7 Sunni converts arrested for holding congregational Taraweeh prayers

HRANA News Agency – Seven Sunni men from Iran’s Ahwazi Arab minority were arrested on Friday after holding congregational Taraweeh prayers in the north of Ahwaz city, Khuzestan province of Iran.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), the men, who had all converted from Shi’ism to Sunni Islam, were arrested before dawn by security forces on 18 July 2014 and taken to an unknown location.

The seven men, Khudair Sharhani, Musa Zargani, Hossein Zargani, Mohsen Zargani, Mohammad Zargani, Hamid Zargani and Salem Zargani, have not been allowed to contact their families and there is no news about their condition.

Shias regard Taraweeh prayers held in congregation as a religious innovation, and in recent years there have been reports of security forces attempting to prevent congregational Sunni Taraweeh prayers from being held in the Khuzestan province.

There has been a sharp increase in the number of Sunni converts arrested in the Khuzestan province. Earlier this year, four Sunni converts were sentenced to imprisonment and compulsory participation in Shia rituals by Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court in Ahwaz, after being accused of “engaging in propaganda against the state’s official religion [Shi’ism].”

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