In his latest Friday sermons of Zahedan, capital of Iranian Balochistan, the most influential Iranian Sunni leader emphasized that politicians and experts should run the country not the armed forces.
A day before the 44th anniversary of the 1979 revolution in Iran, Shaikh Abdol-Hamid said: “We are on the anniversary of the victory of the revolution. The ones who remember those days know well that people came to the stage with aspirations, hope, and made a revolution. The overwhelming majority of people from all classes and strata including ethnicities, sects, and religions came to the sense with hope and joy.”
He was talking to tens of thousands of people in Zahedan’s biggest Friday gathering on Feb 10, 2023.
The Friday prayer leader of Sunnis in Zahedan continued: “The more we distanced from the revolution, the more we distanced from progress. Instead of gaining experience, moving forward, and having a better situation, problems increase day by day. Many people who accompanied the revolution at the beginning of the revolution, either separated or ousted, and they did not see a ground to serve the country.”
Women became second-class citizens; Sunnis became third-class citizens
He stated: “After the revolution, we did not have many economic problems for some years, but as we moved forward, the economic problems increased, and the restrictions went up. I warned and emphasized many times that there should be no restrictions, and the circles were narrowed. Let different spectrums serve the country. Give everyone hopes and not disappoint them.”
The president of Darululoom Zahedan complained about discrimination and said: “Unfortunately, discrimination and inequality have been increasing in the country. In fact, women became second class citizens. Sunnis and other religious and ethnic communities have been suffering from severe discriminations. As Sunnis, we endured so many problems during the past years. Sunnis not only considered as second and third class citizens, but they are more than that.”
Shaikh Abdol-Hamid added: “Officials used to say that Sunnis were first-class citizens, but this was not the case. Officials promised, but practically we did not see anything from them. Sunnis were not appointed as ministers and provincial governors. What policy has been behind the discrimination against Sunnis?”
“The restrictions were as high as that in the Sunni majority provinces, there has never been a single Sunni member in the provincial Security Councils. Security councils have a big responsibility, and they make decisions for the security of each province. In Sunni majority provinces, including in Sistan-Baluchistan, there has not been a single Sunni member in the Security Council,” said the Iranian Sunni leader.
He continued: “When we mention these statistics, some say that there are many district governors among the Sunni citizens, while we were deprived of positions in the provincial centers. Out of 300 to 400 staff of some offices, only 15 to 20 members of their staff are Sunnis, while the majority of the population is with them. We suffer from discrimination in education and this has always been a complaint. Education, which is the foundation of development and progress, should be taken into consideration, but we always had concerns. These concerns have never been resolved, but have increased. What was the policy behind the sense?”
I have also defended women’s rights, even during the reformists’ rule
Regarding discrimination against women, the Iranian top political Baloch leader stated: “As Iranian citizens, women have equal rights. They have not yet reached their place. Not only now, but in the past I have said this, too. During the reformists’ period, we said that discriminatory behaviors had always been applied against women; such a treatment is against the teachings of Islam. When the system is in the name of Islam, there should be equality and justice and everyone’s rights should be given equally.”
Our priorities are national issues / we want the honor and pride of the Iranian nation
“We do not want to talk much about ethnic and religious issues. Our priorities are national demands; issues that include the entire nation of Iran. All Iranians are citizens of Iran. All Iranians are brothers and sisters. I have already said, and I will repeat that here Shiites and Sunnis are united on one stage,” he urged.
Continuing his Friday speech of Zahedan, Mawlana Abdol-Hamid referred to current situation in Iran and said: “We do not have Shia or Sunni today. Iranians are one and we all are Iranian citizens. All Iranians want equal rights. We are talking about the rights of all Iranians. We want the honor, dignity and pride of the Iranian nation.
People concluded their problems cannot be solved
The most influential Iranian Sunni leader noted: “Today, Iranian people are disappointed. That is why people are protesting all over the country. The nation has come to the conclusion that problems cannot be solved. Why has the value of one dollar reached 45 thousand Tomans? Many Iranians are in debt abroad and cannot pay their debts. They made trades and bought goods when Dollar was 20,000 and 30,000 Tomans, and now they cannot buy dollars with 45,000 Tomans.”
“We are well-wishers and sympathetic to everyone, and we want the honor of Iran. We want to maintain the territorial integrity of Iran,” he urged.
Military forces should return to their field / politician experts should run the country
The Iran’s top Sunni cleric asked the military not to enter the field of politics and said: “Leave the affairs of the country to expert politicians. Today, the country is mostly in the hands of the military forces. Many military commanders occupied political positions. We love the military, they are our children, but they have another duty. Their job is to defend territorial integrity and maintain security.”
“Politicians must work in their field. Professionals and capable politicians can run the country,” Shaikh Abdol-Hamid underlined.
“We have many experts at home and abroad. Iranians are the best doctors, university professors, and experts in other countries. The country needs them. They must build the country. Weak directors have created problems for the country; this is the people’s demand that should be taken into consideration. That is what we say, listen to the voice of the nation. See the pain of the nation,” said the Imam of the Grand Makki Mosque of Zahedan.
Release all political prisoners
The president of Darululoom Zahedan considered the release of some prisoners as a good step and demanded the release of all political prisoners, especially the prisoners of the recent protests.
He said: “Release the political prisoners, and the prisoners of the recent protests; this is the demand of the people of Iran. The government has released a number of prisoners; we consider this a positive step. This is my opinion. I have already said that whoever takes a positive step, we consider it positive.”
“As well-wishers, we say sit with people and fulfill their demands. Iranian people faced problems and feel that they are in crisis. Listen to them. Surrender to the well of the majority. The overwhelming majority of people have problems. Repression and prison, and pressures are not solutions. Find the right ways. Do not fight the effect; see what is the cause of the problems,” the Iranian Sunni leader called on the officials to fulfill people’s demands.
Do not worry about disputes; solve the country’s crises
The Friday Imam of Zahedan urged on national demands amid repression, saying: “Fulfill the demands of the overwhelming majority. Problems can be resolved through dialogue. We are all Iranians and from the same family. Our losses return to everyone. We can reach a result through dialogue and negotiation. Ask people for their opinions to solve problems. These problems can be solved.”
“God willing, there is a bright future ahead; do not worry about other issues. Do not worry about the country’s territorial integrity and ethnic, religious, and sectarian differences. Be concerned about the crises that have arisen in the country today. We hope to have good news in the future,” said the Iranian top Baloch cleric of Zahedan in his Friday sermons.
Help the earthquake victims of Khoi, Turkey and Syria
While expressing sympathy with the earthquake victims of Khoy, Turkey and Syria, the Iranian Sunnis’ leader said: “The earthquake in Turkey and Syria shocked the world. According to some interpretations, this earthquake was a scene of the resurrection day. So far, more than 20,000 people have lost their lives in Syria and Turkey. Thousands of people are under the rubble and there is no hope for their survival. The situation is critical. Cities have been destroyed, and large buildings have collapsed. It is very cold there.”
Shaikh Abdol-Hamid called on for help, saying: “We must cry and pray for them, and help them too. Although the international community cooperates and supports the earthquake-affected areas, but this disaster is so big that all Muslims should help them through their aids. This is a human task.”
“Mohsenin charity organization, which is under the supervision of Darululoom Zahedan, collects donations. Support this popular institution. I hope that appropriate donations will be collected for the earthquake victims,” he said in his last points.