A Baghdad Neighborhood Without Violence

If Baghdad could get a Christmas present, this might be it: more neighborhoods like An Nil. CBS News correspondent Randall Pinkston reports.

There, children play on the street, young men hang out and businesses open their shops not worrying about kidnappings, bombings or guns.

"In this neighborhood," one Shiite man says, "there're no problems. The evil will never reach here."

In the An Nil neighborhood, Shiite, Sunni and Christian residents have lived side by side for decades — like family. And in some cases, they are family.

"My son's wife is a Sunni," said one woman, "we are Shiite, we love each other."

When Abu Sayiff, a Christian, received a threatening letter, his worried son went to his Muslim neighbors.

They told me, anything happens to you, happens to us," said Sayiff's son.

The neighbors promised to protect his father's home, and they have.

So far, no one has been kidnapped or forced to move out of a neighborhood that's close to the scenes of so many violent incidents.

The question is: Why is An Nil seemingly immune to the poisonous attitudes that fuel the violence here?

One possible answer from Abdul Abdullah Muzban, a Shiite who runs a security service:

"We're close to each other and we like each other," he says. "Most of us have lived here 40 years, so we know each other."

Many Iraqis say the Sunni-Shiite divide isn't the only reason for the violence — corruption and foreign fighters pour fuel on it too.

One man suggested that "the good people" should talk to "the bad people" to get them to stop the attacks.

"Even if my father or my brother told me to attack a Shiite," one man said, "I would never do it because we've been friends since we were children.

So there is peace in Baghdad's An Nil neighborhood, in this season of hope. In a city that could use much, much more.
  • Amy Clark

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