Exiled founder of Iraqi Dawa party dies

Ayatollah Murtada al-Askari, a founding member of Iraq's Shiite Dawa party, which was banned under Saddam Hussein but now is the ruling Iraqi party, died Sunday in Iran, the party said.

Exiled founder of Iraqi Dawa party dies
Ayatollah Murtada al-Askari, a founding member of Iraq's Shiite Dawa party, which was banned under Saddam Hussein but now is the ruling Iraqi party, died Sunday in Iran, the party said.

Ayatollah Murtada al-Askari died after suffering a heart ailment and kidney problems, Iran's news agency, IRNA, reported.

The agency did not say where he died or how old he was. The Dawa party said he was about 100 years old, according to a statement, which described al-Askari as "one of the founders of the Dawa Islamic Party."

Al-Askari was born in the Iraqi city of Samarra and studied at the Hawza, the Shiite religious seminary, Dawa said.

He opposed Saddam Hussein's Baath party regime and forced to leave the country to "continue jihad from abroad," according to a Dawa party statement. It was not immediately known when al-Askari was ordered out of Iraq, but most of the group's leaders left the country after Saddam became president in 1979.

Dawa became the ruling party in Iraq when its leader, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, became interim prime minister after Iraq's first general election in January 2005. A year later, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki replaced al-Jaafari in the post.

Agencies
Last Mod: 18 Eylül 2007, 15:29
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