Sunnis in Birjand with Only One Mosque

Sunnis in Birjand with Only One Mosque

Birjand is the provincial capital of Khorasan-e Jonoubi (South Khorasan) in the eastern part of Iran. It is one of the famous and historical Iranian cities with more than 200 thousand population. It is only 150 kilometer away from Afghanistan’s border.
According to local sources, about 45 thousand Sunnis live in Birjand city. Like many other towns in Iran where Sunnis are in minority, they suffer from lack of religious freedom. This article reflects some of the restrictions and obstacles the Sunnis have been facing in Birjand.

Only one mosque
There is only one mosque for the Sunni community in the city. It was built before the 1979 revolution. But people could rebuild it into three floors. But still Sunni worshipers suffer from lack of mosques. They are supposed to offer Friday and Eid prayers in streets as their only mosque is not sufficient.
Masjid-un-Nabi is the only mosque of Sunnis in Birjand which is next to their only Islamic seminary – As-Seddiq – and it is the center of Tablighi Jamaa’t in the region, too.
Sunni activists told “SunniOnline” that they had been asking the provincial and city officials to allot Sunni community a place for Eid prayers, but their demand had not been accepted actually yet.

Few prayer-houses with restrictions
There are 13 prayer-houses in the city of Birjand which have been bought or taken by lease by Sunnis. They can only offer prayers and even they cannot use loudspeaker for Adhan.
Delivering speech and organizing Qur’anic classes are forbidden in those prayer-houses. They only can organize classes for teaching the Qur’an in summer vocations for school students.
As well as, Tablighi Jamaa’t cannot stay and work in the Sunni prayer-houses of Birjand as they do usually in mosques. Once a time there was a group of Tablighi Jamaa’t in any prayer-house, the next day on morning security personnel locked and sealed that prayer-house before worshipers.
According to local sources, there are some strange conditions for getting permission from officials to open any prayer-house. When there are more 100 families in any town, then they can request for any prayer-house. As well as, they should provide names, addresses and full details of all Sunni residents of that area to the officials.
It is noteworthy that Sunnis are in majority in some cities and towns of South Khorasan. Darmian, Ab-e Garm, Asadiyyah, Tabas Masina and Bojd can be mentioned for example, which are near to Birjand.


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