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The Oppressed Sunnis of Iran

The Sunni population of Iran has been in existence since the conquest of Persia by Caliph Omar Ibn al-Khattāb (radiy Allāhu ‘anhu) in the years 632–634 CE. Iran remained under Sunni rule for over 800 years until the Safavid Dynasty arose and overturned its leadership in the year 1501. The Safavids began to spread Shia Islām in Iran leading to the persecution and exile of the Sunni population. Many accepted death over converting to Shia Islām.[1] Today the Sunnis of Iran are the biggest and most oppressed minority with many of their basic human rights heavily restricted.

The main purpose and goal of this article is simple: to raise awareness of the atrocious and grave injustices committed against our brothers and sisters in Iran. This matter has been occurring for many years, particularly since the “Islamic Revolution” in 1979. Organisations such as ‘Sunni Prisoners Iran’[2] have formed with the sole objective of spreading awareness in an effort to attract international attention and support, which by the will of Allāh will bring about positive change for our brothers and sisters there.

This article will feature many excerpts from some of the families affected by the injustices. Their words truly reveal the vile extent to which the Iranian regime goes in oppressing these innocent people. For instance the mother of Sharam Ahmadi[3], who at the time of writing is facing execution, writes to the Iranian authorities;


“I am a heartbroken mother, from years of waiting for my children to return home, my eyes fixed on the door.”[4]

In the summer of 2009, two of her children Sharam and Bahram were arrested by members of the intelligence agency and the IRGC [Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps]. Sharam spent 33 months in solidarity confinement. After spending 43 months in stress and uncertainty, he was given the death sentence. Bahram was 17 at the time of his arrest. On the 27th of December 2012, only three years after his imprisonment, Bahram was executed.[5] His body was not even returned to his family, nor did they allow him to bid his family farewell, neither in person nor over the telephone, nor was his family even informed of the execution.

The mother’s husband and children did not inform her of the execution due to her poor health. But on the 3rd of July 2013, she travelled to visit her children. On only noticing Sharam in the visiting room, she enquired about the whereabouts of Bahram. Sharam told her that “they only approved a meeting with me.”[6] As a result, she approached an officer and complained that she had travelled a great length (600 kilometres) to simply see her children, enquiring as to why she was not allowed to see her other child. Thereupon the officer checked his name, turned to the concerned mother and told her that “… he was executed six months ago.”[7] Brothers and sisters imagine what this mother; our mother is going through. Her young first son executed while the other awaits execution. Years of raising her children, years of effort, pain and struggle gone in the mere moments the noose took the life of our dear brother. The poor suffering and grieving mother fell unconscious on hearing the news and was taken away by her children, hardly remembering anything of the visit. She regained full consciousness five months later in hospital. During her discharge from hospital, she was told that she suffered an accident, losing an eye and leaving half of her body paralysed. This poor mother is pleading with the regime’s rulers to stop her second son from be executed for no real reason other than the fact that he is a Sunni Iranian preacher, preaching the truth of Islām to the people.

Another case is that of Mohammad Gharibi[8], who since the 26th of June 2014 has been in prison for more than five years. His father, Hassan, describes him as “a person of the mosque, he used to pray in congregation and he would always go to the mosque. In the month of Ramadān, he would always be awake [worshiping] at night.”[9]

Mohammad was married and had a young boy, whom at the time of his arrest was only three years old. Now his son is eight years old and asks regularly about his father. Whilst Mohammad was in prison his mother died. Iranian authorities did not even allow him the simple right of attending his own mother’s funeral. His father furthermore reports that Mohammad has “regularly been physically and psychologically tortured.”[10] This again demonstrates the ill treatment these authorities lend to their so-called ‘brothers’. These simple people are repeatedly treated like animals, constantly tortured and their basic human rights abused. Is this what the Iranian regime refers to as unity? Does it desire a unity only when it benefits its interests? Is it only when people compromise on their core beliefs, in what makes those people who they are today that the Sunni population in Iran will find peace and security?

Indeed the grief can be seen in Hassan’s words when he describes his son’s death penalty. Asking why, he finds no reason but because he performs his religious obligations and that “he was a Sunni, [this is] his crime that they have sentenced him for!”[11] His father describes his initial sentencing:


“They held a court [just] for formalities, and they issued a verdict for him on false charges. This is a government plot! Anyone who is a Sunni, and who [performs] religious activities, is jailed. And they issue charges against them, and false charges of ‘Moharabeh’ [enmity against God] are filed against them.”[12]

Towards the end of the letter Hassan has a simple request, which outlines one of the aims of this article; not just to raise awareness but to encourage people to make Du’ā for our brothers and sisters in the region:


“I ask that anyone who knows of my situation, I want you to pray for the release of my son, and use all of your efforts towards releasing political prisoners of faith.”[13]

Indeed these two letters are just the tip of the iceberg, serving to demonstrate the struggle of the many brothers and sisters jailed in Iran under the common charges of being part of a “Salafi group” or the charge of ‘Moharabeh’, enmity against God, in the regime’s vile attempt to justify these imprisonments and executions. Often, these detainees are tortured and as one brother describes[14], the torture is both physical and psychological. Prisoners are not even spared of violent raids. On the 31st of May 2014[15], police raided Section 4, Ward 10 of the Rajai Shahr Prison in the city of Karaj which holds 95 Sunni prisoners. Some reports indicate that religious books were disrespected and that the personal property of inmates was seized. Reports indicate that books such as the Holy Qur’ān were thrown to the floor, left ‘under their feet’.[16]

Our third case is outlined in a letter written to the Iranian authorities on behalf of the Sunni prisoners[17] in Iran’s ‘Rajai Shahr’, ‘Ghezel Hesar’ and ‘Evin’ prisons. The letter argues that since the ‘Islamic Revolution’ in Iran the government policy has been to suppress opponents, critics and those with different beliefs to it, including Christians, Jews, Bahia’s and Sunni Iranians amongst others.


“Each year, they think of more restrictions, so it has been proven to all that the minorities are always living under subjugation and struggle.”[18]

The Iranian government furthermore commonly tries to employ the tactic of ‘forced confession’, compelling members of minority communities to openly say their oppression is non-existent. Members of these communities are arrested under the guise of ‘National Security’. During the kidnapping of the Iranian border guards this year[19], the authorities carried out an emotional campaign showing the struggle of their wives and children. In the letter drafted by those Sunni prisoners they asked why a similar campaign did not exist for them. Do these Sunni prisoners not have families, wives, and children?[20]Discrimination against minorities is even embedded in the Iranian constitution. Article 115[21] excludes all non-Shiite citizens from the presidency of Iran, according to this provision the holder of the office must belong to the official school of Islamic law (Madhab), causing many issues in terms of representation for minorities.

The basic human rights that are abused by Iranian officials are enshrined in international treaties such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [22] which Iran is a signatory of. In addition to this, Iran has a seat within the United Nations Human Rights Council but primitive human values remain absent.

Since the Iranian revolution 38 years ago, there has never been a serious call for reform and although some such as Khatami and the current president Rouhani have made calls for reform, they have been heavily restricted by many elements of the government. There are certain areas such as healthcare that have been reformed or are in the process of reformation but the treatment of minorities seems to worsen every day.

The final statement of the letter reads:


“Not a single year has passed without adding a black mark to their own record. They arrest and kill Sunni leaders, they destroy and ban people from [Sunni] mosques, expelling Imāms, creating fear and intimidation. Now, let you, the free people who stand for freedom, judge the situation.”[23]

It is of utmost importance to learn of the situation of our brothers and sisters in the region, so that we can propagate this to others and more importantly make heartfelt Du’ā for them. Allāh says:


The believers are but brothers, so make settlement between your brothers. And fear Allāh that you may receive mercy.[24]

The noble Prophet Mohammad sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wasallam further emphasises the magnificence of making Du’ā for an ordinary individual, how then for the oppressed?


It is narrated from Abū Dardā that the Prophet (sall Allāhu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘The Du’ā of a person for his Muslim brother in his absence will be answered. At his head there is an angel, and every time he prays for him for something good, the angel who has been appointed to be with him, says, ‘Āmīn, may you have likewise’.’ [25]

May Allāh ’azza wa jal alleviate the suffering of our brothers and sisters in Iran, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Somalia, and all over the Ummah of Muhammad sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wasallam; and may Allāh make us of those who are in service to the Ummah of Muhammed sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wasallam and of service to the dīn of Islām in the manner that pleases Allāh ’azza wa jal.

Source: www.islam21c.com


For more information:



[1] A new introduction to Islam, By Daniel W. Brown, pg.191

[2] http://Sunniprisonersiran.com/ (accessed 22/06/2014)

[3] http://Sunniprisonersiran.com/a-letter-from-a-grieving-mother-you-have-already-executed-one-of-my-sons-dont-execute-another/  (accessed 22/06/2014)

[4]http://Sunniprisonersiran.com/a-letter-from-a-grieving-mother-you-have-already-executed-one-of-my-sons-dont-execute-another/  (accessed 22/06/2014)

[5]http://Sunniprisonersiran.com/a-letter-from-a-grieving-mother-you-have-already-executed-one-of-my-sons-dont-execute-another/  (accessed 22/06/2014)

[6]http://Sunniprisonersiran.com/a-letter-from-a-grieving-mother-you-have-already-executed-one-of-my-sons-dont-execute-another/  (accessed 22/06/2014)

[7]http://Sunniprisonersiran.com/a-letter-from-a-grieving-mother-you-have-already-executed-one-of-my-sons-dont-execute-another/  (accessed 22/06/2014)

[8]http://Sunniprisonersiran.com/letter-from-the-father-of-a-Sunni-prisoner-sentenced-to-death-in-iran/  (accessed 22/06/2014)

[9]http://Sunniprisonersiran.com/letter-from-the-father-of-a-Sunni-prisoner-sentenced-to-death-in-iran/  (accessed 22/06/2014)

[10]http://Sunniprisonersiran.com/letter-from-the-father-of-a-Sunni-prisoner-sentenced-to-death-in-iran/  (accessed 22/06/2014)

[11]http://Sunniprisonersiran.com/letter-from-the-father-of-a-Sunni-prisoner-sentenced-to-death-in-iran/  (accessed 22/06/2014)

[12]http://Sunniprisonersiran.com/letter-from-the-father-of-a-Sunni-prisoner-sentenced-to-death-in-iran/  (accessed 22/06/2014)

[13] http://Sunniprisonersiran.com/letter-from-the-father-of-a-Sunni-prisoner-sentenced-to-death-in-iran/  (accessed 22/06/2014)

[14]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayvX8mqhj5Q  (accessed 26/06/2014)

[15] http://Sunniprisonersiran.com/security-forces-conduct-raid-on-Sunni-prisoners-throw-quran-to-the-floor-under-their-feet/  (accessed 24/06/2014)

[16]http://Sunniprisonersiran.com/security-forces-conduct-raid-on-Sunni-prisoners-throw-quran-to-the-floor-under-their-feet/  (accessed 24/06/2014)

[17]http://Sunniprisonersiran.com/irans-war-against-Sunni-muslims-a-letter-from-Sunni-prisoners/  (accessed 24/06/2014)

[18]http://Sunniprisonersiran.com/irans-war-against-Sunni-muslims-a-letter-from-Sunni-prisoners/  (accessed 24/06/2014)

[19]http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/04/us-iran-pakistan-guards-idUSBREA330VZ20140404  (accessed26/06/2014)

[20]http://Sunniprisonersiran.com/irans-war-against-Sunni-muslims-a-letter-from-Sunni-prisoners/  (accessed24/06/2014)

[21] Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran

[22]Article 2, Universal Declaration of Human Rights


[24] Qur’ān Al-Hujurāt 49:10

[25]Sahīh Muslim

About Eskandar al-Fārsi


  1. The Prophet S.A.W said there will be 73 sects in Islam, and only one true fact so study Islam carefully and follow the tariqa of Prophet S.AW. If in doubt about anything abstain and remain steadfast to his Sunnah and the Quran.

  2. Samy Merchant

    Thanks for the above article.

    The fascist, hypocritical regime of Iran is not only oppressing the Sunnis but also the NON-Sunni Persians of Iran. Prophet Muhammad (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) had praised the Persians in an authentic narration:

    Sahih Muslim: “THE MERITS OF THE PEOPLE OF PERSIA” Hadeeth 6177

    Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) as saying: “If the din were at the Pleiades (a star), even then a person from Persia would have taken hold of it, or one amongst the people of Persian descent would have surely found it.”

    Let’s not forget the poor Persian people under the strangle hold of the fascist Iranian regime.


    • Samy Merchant

      Remember, the majority of Persians don’t even practice the Iranian regime version of Islam. Iran has the lowest mosque attendance of all Muslim countries. And it is the fault of Sunni fanatics (“the Shia are Kuffar” types) that the correct version of Islam has not been conveyed to the Persians. Sunni Muslims must give Sunni dawa with wisdom.

  3. SubhanAllah, thanks for this article guys. Its very easy to dismiss Iran as a monolith, but the reality is that there are oppressed minorities and serious social and political illnesses that can be addressed inshallah. May Allah free the oppressed and guide the masses of Iran, and my Allah punish all opresserors.

  4. aa.. ensure this truth hit saudi custodian of 2 holy masjids where shias are free, including at janatul baki kabratan nightly.

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