IRANIANS CONTINUE THEIR OUREACH IN AFRICA
IRAN CONTINUES ISLAMIC OUTREACH IN AFRICA."There are growing concerns about the rise of radical Islam in Nigeria -- home of Africa's largest Muslim population," according to the U.S. State Department's "Country Reports on Terrorism 2004" . Fifty percent of Nigeria's 137 million people are Muslims, 40 percent are Christians, and the remainder practice indigenous beliefs. The Iranian government is working in Nigeria to gain new converts to Islam.
Javad Torkabadi, the Iranian ambassador to Nigeria, presented religious literature and computers to a Muslim umbrella organization called the Jama'atul Nasril Islam (JNI) on 12 April, Nigerian state television reported. The ceremony took place at JNI headquarters in the northern city of Kaduna. The donation included copies of the Koran, two computers, computer disks bearing the Hadith (the Prophet Muhammad's sayings and teachings), and other materials. The Iranian official said this contribution should help propagate Islam in Nigeria and that more should be expected.
Another allegedly pro-Iranian Islamic organization in Nigeria is the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), headed by Sheikh Ibrahim Yaqoub Zakzaky, a Shi'a cleric born in 1953. The IMN was founded in the 1980s, after Zakzaky and others traveled to Iran. The organization calls for creation of an Iranian-style Islamic state in Nigeria . It is not clear if there is a formal relationship between Tehran and the IMN, or if the IMN and the JNI are connected. (Bill Samii)
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