The leading Sunni scholar, Shaikh Abdol-Hameed Ismaeelzahi, censured the Iranian authorities over creating obstacles for Zahedan’s Sunni citizens to build a new place for Eid prayers in his Friday speech of April 12, 2013.
Alluding to 10-year long continous efforts to get permission for building a new Mosalla, he stated, “We have written letters to all officials to get permission for allotment of the Mosalla including the leader, president and Ministry of Housing. In response, the president and the Minister of Housing had ordered the provincial authorities to fulfill our demand; but they have been neglecting to do so still.”
The member of the Intonation Union for Muslim Scholars shared the details of the issue saying about 10 years ago we realized the current place for worshippers was not sufficient; we asked for a new wider Mosalla in the suburb of Zahedan when reformists were in the power. In that period, pertinent authorities including governor inquired the need; unlike current authorities –rightists– they used to participate in our gatherings and ceremonies. They admitted capacity of this place is not in balance with the number of worshippers. They allotted 30 acre for this purpose; then one of the provincial authorities denied to accept this allocation, later on it was handed over to the Revolutionary Guards.
The issue of Mosalla has been followed up for years firmly; elders of all classes, academics, tribal chiefs and scholars have not left any stone unturned to resolve this matter. They knocked the door of all, even armed forces and security departments but no result has come out yet. Once they asked for signatures of people; 30 thousand men worshippers along with hundreds of women signed on a scroll. It seems the bone of contention is inside the province, Shaikh-ul-Islam added more.
He went on to say, “Local citizens of Zahedan have no adequate place for Eid prayers while the 27-acre Mosalla of Shias was expended up to 60 acre. Meanwhile Sunni worshippers are more than Shia ones very much. Sunnis belong to this land; before settlement of Sistanis, Birjandis and other Shia settlers these people used to live here. Our forefathers sacrificed their souls to protect this country; they defended the country against aggression of British army. Despite it we want fraternity. If Shia community can own a 60-acre Mosalla but local Sunnis suffer from lack of place offering prayers in streets and on roads, it is not brotherhood. Many officials claim of brotherhood, but action is important.”
Some official departments occupy national estates
In another part of his sermon, Khateeb of Sunnis indicated to allotment of many vast pieces of lands by some official and governmental departments saying, “I become so sad by seeing how some departments appropriate national lands from one mountain to another far mountain. This happens while these real estates must be spent to develop the city more and local residents get benefits of them. Armed services are powerful, they occupy what they want. We think the armed forces must get lands as they need not more than their needs. But it is not allowed for such departments to appropriate and then sell these real estates out.”
The outstanding Sunni leader informed the audience saying many estates have been allotted to security forces and various companies, but when Sunnis need any estate, authorities can not bear allotment of it to Sunni citizens. I complain bitterly of negligence of the governor and representative of the leader in the province; they have refused the overt order of the president and Minister of Housing over allotment of Sunnis’ Mosalla.
He addressed the authorities and said, “In that Mosalla residents of this province will offer prayers whom you have equipped with guns to fight with your opponents and defend the borders. We have been living with you fraternally; we expect you will solve our problems and listen to our voice.”
The problem of housing of Darululoom Zahedan’s teachers
Alluding to problem of teachers at Darululoom Zahedan, Shaikh Abdol-Hameed Isma’eelzahi stated teacher of Darululoom Zahedan, the biggest Sunni seminary in Iran, suffer from problem of houses; we asked for allotment, they replied an association must be organized and we did so. All departments established associations and they got estates but our teachers could not get houses. First the Municipality was afraid to allot any estate. Facing lots of problems and obstacles, teachers bought lands from free markets by selling out their families’ jewels. Despite obstacles in this regard, we have not complained. But when the issue of worship and prayers comes, we can not remain silent. It is the duty of the ‘Islamic Republic of Iran’ to facilitate establishment of prayers (Salah) in the country. People from all aspects of life demand unanimously the authorities to permit Sunnis to establish Eid prayers in a wider place.
Despot regimes are afraid of everyone
Criticizing the current circumstances of the Sunni community in Iran in strong words, the rector of Darululoom Zahedan pointed, “Unfortunately, when ever the issue of Sunnis presents on the table, authorities make it a ‘security matter’. Our all issues have been being seen from security perspectives. The issue of Sunnis’ mosque in Tehran is a security issue for them; why our mosques and prayers are security measures? It looks, as we understand, the matter of Sunnis’ Mosalla in Zahedan has been delayed due to ‘security perspective’ of the authorities. What is wrong with our Salah? How our Mosalla targets the peace? Iran and the Iranian nation must be proud of our mosques and prayers where we only talk about solidarity and unity.”
I would like to recommend authorities to not look at any issue in the light of security. Such people are not far-sighted. Regretfully our province, universities and worship places are affected by security measures. ‘Republic’ states do not feel fear about people. Only tyranny governments and despot regimes feel danger; they draw security bars everywhere to protect themselves. But what happened with regimes that drew security lines around them selves? Their exemplary end is a clear clue for despots to change their minds, Shaikh-ul-Islam Abdol-Hameed underlined.
In his last words, Khateeb of Ahl-us-Sunnah expressed his condolence over massive earth quake of Bushehr, south west Iran, where some people lost their lives and many others got wounded. He advised people to help victims of the tragedy.