The Iranian Regime is trying to eradicate Sufism in Iran, because it poses a threat to the Extremist interpretation of Islam they wish to spread throughout the world. If they succeed, we can expect an increase in the extremist interpretation of Islam throughout the west.
Dr Noor Ali Tabandeh is the spiritual leader of one of the largest Sufi orders in the world, the Gonabadi Sufis. Sufism is a spiritual path, dating back many centuries, which encompasses mystical teachings and spiritual practices with the aim of seeking one’s essence within oneself.
At 91 years of age, Dr Tabandeh just like Rumi is the embodiment of Sufi values. He has spent his life committed to benefiting humanity. During his many years as a Human Rights Lawyer he worked tirelessly to promote constitutional reform in Iran pushing for secular freedoms of expression, ideas and belief. As a result of this he spent 2 years in prison, 6 months of which was in solitary confinement.
Many parallels can be drawn between Dr Tabandeh and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In the same way the Dalai Lama was forced to flee Tibet back in 1959, following the invasion of the newly formed communist Chinese Government, so now Dr Tabandeh, and his 8 million followers, are confronted by ongoing systematic oppression by the Islamic Regime in Iran.
Having been under House Arrest since 19th February this year, and at the age of 91, Dr Tabandeh is in a delicate and dangerous situation. Many have spoken out about the current plight of Sufi’s and Dr Tabandeh, particularly following the recent execution of an innocent Sufi by the name of Mohammad Salas, which caused International outcry. Some important figures include Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, renowned Human Rights Lawyers such as Shirin Ebadi, Hollywood actress Nazanin Boniadi, and numerous MEP’s including Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament.
Yet Mr Tabandeh remains in house arrest and more than 400 Sufi’s are imprisoned without fair trial.
Matters are further complicated following the infiltration of the Gonabadi order by members of the Iranian government, intent on gaining control from within. Sufism is seen to pose a threat, as a result of the peaceful alternative it offers to an increasingly aggressive interpretation of Shia Islam, currently propagated by the regime.
Many experts have noted that Sufism offers the perfect antidote to Islamic Extremism, due to it being based upon tolerance and Human Rights. This was defined clearly by famous Sufi Master Sa’adi in his following poem, which is written at the entrance of the UN:
“Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human being you cannot retain.”
By supporting the Gonabadi Sufi’s in Iran, collectively we can help restore balance and stability within Iran, the region and consequently within the global society.
In order to achieve this, the International community and the responsible Political figures must demand the immediate release of Dr Tabandeh from House arrest, the release of all unjustly held Sufi prisoners and adherence to the International Charter of Human Rights by the Iranian Government.
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