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Eid ul-Fitr prayers in Iran: for Shi’ite Muslims only

Posted by Zand-Bon on Sep 19th, 2010 and filed under Ethnic & Religious Minorities, Photos, Sections. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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September 19, 2010

Sunni Online, a website affiliated with the religious center used by the Sunni minority in the city of Zahedan, the capital of Sistan-Baluchestan Province, reported this week that internal security forces prevented Sunni worshippers from performing prayers on Eid ul-Fitr. The website reported that security forces broke into several meeting places, including private residences where Sunni worshippers were praying, and prevented them from continuing their prayers, led by Sunni clerics (www.sunnionline.us, September 9).

The website also reported that Molavi Abdolhamid, the Friday prayer leader of the Sunni community in Zahedan, strongly criticized the authorities’ attitude towards Iranian Sunni Muslims. During his Eid ul-Fitr sermon, the top Sunni cleric said that the pressure exerted by the authorities on the Sunni minority has stepped up considerably in recent years.

He further added that, after the revolution, the Sunnis hoped that the new regime would establish peace and harmony between Iran’s Shi’ites and Sunnis, but those hopes went unfulfilled. Instead of becoming a model of Sunni-Shi’ite harmony for the whole world, Iran continues to discriminate against its Sunni population. Abdolhamid complained about the authorities’ increasing harassment of schools and religious centers used by the Sunnis. He noted that the Sunnis’ constitutional rights of holding their religious ceremonies and educating their children in accordance with their religious beliefs were not upheld in practice.

Molavi Abdolhamid (www.sunnionline.ws)

Speaking about the restrictions imposed by the authorities on Sunni prayers on Eid ul-Fitr, Abdolhamid said that the Sunnis never thought the day would come when the authorities would prevent a few hundred worshippers from praying in accordance with their beliefs, even if it’s in their own homes. Not only does the regime refuse to let even one Sunni mosque operate in Tehran, now it even prevents the Sunnis living in Zahedan from performing the holiday prayers. The Islamic republic, said the cleric, must encourage prayer instead of preventing it. There are Sunni mosques in the capitals of all the countries in the world with the exception of Iran, and now the authorities do not allow Sunnis to pray even in a place that is not a mosque.

Abdolhamid stressed that the Sunnis are loyal to Iran, that they object to any expression of violence, and are committed to national unity and protection of Iran’s independence and borders. They insist, however, that their constitutional rights should be upheld by the authorities. He called on the Supreme Leader to deal with the issues facing the Sunnis to preserve the unity of the Iranian people and sustain public trust of the regime (www.sunnionline.us, September 11).

Sunnis currently make up about 8 percent of Iran’s population, and are a majority among the Kurds, Baluchis, and Turkmens living in Iran.

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