Babylon & Beyond

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IRAN: Suspected Al Qaeda members arrested with alleged propaganda

December 30, 2010 |  6:40 am

Iran-salafiDoes being a proponent of the kind of puritanical strain of Islam touted by Osama bin Laden automatically make you a member of Al Qaeda?

Iran seems to think so. 

Iranian security forces arrested seven alleged Al Qaeda operatives in the northwestern city of Sardasht, the official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted an unnamed official as saying Wednesday.

The operatives had been identified nearly a month ago and were arrested after judiciary authorities gave a green light, the official said.

Were they caught with bombs or suicide vests?

According to the Iranians, they are accused so far only of using books and leaflets to promote "Wahabbi" or Salafist Sunni Islam in predominantly Shiite Muslim Iran.

"The suspects were nabbed with an appreciable number of books, leaflets and documents about Wahhabism and other depraved cults,” the official said. "They sought to sow sectarian discord, but they were finally arrested by security forces and handed over to the judiciary."

-- Los Angeles Times

Photo: English-language translation of a book about Salafist Islam. Credit: