Sunnis demand right to hold prayers
The Sunni cleric Molavi Abolhamid Esmail Zehi, who leads Friday mass in Zahedan, has called on Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei to allow Sunni spiritual leaders to hold Fetr Eid mass prayers “in large cities where Sunnis are not majorities.”
A Sunni website reports that Sunni minorities are not allowed to hold their own Fetr Eid mass prayer in large Iranian cities, adding: “It is said that in Tehran, security police have taken signed statements from Sunni prayer leaders that they will not carry out the auspicious Fetr Eid.”
Yesterday, 14 MPs called on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to allow Sunni residents of Tehran to hold Fetr Eid Friday prayers at the end of the month-long Ramadan fast.
While Tehran and other large Iranian cities have several large synagogues and churches, the Islamic Republic does not allow Sunnis to have separate mosques of their own for Friday and special prayers.
Molavi Abdolhamid adds: “We did not expect that in Tehran, which the Supreme Leader calls the heart of the Muslim World and the hope of all Muslims, the minority Sunni Muslims would be denied their own Friday prayers.”
He said one of the major problems facing Iranian Sunnis is their lack of direct contact with the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, to discuss their immediate concerns.
The right of Sunnis to hold their religious ceremonies and traditions is stipulated in the Iranian constitution.