Hate for U.S. unites rival Muslims Shia, Sunni Iraqis, who until recently fought each other, donate food, blood in joint resistance By ORLY HALPERN Special to The Globe and Mail Friday, Apr. 9, 2004 BAGHDAD -- Until recently, the people of Sadr City and Aadhamiyah dared not enter each other's neighbourhoods, even though their two districts are on the same side of Baghdad. But today, they are sharing their food, their feelings and their very blood. Sadr City, a sprawling slum in the north of the capital, is peopled by poor Shiites who were oppressed by Saddam Hussein's Sunni-dominated Baathist regime, which the neighbourhood was only too happy to be rid of when U.S. forces overthrew the president last year. Nearby is Aadhamiyah, a Sunni and Baathist stronghold that is home to many of Mr. Hussein's diehard supporters and has been the target of many U.S. raids. Its people used to consider themselves superior, calling their Shia neighbours "animals" and "beasts." Until recently, these two groups felt little but disdain and fear for each other, but they suddenly have a common link: the U.S.-led occupation. ... "All the people of Iraq -- Sunni, Shiite, Kurd -- are united now," said Daoud al-Akoubi, 44, a Shiite from Sadr City, as he sat outside his home staring glumly across the street yesterday. A few hundred metres away, hundreds of people had gathered, observing the damage to firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's local office, which U.S. forces attacked overnight. ... "Every Iraqi family, Shiite and Sunni, is bringing half of what it possesses in its house," said Armiyeh Shaker, a veterinarian who volunteered to manage the collection and distribution. "People are coming from Sadr City and Kadhimiyah," he said, listing two Shia areas. "There is no difference. We are all Muslim." Despite the occupation, "we want to thank [President George W.] Bush and America very much for one thing: This pressure has caused the people of Iraq to come together," he said.