Growing Arab Activism in Brazil

Projects ranging from the establishment of a “Muammar Qaddafi” nursery to the dissemination of Islam by an associate of the Ayatollah Khomeini are signs of a discernable growth of Arab and Moslem activism in Brazil during recent months, the World Jewish Congress reported.

The Latin American branch of the WJC cited increasing press coverage for such activities in the cities of Brasilia, Curitiba, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

The daily Jornal do Brasilia reports that “the Arab community of Rio de Janeiro,” through an agreement with the Brazilian League of Assistance (a public body), donated two new day nurseries, each with a capacity of 30 children. One of the nurseries is named “Libyan Arab Jamahiriya” and the other “Muammar Qaddafi.” The initiative for the donations came from the president of the Arab-Brazilian People’s Cultural Congress, Jose Alberto Gomes.

In Curitiba, the WJC reported, a representative of the Ayatollah Khomeini, Al Said Mohammad al Tabatabai, has been in the city since the beginning of the year, according to the leading newspaper, “in order to disseminate Islam in all of Latin America and to work among the Brazilian Moslem population.”

A 43-year-old former professor of theology, the newspaper described him as “a close associate of Khomeini who chose him especially for this mission.”

THE PLO IN LATIN AMERICA

Previously, the Sao Paulo press had given broad coverage to a “congress of Palestinian organizations of South and Central America and the Caribbean,” which brought together 235 delegates for a three-day meeting in support of the PLO.

The PLO has officially recognized missions in Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru. In countries like Brazil and Bolivia, it has representatives without recognized status, and is now trying to extend its activities to the southern part of the continent.

According to the WJC, PLO propaganda has been most effective in penetrating student and labor union circles. It was, in fact, a popular union leader known as “Lula,” who was one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the Sao Paulo Palestinian Congress.

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