Catalytic Converters

[New York Times] Andrew Tabler - Since the war in Lebanon last summer, media in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere have reported that Sunnis, taken with Hizbullah's charismatic Shiite leader Hassan Nasrallah and his group's "resistance" to Israel, were converting to Shiite Islam. When I recently visited eastern Syria, Sunni tribal leaders whispered stories of Iranians roaming the Syrian countryside handing out bags of cash and macaroni to convert families and even entire villages to Shiite Islam. Over the last five years, Iranian donors have financed the restoration of half a dozen Shiite tombs and shrines in Syria and built a Shiite religious school near Damascus named after Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. Iran and the Shiite militias it supports in Iraq sponsor a number of Arabic-language Internet portals as well as satellite TV stations broadcasting Shiite religious programming into Syria.

2007-05-04 01:00:00

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