Note: a journalist of Daily Etemad recently interviewed Shaikh Abdol-Hamid, president of Darululoom Zahedan and Friday imam of Sunnis in Zahedan where he underlined that they never commit treason against their country.
The most influential Iranian Sunni leader told Etemad about the reasons of giving vote to the reformists in Sistan-Balochistan: “We have paid for the reformists, because we think they are more open-minded. They can unite the country better than others, but they have not paid for us and they could not pay to defend our lost rights. We have complains from reformists.”
“In the first term of Rouhani’s government there were some positive steps about the rights of the Sunni community in some provinces, but it was very less. However, in the second and current term Mr. Rouhani acted very weak. We expected to see any minister in the cabinet. The interior ministry and other offices did nothing,” he underlined.
Chairman of Islamic Fiqh Academy of Iranian Sunnis said: “I told Mr. Rouhani in an Iftaar party in Tehran that we suffer a lot. People are hungry and there is no job and any work for them. Discrimination still rules in the country. There is no any determination to resolve our problems.”
“We have been suffering for 40 years; there should be a root struggle and steps to remove discrimination. People should be engaged and employed just on the basis of merit not race, sect and outward face. Sunnis constitute 75% of the population in Sistan-Balochistan, but there are offices with 300 employees and among them only 18 are Sunnis. This discrimination gave birth to poverty,” he added more.
Responding to a question about his internal and international travels, Shaikh Abdol-Hamid said: “There is no any legal ban on my trips, but when I cannot travel inside the country except to Tehran, Qom and inside the province. Even I could not attend some funeral ceremonies in other provinces. Few months ago I wanted to go Qatar on the invitation of some relatives. I thought there were good relations between Iran and Qatar; despite holding visa and tickets, I was banned by security agencies to not travel.”
“We do not discuss our problems with others outside of the country. Once I was invited to a conference in Makkah; late king Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had a banquet where he asked me about the conditions of Iranian Sunnis. I just replied ‘Al-Hamdulillah’. Even I did not talk with media outside of the country about our problems,” he added more.
President of Darululoom Zahedan said: “We have been suffering from two major problems; discrimination in employment and distribution of posts and secondly religious limitations. They should be resolved.”
At the end of his interview with the famous national newspaper, Mawlana Abdol-Hamid said: “Despite all problems, I am optimistic and we will not leave our homeland. I think we can overcome the problems by peaceful struggle and pursuit of the case by legal channels.”