10/17/2008, 00.00
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Islamic scholars: Iran should prevent religious conflict among Muslims

The International Union of Muslim Scholars has intervened in the controversy opposing Sunnis and Shiites, over the accusations of "invasion" aimed at the latter.

Doha (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The International Union of Muslim Scholars has asked Iran to prevent religious conflict between Sunnis and Shiites. The request is contained in a statement made public at the end of a closed-door meeting of the organization, held in Qatar with the participation of Iranian ayatollah Mohamad Ali Tashkiri, vice president of the union, which is headed by the Sunni sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi.

The "Islamic republic of Iran" is asked to "assume its responsibilities to stifle sectarian sedition and extinguish the flames of this sedition." The reference follows a controversy that Qaradawi himself, an Egyptian, joined last month. In addition to calling the Shiites heretics - a charge that the two Islamic movements level at each other - he accused them of "invading" Sunni societies.

The Sunnis are the majority Islamic movement in the Middle East, while the Shiites are in the majority in Iran and Iraq, and have a significant presence in Lebanon. Concerns about Shiite proselytism in traditionally Sunni territories have been expressed by various political representatives. And on the occasion of the meeting in Doha, according to Qaradawi, he responded to the criticisms of Tashkiri and of another Shiite representative, Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah of Lebanon, concerning his remarks about "invasion." Now the union is affirming "the need for mutual respect," and is calling for an end to any attempt to "spread one faith across regions dominated by the other faith."

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