Iraqi Americans Mark Saddam's Passing The many Iraqi and Arab Americans in Dearborn, Mich., celebrated news of Saddam's execution Friday night. Iraqi-Americans gathered late Friday at a Detroit-area mosque to celebrate reports that Saddam Hussein had been executed, cheering and crying as drivers honked horns in jubilation.
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Iraqi Americans Mark Saddam's Passing

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Iraqi Americans Mark Saddam's Passing

Iraqi Americans Mark Saddam's Passing

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, Host:

When the news of the execution was announced last night, there were celebrations in the streets of Dearborn, Michigan, which has one of the largest populations of Iraqi Americans in this country.

For some of the celebrants, the execution was justice. Others saw it as revenge for the misery Saddam inflicted on the people he ruled. Sarah Hulett of Michigan Radio reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

SARAH HULETT: About 200 people gathered outside a storefront mosque when news of the execution was announced. They climbed on top of cars, banged drums, hoisted Iraqi flags, and cheered the news that the former Iraq dictator had been executed.

GROUP: No more Saddam. No more Saddam. No more Saddam.

HULETT: Ainaz Alfaraz(ph) was one of the few women at the celebration. She's 17 and she came with her father.

AINAZ ALFARAZ: I couldn't wait to come here. I was really happy. I couldn't believe it. I wouldn't believe it, when they're like, are they going to kill him? I was like, no, it's not true. You guys always say that. But when I finally seen that, I'm so happy now. I'm really happy. I'm just - now I'm just waiting for the picture and the video. And I'll be really happy.

HULETT: Many of those who turned out for the celebration are part of the new wave of Iraq immigrants who came to the Detroit area after the first Gulf War, including Ali Zuwain(ph)

ALI ZUWAIN: We're happy because they're killing Saddam. They're killing big dictator in the world. We wait on this situation a long time ago.

HULETT: Ali Zuwain came out with his father, Abdul Hussein Zuwain(ph). He says they were both jailed by Saddam. Ali Zuwain translates for his father.

ZUWAIN: He can't believe it. He can't believe it. He's so happy when he heard - he says he's a terrorist and he is a criminal. We didn't do anything. We just (unintelligible) we like to be (unintelligible) and we didn't do anything to him, to his regime, and he gets - he can go out and kill his family and his friends.

HULETT: Some of those gathered said they had relatives who were killed by Saddam's regime. Ali Najar(ph) lost his older brother, Julad(ph).

ALI NAJAR: And he was arrested in 1980 and we did not hear anything about him until early 2004, when we were informed that he was executed in 1983.

HULETT: For NPR News, I'm Sarah Hulett in Detroit.

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