Thursday, April 29, 2010

Iran: Government Bans Sunnis from Praying in Universities, Military Camps, Homes

"Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- the Iranian government yesterday issued a decision banning Sunni Muslims from praying at state universities and military camps, Asharq Al-Awsat has learned. This decision comes within the framework of pressurizing the Sunni community in Iran, which has been taking place for decades.

"This ban, which was confirmed by Sunni sources in Tehran, came after Sunni Muslims were banned from holding communal Friday prayers services in their homes in cities like Isfahan, Shiraz, Kerman, and Yazd.

"Sheikh Abdul-Hamid Esmaeel Zahi, the highest authority for Sunni Muslims in Iran and the imam and preacher of the Makki Mosque...criticized this decision, stating that the Iranian constitution does not prevent any religious group from practicing its faith, regardless of its sect. He added, 'There should not be a ban on performing prayers, rather everybody should be invited to perform prayers, and we hope that all Sunnis and Shia take the initiative to perform this obligation that is the most important pillar of Islam after belief in the oneness of God.' "

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