis from Lucknow go for Haj, they go together. They go together to the muzdelefa, satharafat. They do the twaf together. So when they return to Lucknow, why do they go to separate mosques? In Haj, we are trained to be together, so we should stay together over here as well," said Dr Kalbe Sadiq, vice president, AIMPLB.
This Eid, Shias will offer prayers at this Idgah, which is managed by Sunnis and the man leading them will be Sunni cleric Maulana Kahlid Rashid.
"I think this will give a very clear and good message not only throughout Lucknow and India, but throughout the world as there are Shia-Sunni conflicts in other parts of the world also," said Maulana Khalid Rashid, Sunni cleric.
The city of Lucknow has been witness to volatile relations between the two sects with often riots breaking out during Moharram. But this unique gesture will undoubtedly help offset the strained relations between Shias and Sunnis.