As the forty-third anniversary of the victory of the 1979 revolution of Iran approaches, the most influential Iranian Sunni leader criticized the authorities for discrimination and inequality against the Sunni Community of Iran. He also defended the rights of all Iranian ethnic and religious minorities and insisted on the implementation of justice and equality.
Shaikh Abdol-Hamid was talking to tens of thousands of people before the Friday prayers in Zahedan’s Grand Musalla on February 4, 2022.
The Friday prayer leader of Sunnis in Zahedan stated: “Sunnis of Iran have been suffering from discrimination and inequality for more than four decades, and despite many efforts their demands have not been met yet. The fair distribution of positions, elimination of discrimination and religious freedoms are among the most important concerns and expectations of Sunnis.”
“After the establishment of an Islamic system in Iran, it was expected that justice would be fully implemented in this system and that Muslim and non-Muslim minorities would achieve their inalienable rights,” he said.
President of Darululoom Zahedan continued: “Sunnis have played an important role in ensuring national unity and security during forty-three years, but they still suffer from discrimination and inequality and call on the officials to fulfill their rights.”
Mawlana Abdol-Hamid criticized the discriminatory behavior against Sunnis and said: “Sunnis have been deprived of official positions in the country for more than four decades and have endured many hardships in this regard. Even the relative balance has not been observed in Sunni-populated areas. The official posts have not been distributed between Shiites and Sunnis fairly.”
The eminent Sunni scholar of Iran continued his Friday speech of Zahedan by saying: “As a minority community in Iran, the Sunnis expect the authorities to give them more rights than Shiites, because Shiites are in the majority and in power, but Sunnis are powerless and they have no share in decision-making offices. If we were the majority and the affairs of the country were in our hands, we would give the Shiites their full rights and would give them even more than their rights. Minorities are oppressed in some countries, but in some developed countries, they are in power and their rights are paid more than the majorities.”
The Iranian Sunnis’ leader denounced prejudice and insisted on justice and said: “There should be no difference among people in a state, everyone should have equal rights and opportunities and all should be treated equally. Blind religious, ethnic, and sectarian viewpoints should not rule in the country; responsibilities should be distributed fairly, regardless of ethnicity, religion, creed or opinions. Merit must prevail.”
Ensuring religious freedom is one of the main demands of Sunnis
The most outstanding Iranian Sunni scholar went on to defend the rights of Sunnis with more details by saying: “As genuine and patriotic Iranians, Sunnis expect the authorities to hold them in senior official positions, to trust them, and give them complete religious freedom. Unfortunately, since the beginning of the victory of the Islamic revolution of Iran, there have been unwritten policies in the country that deny the rights of Sunnis. Despite struggling through years, Sunnis have failed to achieve their due rights.”
“Although the Sunnis are not very concerned about public developmental services with less complaints, but they have concerns about their main demands such as religious freedom, freedom of speech, participation in the official affairs of the country, and so on”, he added more.
The Friday Khateeb of Zahedan further said: “As Iranian Sunni citizens, we demand our complete rights; we want to have religious freedom and worship Allah freely as our Shia brothers. We are Iranians and belong to this land. The authorities must allow us to build mosques and places of worship wherever we live in the country. However, in many parts of the country Sunnis have mosques, but in many other parts they are not allowed to build mosques or places of worship.”
“When there are questions about the number and statistics of Sunnis’ mosques in Iran, some officials point to the number of mosques in Sunni-majority areas such as Baluchistan, while in some Shiite-majority cities like Birjand, Kermanshah and Urmia, the number of Sunnis’ mosques is low. We expect the authorities to observe the per capita statistics of mosques in all cities of Iran permitting the Sunnis to build mosques and do not prevent them from religious activities in prayer-houses,” said the eminent Sunni leader of Iran.
Calling on the people of Iran for unity, he said: “We oppose violence by extremism and call on all religious and ethnic communities to be united and share common principles. If extremists could not get root in our country, it was not just because of the official sides’ stance, rather it was people’s opposition which stopped the fanatic extremists.”
President of Darululoom Zahedan believed that the Iranian people were often dissatisfied with the authorities and called on the authorities to take immediate and wise measures to solve the problems by revising the past policies.”
I am against mass executions in Iran
Referring to the increase of executions in Iran in recent months, the most influential Iranian Sunni leader strongly opposed such measures and called on the authorities to show mercy to the people.
On the other side, Shaikh Abdol-Hamid forbade the people from drug transactions and considered it harmful to the society.
He said: “I oppose mass executions of the people, but unfortunately, the judges do not listen to our advice and do not stop the executions. I hope people to listen to me and avoid trafficking drugs.”
“Maybe some people resort to drug transactions because of living problems. I advise them to refrain from such transactions; surely, Allah will solve their livelihood problems,” he said.
“Why our young people are being executed due to drug trade?” Shaikh Abdol-Hamid asked.
“Unfortunately, there are cases that three brothers from same family have been executed; it is very painful. The judiciary authorities should not have made such a decision”, Mawlana Abdol-Hamid expressed his concerns.
“Who will support these families and provide the means for their children to live and get education? Why the judges did not think that by executing these people their families would become homeless?” he further asked.
Islam guarantees human rights
Insisting on adherence to Islamic ethics and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, the Friday prayer leader of Sunnis in Zahedan noted that Islam has guaranteed the rights of human beings.
In the first part of his Friday speech of Zahedan, Shaikh-ul-Islam Mawlana Abdol-Hamid expressed his concerns over the fall of humankind, inspiring them to return to the teachings of Islam by saying: “There was a time when only Adam and Eve lived on the earth. Adam’s children grew day by day, and now they are about eight billion people. The population of the people has increased, but they fell in the moralities. Unfortunately, Muslims also do not adhere to the principles of Islam and are far from the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH. Those who adhere to the principles of Islam are few.”
The eminent Sunni scholar of Balochistan pointed to the high capacity of Islam and noted that Muslims should use this capacity and respect the rights of others. That is why the Prophet peace be upon him advised the commanders of Islam in the last moments of his life to observe the rights of non-Muslims and fight Muslims who violate their rights. After the Prophet PBUH, the Righteous Caliphs also recommended their successors to observe non-Muslim’s rights.”
“Islam respects the rights of all faiths. In the last Hajj in Mena, the Prophet forbade killing of innocent Muslims and said: do not kill each other like infidels”, he added.
At the end of this part of his Friday speech of Zahedan, Imam of the Grand Makki Mosque of Zahedan inspired Muslims to obey the commands of the Shari’ah, avoid backbiting, slander, lie, and all types of sins, and respect the rights of all human beings.