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Thu 24 Apr 2014 01:44 PM

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Bahrain deports Shia cleric acting for Iraqi marja

Interior Ministry says Hussain Najati was illegally working for Ali Al Sistani, the highest ranking Shia marja in Iraq

Bahrain deports Shia cleric acting for Iraqi marja
Bahrain has seen near daily protests since the start of the unrest in early 2011

Bahrain has deported a Shia cleric it says was working in the kingdom on behalf of an opposed Iraqi marja, one of the highest ranking positions in Shia Islam.

The Bahrain Interior Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday, Hussein Mirza Abdul Baqi Mohammed, known as Hussain Najati, was representing Ali Al Sistani, the highest ranking Shia marja in Iraq and the leader of the Islamic training centre Hawza in Najaf. A marja, similar to a grand ayatollah, has the authority to make legal decisions under Islamic law.

The ministry said Najati had been collecting money on behalf of Al Sistani.

It was not reported why the Sunni Bahraini rulers oppose Al Sistani.

Najati’s Bahraini nationality was withdrawn in November, 2012, on the basis that he was not transparent about his activities in the kingdom and did not communication with officials, Gulf Daily News said.