The most influential Iranian Sunni leader called for urgent solutions to get rid of the current crises in Iran. He urged on holding safe elections and strongly condemned the spread of death penalties in Iran, believing that these executions were against the teachings of Islam, and it cannot stop people to raise their voice.
Shaikh Abdol-Hamid was talking to tens of thousands of worshippers in the biggest Friday gathering of Zahedan, on May 19, 2023.
He said: “The restrictions and discriminations that existed in the election process in the country have caused the nation’s “disappointment” in the elections.”
Turkey election was a symbol of development and free elections
The Friday prayer leader of Sunnis in Zahedan referred to the presidential election in Turkey and said: “Turkey is one of the developed countries in the world. The development of thought, vision and tolerance are the most important factors in progress and development. Turkey’s recent election was a symbol of development. In this election, the main competition was between the ruling party and the opposition alliance. The observers described this competition safe and unprecedented in its level.”
He continued: “Those who did not have enough information about the Turkish people, believed that the election would lead to conflict and bloodshed, but nothing happened. What affected the people of the world was the holding of healthy elections in Turkey; although the ruling party was ahead with a very close distance in the knife-edge voting, it did not cheat and the election was extended to the runoff; it was the sign of justice.”
“The freedom of this election was significant; a secular liberal candidate and an Islamist had a healthy competition. What was important that two thoughts and rival ideologies could participate in one election with the motivation of building the country and serving their people. The election proved that in Turkey, Islamists must accept liberals and the liberals must tolerate Islamists,” said the eminent Iranian Sunni leader during his Friday sermons in Zahedan.
He said: “The religion of Islam is a fact in the world and those who do not accept it; they are denying a great reality in the world. There are extremists among democrats and among the secular people, as there are extremists among Muslims. We never support the Muslim extremists, and we are not with a democracy that says democracy is for everything except for Islam; this kind of democracy is wrong. Fanatic liberals are also anti-religion.”
Shaikh Abdol-Hamid described the religion of Islam as the most moderate religion in the world, saying: “In Islam, everyone has a choice whether to accept the religion or not. Nor Allah needs people to accept Islam by force, not Islam needs such followers. God and religion do not need us, but we need Allah and religion. We should accept the facts and realities. We cannot move beyond the truth. In all countries, Islamic or non-Islamic, the religion must be accepted as a fact.”
“Those who do not believe in religion should receive their due rights. We believe in moderate Islam. If we say that everything is for Muslim, this is wrong and extreme, and contrary to the teachings of Islam and the holy Prophet’s Seerah. The rights of all human beings must be observed,” he added more.
“In Turkey’s elections, many religious people supported the opposition party who represented the liberal community and voted for him, and many of those who did not believe in religion voted to the Islamist candidate. The elections were free in this country, and this route is the path to moderation,” said the Friday Imam of Zahedan.
Banning “women” and “Sunni” candidates to run for the presidency was the first discrimination and heresy in the constitution
The Iranian top Sunni cleric went on to insist on holding safe and free elections in Iran, saying: “The Iranian people want free elections. The people of different thoughts must come to the scene; Islamists and non-Islamists should participate in the election. In response to my talks, many say you accompany the opposition wing; in fact, we support the oppressed and the truth, and we are along with the people of Iran, including Shiites, Sunnis and non-Muslims.”
He added: “We are with the non-Muslims living in the country and their right has been lost. We say that if the right is with a Muslim, we are with Muslims, and if the right is with non-Muslims, we stand next to them; this is the teachings of Islam. We are with justice and freedom, and defend the freedom of speech and expression. When we talk about freedom, some say that you support those who do not wear hijab. The people of Iran were adhering to hijab, but the restrictions made women put off their scarves.”
“You were told to solve the problem of women. The same women said that if the authorities had solved our problems, we would obey their commands. The first discrimination that was adopted in the constitution was that the president could not be a Sunni or a woman. Women make up more than half of the population of the country. You passed a law, which is the first step in discrimination,” Imam of the Grand Makki Mosque of Zahedan said.
Shaikh Abdol-Hamid further defended the rights of women and Sunnis and said: “You did not implement justice among sects; you considered one sect as the official sect and pulled out other sects. Although, the constitution respects the rights of Islamic sects, but it did not give us full freedom. Unfortunately, we have fundamental problems. When women and religious and ethnic minorities belong to the same country and defend the country, why they cannot run for the presidency? Why the Iranian nation cannot vote for a woman or for a person they want? So far, the Guardian Council has not approved a woman as a presidential candidate!”
“In the past, I told that the discrimination is the root of all problems in the country to. What is in the constitution of our country does not exist in any constitution of the world. There are articles in the constitution that paralyzed the country. However, all the constitutional clauses are not bad and has strengths, but we say that the strengths of the constitution have not been implemented at all,” the Friday Khateeb of Zahedan criticized some clauses of the constitution.
The eminent Sunni scholar of Iranian Balochistan believed that one thought or party cannot rule the country and said: “All of us are Iranians; we all share in the benefit and loss of the country. Accept the facts and see where the roots of these problems are? People experienced several periods of reforms and were disappointed with the reformists. In the last elections, the officials paved the way for only one specific party to take over the affairs of the country; this happened, but the country was not built and turned from bad to worse. One thought and faction can never rule in the country. There must be grounds for all to share the country’s administrative posts.”
He referred to the bad consequences of unsafe elections and said: “You disappointed the Iranian nation from the election, as in the last election the lowest turnout was registered in the history of the Islamic republic. Sunnis were disappointed in the last elections; the fundamentalists said that you experienced the reformists and now experience the fundamentalists. We voted for fundamentalists, but we did not get our rights, and they disappointed us.”
“The administration of the president Raisi could not fulfil its promises. Before the Bloody incident of Zahedan, I traveled to Tehran two times. In my visits with the officials, I criticized the religious pressures on Sunnis, and said, why do you prevent Sunnis from prayers in prayer houses? Some officials usurped the documents of a prayer house, by use of force,” he said.
The president of Darululoom Zahedan said: “People should be able to offer their prayers freely in the Islamic Republic. Unfortunately, our demands were not met, and the authorities did not act on their promises; the officials disappointed the Iranian people from the election. The Country requires a fundamental change.”
In the Bloody Friday incident of Zahedan, the people were innocent
The president should investigate more on Zahedan’s incident
The most outstanding Iranian Sunni leader referred to the journey of the president Raisi to Chabahar, saying: “President Raisi talked about the bloody Friday incident after 8 months. He said that those who did not riot should be consoled. It appears that the president has not been reported the facts of the incident. People did not riot on that day; there was no protest, and only compassionate criticisms were raised. I have been criticizing and raising our demands for thirty years.”
He continued: “On that day, I advised that the case of Chabahar must be followed up with justice and fairness. I said that “peaceful protest” is the right of the people, and the people were recommended to raise their demands through legal means. If the president does not know, he must know that the incident of Zahedan had already been planned. The documents show that people offer their prayers as normal, but when the shooting starts, a number of people go to the police station. Mr. President re-examine the incident from all angles.”
“The president said that after the incident he sent the interior minister to Zahedan. The interior minister reacted in a way that our people were not satisfied, because these remarks were not based on realities, and many officials wanted to justify massacre of people. It was the demand of people that the crime should have been convicted, and the officials should apologize to the people. We ask the president to investigate and pay attention to the demands of the people.”
This nation cannot be stopped by execution
Criticizing the expansion of executions in the country, the Iranian Sunni leader pointed out: “Be sure that you cannot stop the voice of people by imprisonment, hanging, and pressures. The recent mass executions shocked the entire world. The executions hit the country and people and the religion. There is no execution in the reading of moderate Islam, which is the reading of ours. Extremist branches mostly issue the orders of these executions. The world should not consider executions in the name of Islam. Islam is far from such behaviors.”
“In Islam, there is no compulsory confession. I have a duty to defend the religion of Islam. The nation is hungry and feels humiliated. When 53 million Tomans equal a thousand dollars, how the people of Iran can live? Officials must think to find out the wise solutions. The nation’s problem should be resolved. Today, the issue of hijab and other issues in the country have another color. When problems are resolved, these issues will solve,” said Shaikh Abdol-Hamid.
He added more: “We all are Iranians and have the same aspiration. We are well-wishers to both the nation and the government. You are in power and do not see many things and those who are not in power, they see the problems; ask them. Unfortunately, elites and experts run away from the country. The elites and capable people must come to the scene and build the country.”
Recent executions in Isfahan were painful
The Friday Imam of Sunnis in Zahedan referred to the hanging of three prisoners in Isfahan and said: “Recent executions in Isfahan were shocking. The trust of people towards the state has been damaged. One of the basic problems is the subject of forced confessions. Judicial authorities have said that these people have confessed to murder, but the executed prisoners had sent messages from the prison that they were forced to confess. This is a very important issue.”
Shaikh Abdol-Hamid said: “The people of Isfahan and Iran and many people in the world called for the stop of these executions. Today, people cannot trust officials. It is the duty of the ruler to achieve the trust of its nation. If people trust the government, there will be no problem. Unfortunately, forced confession in the country is common today.”
In his last points, the Friday prayer leader of Sunnis in Zahedan referred to the water portion of the people of Sistan from Hirmand River and urged that experts from both countries should investigate the amount of water in Afghanistan dams, and solve the issue fairly.
He said that the people of Sistan really need the water.