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Iran accused of promoting Shiitism in Sudan

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Dec 23, 2006 (KHARTOUM) — Sunni Islamists in Sudan have accused Iran of trying to spread its brand of Shiite Islam in the East African country through a propaganda campaign the Italian news service AKI reported.

The Sudanese chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood organisation in a meeting with authorities in Khartoum on Monday 18 December said it had presented evidence of Teheran’s attempts to convert locals to Shiitism.

"It’s a large scale plan conceived by Shiite groups and local organisations with the objective of spreading Shiitism in Sudan," a spokesman for the group told the Arab daily al-Hayat.

Sunni groups have denounced what they say is a "Shiite peril" and the opening of several Shiite mosques in Khartoum.

They have asked authorities to close down the Iranian embassy’s cultural centre and to prevent it from holding conferences which they say are being used for propaganda purposes.

"Shiite penetration in Sudan has become possible because of a lack of control on the part of the authoritie," the Muslim Brotherhood’s Sudan country representative, Sadiq Abdullah Abdel Majid, said.

The Iranian exhibit at the recent Khartoum International Book Fair was closed by authorities recently after it displayed books that allegedly contained blasphemous content against Sunni Islam.

The number of conversions from Sunni to Shiite Islam has been on the rise in recent years both in Muslim nations, particularly in North and East Africa where many have been impressed by the success of the Teheran-backed Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah’s military successes against Israel.

(AKI/ST)

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