Interviewer: One of the issues that is raised is that of Sunnis’ mosques in non-Sunni regions like Tehran. Don’t they have prayer rooms or mosques in Tehran? What is the difference between the two?
Molavi Abdulhamid: They are different. Mosques are official. Ours is like a room. You get a place and say your prayer in it for a couple of years. And then they tell you that they have sold the house, or they need it themselves. And then you are evicted. But mosque is an endowment, it is always a mosque and it will always remain a mosque. The Sunni population in Tehran is large, and there are no cities in Iran in which there are no Sunnis – there are either working in factories, or studying, or have businesses. There are Sunnis in all cities. Some places more and some places less. Sunnis pass churches; they see Jewish synagogues; they see that Zoroastrians have their own temples. And this is worrying for them.
Interviewer: Shi’as too have some beliefs for themselves, but for preserving the unity, they stand behind the Sunnis to say their prayers at the Hajj ceremony. But Sunnis would not stand behind Shi’as to say their prayers, even in Islamic Unity Conference.
Molavi Abdulhamid: That is because of issues in Islamic jurisprudence.
Interviewer: When they said their prayers standing behind Sunnis, Shi’as go ignore their own jurisprudence. Why don’t Sunnis do the same for preserving unity?
Molavi Abdulhamid: They believe that we shouldn’t change the laws. And Sunnis don’t have “taqiyeh” [dissimulation] and they don’t believe in it. That is why this happens. They believe that we should stick to the common grounds, and these common grounds are sufficient. Wherever there are differences, everyone should follow his own principles. And that is for the best.
Interviewer: As an important religious and national figure in Iran, what do you suggest for resolving issues and differences that we have in the region and in Iran, and also in dispute between Iran and Saudi Arabia that is escalating day by day?
Molavi Abdulhamid: My suggestion is starting a dialogue. And we should avoid using harsh words to address each other – we should avoid it and they should too. That is because the enemies are seeking to sow discord and make the Muslims fight each other. Their job is to create discord. Therefore, we must know the enemies and identify their goal. This is what the supreme leader has emphasized very much on as well. Some people should mediate in between to alleviate the tension and settle the differences. We believe that the problems must be resolved through dialogues – differences among states, among members and groups, among religions and sects. All solutions must be achieved through dialogue. We don’t see war as a solution, and we believe that dialogue and negotiation are solutions. It has less damages, and it is fruitful.
[Molavi Abdulhamid, mass prayer leader of city of Zahedan, talks about discrimination against Sunnis in Iran.]