Today is when Shiites (at least Iranian Shiites) celebrate the birth of Prophet Mohammad, (called Mawlid), which also ends the Unity Week in Iran. Now, Sunnis believe Mohammad was born on 12th of the Islamic month of Rabiul-Awwal and Shiites on the 17th of Rabiul-Awwal. Which was always one of the reasons I laughed at Islam – as if we can know the birth date with any historical accuracy and these two sect clash over such stupid things. Anyway, in Iran a whole week is celebrated which means to celebrate the unity between Shiites and Sunnis. Which means they pretend they don’t hate Sunnis for a week. This is what the Supreme Leader said today (Via Fars News) [notice the language used by this “news” agency]:
Addressing several foreign ambassadors of Islamic countries to Tehran on Tuesday, Ayatollah Khamenei underscored that the bullying powers are seeking to sow discord among Muslims to cover up their own problems.
The Supreme leader further underscored that the hegemonic powers are trying to create Shiiteophobia and Iranophobia to safeguard the Zionist regime.
Iran has always attached crucial importance to paving the way for the enhancement of interaction and cooperation among Muslim nations in a bid to strengthen Muslim unity throughout the world.
In June 2013, Ayatollah Khamenei asked Muslim nations to grow united against the arrogant powers, warning that gaps in the Muslim community will create an opportunity for the Zionist regime to implement its plots against them.
“Unity and companionship among Muslims is an urgent obligation,” Ayatollah Khamenei said in Tehran at the time.
He pointed out that massacre, bloodshed, blind terrorism and its related catastrophes as well as the opportunities created for the occupying Zionist regime are all outcomes of division and difference in the Islamic Ummah.
“Today is the day of test for the Muslims and Islamic states, and Muslim nations should be completely vigilant,” the Iranian Supreme Leader cautioned.
Now, it’s not surprising that he uses the “Zionist regime” to blame, that’s what he does. However, it’s very funny to think that Iranophobia and Shiaphobia is the result of their conspiracy. The question is, how Iran treats its own Sunnis?
News is filtering out of Iran of mass arrests of Sunni Muslims living in the south-east of the country, in the annexed and occupied region of Balochistan. It signifies a coordinated crackdown against religious and ethnic dissidents who oppose Tehran’s clerical sectarianism and its neo-colonial subjugation of the Baloch people.
Iran’s repression, which has intensified since August, is targeting expressions of Baloch identity and culture; in particular expressions of religious freedom and national self-determination.
In a March this year, Iranian parliament member Hossein Ali Shahryari stated that 700 people were awaiting execution in Sistan and Balochistan provinces, many of them Baloch political prisoners. This staggering number of death sentences is evidence of the intense, savage repression that is taking place.
Mulavi Ahmed Naroi, a high-ranking Sunni leader, was arrested on August 9 and is now incarcerated in a Tehran prison. He was member of the editorial board of Sunni Online, a religious website. Another member of the Sunni Online board, Mohammad Yousef Ismailzahi, was arrested on September 9.
The Abu Hanifa Mosque, a Sunni mosque and religious school in city of Zabol, was attacked and demolished, using bulldozers and tractors, on August 27. Many important, priceless editions of the Quran and historic Sunni religious books were destroyed. The mosque’s students and staff were also arrested. They have now completely disappeared. No one knows where they have been taken or what has been done to them. There are fears that they are being tortured or perhaps have been executed in secret.
Soon after the August 27 raid, there were mass raids in which relatives and friends of the arrested people were also arrested by Iranian intelligence agents.
Also, more examples of abuse via Today’s Zaman:
Today, Sunnis in Iran have a substantial population (around 15 million), and I will now mention some of the problems Sunni communities face in Iran. Some of the following items may surprise you, but it is obvious that there is currently very serious Shiite sectarian discrimination in Iran.
Sunnis living in Iran are not allowed to name their children as they like. There is a book of permitted names at civil registers, and no one can pick a name that is not in this book. For instance, Iranian authorities do not allow people to choose Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, or Aisha as names for their children. Civil registers won’t put these names on ID cards. They tend to refer to the famed Persian poet Omar Khayyam as Khayyam, dropping the Omar part.
Sunnis are allowed to serve in the military, but they are not permitted to become officers.
Almost all administrative or employment forms contain the question, “Are you Sunni or Shiite?”
Printing of Sunni reference books is not free.
Religious courses given in schools in predominantly Sunni regions teach Shiite beliefs. Little information is given about Sunnism.
So this is how Iran treats its own Sunnis.
Of course, majority Sunni countries are no better. Saudi Arabia does all the above to Shiites. Bahrain is a Shiite majority country run by a Sunni royal family and an apartheid regime, In countries with sizable portions of both – Iraq, Lebanon, Syria – these two sects clash and fight all the time.
But of course Iran and Saudi Arabia are the most two poisonous countries as they sponsor these groups and have a hand in all struggles in the region.
I think the division between Shiites and Sunnis can be blamed on Shiites and Sunnis, and Supreme Leader himself gets a huge slice of that cake.