Friday, 7 October 2011

Iran: Ahwazi Sunni Cleric Faces prison for “distortion of Islam”

Iranian authorities has charged Sheikh Abdul Karim Al Salehi Imam of Shafi’i Mosque with distortion of Islam and Spreading Wahhasim in Southwest city of Abbadan. He is being held in Abbadan Ahmed Abad prison, facing possible 10 year prison sentence.
Iran’s judiciary claims that Sheikh Abdul Karim spreading “Wahhabism” among Ahwazi Arabs youths and urged them convert to distorted Wahhabi Islam. Authorities summoned him to an appeals court on May, 2011. His family said he’s been denied access to lawyer.

Since 2000, intelligence and judiciary officials have carried out many arrests against Sunni or Sunni converts in Al Ahwaz.

Officials have also targeted and arrested other Arab groups, including home mosque. In November 2005 security forces arrested about 300 Ahwazi Sunni Following Friday's Eid prayers when 4,000 young Arabs clashed with police after police attacked the prayers wearing Arabic clothing with tear gas grenades .Vigils were held at the homes of those arrested and injured by the police, with groups of people offering gifts and comfort to their families.

The government has suggested that all Ahwazi Arab unrest as a foreign conspiracy, although the government's own statistics reveal high levels of unemployment, poverty, illiteracy and child malnutrition. The adversity suffered by Ahwazi Arabs is occurring in a region that contributes 80-90 per cent of the country's oil production. Independent assessments, such as the one carried out by UN Special Rapporteur Miloon Kothari in July, have highlighted the adverse economic impact of land confiscations on Ahwazi Arabs. This has been a major contributor to civil unrest in Arabistan Al Ahwaz.

In 2007 Iran's revolutionary court sentenced 7 years in prison and 8-year exile against imam and preacher of the Imam Al-Shafi’i Mosque, the only mosque of the Sunnis in the region, Sheikh Abdel Hamid Al Dosari have been detained by the Iranian intelligence on the grounds that it was behind the bombing of the popular uprising that erupted in Ahwaz in April 2005, then released on bail, was barred from any religious activity.
On 11 February 2006 authority arrested Sheikh Saleh al-Haydari, Imam of Da’ira Mosque following Eid Al Adha prayer. He was held in incommunicado and ill-treated.

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