Khorramshahr’s Mass Prayer Leader

[Mass Prayer Leader of Khorramshahr is talking about different issues such as the name of the city, clothing, and use of Arabic language, while criticizing the way Iranian officials interpret them.]

Mass Prayer Leader talks about the name of the city: What was the old name of Khorramshahr? Mohammerah. Why are you afraid to say that you are from Mohammerah, when they ask you? What is wrong with that? I am Mass Prayer Leader from Mohammerah. If I say I am from Mohammerah, does that mean that I am counter-revolutionary?

He warns Iranian officials: Our officials—I am talking about some of them—must pay attention that if somebody uses the word Mohammerah, he is not counter-revolutionary, he is not against religion. In our local language, Khorramshahr and Mohammerah are the same. During Reza Shah, this name changed into Mohammerah. Now if someone says Mohammerah, has he blasphemed? Now if a group of young people come and say Mohammerah, should they come and arrest them? Unfortunately, some of our religious youth were challenged as to why they said Mohammerah. I am Mass Prayer Leader, and I say Mohammerah. Let those who cannot see it is Mohammerah, eat their hearts away.

Mass Prayer Leader criticizes the way Iranian officials interpret using the word Mohammerah: But this doesn’t mean that when I say Mohammerah, you should abandon using Khorramshahr and say Mohammerah. It means that the person who has used the word Mohammerah is not counter-revolutionary or against religion. He or she belongs to this city. He is Velayat-oriented. He is from Khorramshahr, from Abadan, from Khuzestan. Why should we make them sensitive [to this issue]?

He talks about the way people dress and the way it should be interpreted: The local, official clothing of people in Khorramshahr is ‘dishdasha’ because we are Arabs. It is ‘kaffiyeh’, it is ‘abaya’. But it should not be abused by some. Arabic clothing means dishdasha. But when it becomes special clothing of Wahhabis, it becomes short dishdasha and red kaffiyeh. And it becomes an excuse in enemies’ hands. Some should not abuse this. But this is the truth. In Sistan and Baluchistan, in Kurdistan, what is the people’s most common clothing? Our official clothing in Abadan and Khorramshahr is dishdasha. Now someone is wearing dishdasha and kaffiyeh, do you want to arrest him? On the one hand, he should not take advantage of the situation by dressing like a special group. The main enemy is Wahhabism. When you want to know a Wahhabi in Medina or in Saudi Arabia—there are not many Wahhabis—it has one sign: short dishdasha up to his shins, and a red kaffiyeh. This is Wahhabi. But it doesn’t mean that whoever puts on a red kaffiyeh is Wahhabi.

Mass Prayer Leader justifies use of Arabic in his city: Our local language is Arabic. They brought down a billboard on which someone had written with large letters in Arabic and with small letters in Farsi. The international language of Islamic world must become Arabic. Of course, Farsi is the official language of the country, and there is no doubt about it. But the international of [inaudible]. In Islamic world, they should try as well. The only language which is the language of Quran and language of religion is Arabic. And the officials must try to make the international language of Islamic world the language of Quran. And that is Arabic.