Complain to Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief

Ms. Asma Jahangir
Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief
c/o Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights United Nations
Palais des Nations, 8 – 14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

February 24, 2009

RE: Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief

Dear Ms. Jahangir:

Urgent investigation is required into the atrocity against the followers of Nematollahi-Gonabadi Sufi (Sufis) order by the government of Islamic Republic of Iran.

On February 18, 2009, about 200 government security forces, police and plainclothes agents under the cover of night surrounded the Hosseinieh (place of gathering and prayer) of Nematollahi-Gonabadi Sufi order, located in the historical Takhteh Foulad Cemetery in Esfahan, Iran and completely demolished the building using bulldozers and loaders.

Subsequently, on February 21, 2009, more than sixty thousands of Sufis from all over Iran decided to bring out their voices against the oppression of the government of Islamic Republic of Iran, and to denounce demolishing of their Hosseinieh by gathering in front of the Parliament, in Tehran. Security forces and plainclothes agents arrested more than 850 members of the Sufis, before them finding their ways to the Parliament. Although, the latest news from Iran indicates most of those who were arrested are freed since then, but still more than 120 Sufis have been transferred to unit 242 of the dreadful notorious Evin Prison for interrogation and torture.

Families of those who remained detained are saying that they have been unable to obtain information about their beloved ones’ whereabouts, legal status, health and conditions. Lawyers representing detained Sufis are prevented from meeting with their clients.
The repression by the authorities came amid about what appears to be increasing demonization of the Sufi Muslim and other religious minorities in Iran.

I am requesting you and your organization to take an immediate action to stop this atrocity in Iran. The Sufis have been facing increasing persecution in Iran. Many worship houses have been destroyed and Sufis have faced detention and torture. Recently, a few of attorneys representing detained Sufis have lost their licenses simply because of representing them in the Islamic Revolutionary courts. The government of Islamic Republic of Iran initiated its aggression against the peaceful and respected Sufi Muslim in Iran since early 2006, when the security forces and government supporters attacked, demolished and burnt the Hosseiniehs to the ground in the City of Qom (February 15, 2006) and the City of Boroujerd (November 11, 2007). On June 11, 2008, they forcibly entered and bulldozed the house of Mr. Javadai, (also place of gathering and prayer) in the Town of Charmehin, Esfahan.

In Iran, where mosques and Hosseiniehs are built without requiring the necessary permits, demolishing and burning Sunni Muslims’ mosques, Sufis’ Hosseiniehs and their place of residence are clear denouncement of Iranian Islamic Constitution by the Iranian Government. While the Government of Iran condemns the demolishing of Palestinians’ houses in the Gaza by the Israeli’s forces, but yet permits such action to take place at home, under their authority, is simply vindication of manipulating and ridiculing the international community.
The Sufi Muslim has no other choice but to seek redress and solutions at the doorsteps of the United Nations, international community, especially the International Court of Justice, Amnesty International, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights. On behalf of all those oppressed, suppressed and marginalized Sufi Muslims and other religious and ethnic minorities, I formally request that you exercise all powers conferred upon you by the United Nation, the most supreme world democratic organ, to take notice of this struggle to protect Sufis’ most basic human rights, and realize the urgency of the situation of Sufis and other minorities in Iran.

11 Responses to “Complain to Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief”

  1. Jorge Says:

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  2. Joseph Says:

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  3. Lester Says:

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  4. Sam Says:

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  5. ben Says:

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  8. terrence Says:

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  11. Rick Says:

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