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Iranian Sufis Defy Tehran Dictatorship

3:29 PM, Feb 27, 2013 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
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The Sufis wrote of their attitude and that of their children, “The [Sufis] never bow in front of anything but God, and they will never sell their dignity to these fools, to live a worthless life, even if this resistance would cost them their lives.” The Sufis announced they “cannot remain silent and bear oppression . . . like all their leaders in history who have never borne oppression. . . . In our homeland, anyone who cries out for freedom must go to prison so that nobody should hear a voice demanding mercy and freedom of thought. The oppressors are frightened that people might learn how that freedom can be gained.”

In an earlier letter to Khamenei, the Sufis demanded answers to key questions: “Do all the citizens of our nation have equal rights in our constitution? Who or where are the sources of so much oppression and unjustified actions in destroying the worship-places of Gonabadi Sufis?” They stipulated further, “The legal representatives of the accused had no access to the contents of the case and no permission to meet with their clients (without presenting the case and all the related evidence, no court can be held, [and] our lawyers at no time had any access to the contents of this case). According to law the accused should be informed at least five days before the beginning of the trial to prepare his defense, but in this case we were informed orally only 10 hours before that. Can such a trial be fair or just?”

Seyed Mostafa Azmayesh, a Gonabadi representative living in Europe, articulated the struggle between Sufis and the Iranian government in a commentary following the Qom destruction of the Gonabadi house in 2009. “Sufis are a danger to the ayatollahs,” he affirmed. “In the background is the question of to whom the Iranians will donate their voluntary religious contributions, to the ayatollah of their choice or, as is happening more and more, to the charity organizations of the different Sufi orders.” The Islamic Republic, he continued, “has caused an aversion to traditional Islam in a lot of people. The Sufis offer a way out; with them people are in another atmosphere without having to abandon their religion. The spiritual experience may differ but the Sufis are within the Islamic tradition.

“However, the number [of Sufis] increases continuously and this makes some of the ayatollahs nervous. It is a threat to their base of power.” The same may be said today.

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