Saturday, February 4, 2023

Sunni cleric kidnapped, murdered in Sistan and Baluchestan, southeast Iran

A senior Iranian Sunni cleric has been kidnapped and murdered by unknown assailants in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan, local officials say.

The province’s prosecutor, Mahdi Shamsabadi, said Molavi Abdolvahed Rigi, the Friday prayers leader of Imam Hussein Mosque in the city of Khash, had been kidnapped from the backdoor of the mosque on Thursday and taken away in a plateless car.

His body was found a day later on a roadside with three bullets in the head.

An investigation has been launched into the crime.

The cleric had earlier distanced himself and his followers from the recent deadly riots against the Islamic establishment, which have severely hit the border province.

Recently, Molawi Abdolvahed held a meeting with the representatives of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, during which he said he had received death threats for supporting the Iranian government.

“Not a single person from the Imam Hussein Mosque, where I’m the Friday prayers leader, took to the streets and joined the riots. I said no one had the right to leave the mosque [to join rioters] because we knew hypocrites were out there and we know what they’re doing,” the cleric said.

“We have nothing to say aside from Islam, the Islamic establishment, Iran and brotherhood with Shias. If you read history, you’ll realize how close we, the Sunnis of Sistan and Baluchestan, have been to Shia brothers,” he added.

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