Posted by: becketfund | March 6, 2009

Morocco: Cuts Ties with Iran Over Perceived Religious Incursions

RABAT – Morocco has cut diplomatic links with Iran, the Moroccan Foreign Ministry said on March 6, after an outcry in the Sunni Muslim world over a statement by an Iranian official questioning Sunni-ruled Bahrain’s sovereignty, Reuters reported on March 6. The Ministry also criticized Iran for its efforts to spread its Shi’ite brand of Islam in Morocco, a move the ministry said it saw as threat to the North African country’s moderate Sunni religious identity. Sunni scholars in Morocco and elsewhere have denounced what they see as Iran’s efforts to convert Sunni Muslims to Shi’ism, arguing the drive would create strife similar to the often bloody Shi’ite-Sunni divides in Iraq and Pakistan. According to media reports, Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri, an adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said last month Shi’ite Iran had sovereignty over Bahrain. In response Morocco’s King Mohammed sent the Bahraini monarch, King Hamad Bin Isa al-Khalifa, a message of support, calling the Iranian remarks “absurd” and a contradiction of international law. The foreign ministry has accused Iranian representatives in Morocco of seeking to alter “the kingdom’s religious fundamentals.” Religion is a highly sensitive issue in Morocco as King Mohamed jointly holds the title of Amir al Mouminine (Commander of the Faithful) and head of the state.

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