The Situation of Darwish Minority Warrants International Attention

All religious minorities are repressed to some degree in Iran. I think the Bahai and the atheists have it worst, as they are barred from all social rights and they could face unusual punishments, and also Sunnis, who have it better on paper only but are actually persecuted mercilessly, and then also Jews, Zoroastrians, and Christians. However, you know of all of this, one minority you might not know about are the Darwish minority. They are Muslims, and Shiites, and they are not a different sect, but they only represent a different reading of Shiite Islam, so they’re basically a different school. They usually stress tolerance, and abandoning worldly goods, they strictly believe in the separation of religion and politics, and they celebrate god through a ritualistic dance. They’re a harmless and tolerant minority. But they’re not tolerated.

The have faced arrests for nothing but practicing their religion and their worship places has been destroyed by the regime. During the 2009 elections they endorsed Mehdi Karroubi, which was the first and last time, because he was one of the few prominent politicians who had stood for their rights. After the events of the election and the oppression of the protestors where Karroubi became one of the two leaders of the Green Movement and subsequently put under house arrest, they stood by people, defending their rights and freedoms, and they faced even more repression and troubles for that. The regime even arrested their lawyers for the “crime” of defending them in the court.

The situation is very important now, because right now the Darwish are staging a mass hunger strike, and a protest. The purpose of this protest is to ask the regime to stop abusing their political prisoners and to grant them basic medical attention. They have staged peaceful protests and more of them have been arrested, they have been beaten up by the riot police. Even children and the elderly are arrested.

The Darwish have said they have come to get their rights (again, they’re asking for nothing more than letting the prisoners have access to medicine and spend their prison time in a more humane situation) or to die. The situation is dangerous.

This merits international attention and attention from the international media. Please share this post wherever you can. Let us see some outrage from the world.

About Kaveh Mousavi

Kaveh Mousavi is the pseudonym of an atheist ex-Muslim living in Iran, subject to one of the world’s remaining theocracies. He is a student of English Literature, an aspiring novelist, and part-time English teacher. He is passionate about politics, video games, heavy metal music, and cinema. He was born at the tenth anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of Iran. He has ditched the Islamic part, but has kept some of the revolutionary spirit.

  • rapiddominance

    The world, as I see it, is full of outrageous things–but your compassion for these people is not one of them. Thank you for your humanism.

    In your last post, you spoke of the general nature of the Iranian population and how THAT has improved in the last decades to the present. What level of sympathy and support are the Darwish getting from fellow Iranians? I ask because . . .

    I’m skeptical that enough international outrage over the treatment of this small minority will change a lot. The western world already has intense negative sentiments towards your government, and I don’t THINK that this issue will push things over the edge. I speak as one on the outside looking in, but admittedly with blury vision.

    • Kaveh Mousavi

      I honestly don’t think ordinary people have any problem with the Darwish.

      • rapiddominance

        I didn’t think that normal Iranians would have a problem with them. They need to be cared about. They need substantial support from non-Darwish. General neutrality won’t cut it. You’re evidence that at least some Iranians care.

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Shared this on facebook. First time I’ve heard of them, so this si something new I’ve learnt today – thanks.

    Sounds like these people, this school, is a positive model of what Shiia islam could be at its best not its worst which we see with so much of the rest of them eg. Hezbollah, the Syrian extremists fighting in the Civil War, Iran’s ayatollah’s, etc.

    Hope international pressure might make a difference.

  • rapiddominance

    I’m thinking about comment #2, and instead of being such a pessimist I could at least do a facebook post. I suppose that sometimes the small things we do might not seem to make a big difference in the grand scheme of things, but for every voice . . .

    Let me try optimism this time.

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  • sheikhmahandi

    Would this be the sect more commonly known in the west as whirling dervishes?

    • Kaveh Mousavi

      Slightly different – they’re the Sunni version, I’m writing about the Shiite version.

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