Senior Iranian Sunni cleric Mowlana Abdolhamid has written to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and President Hassan Rohani to protest the demolition of the Sunni prayer house in the Poonak neighbourhood of Tehran.

Mowlana Abdolhamid

Mowlana Abdolhamid

In his letter, the Friday Mass Imam of Zahedan decries the lack of a building permit to allow the construction of a Sunni mosque in the capital, adding that the demolition of the prayer house was “the last thing expected by the Sunni community”.

On Wednesday July 29, the Sunni prayer house in Poonak was demolished by Tehran City authorities and security forces.

“While extremism, heresy, divisions and violence are taking over the world, and the world of Islam is in need of peace and tolerance, Sunni brothers and sisters did not expect this,” Mowlana Abdolhamid writes.

The senior cleric adds that such actions give the enemies of Islam violence mongers and extremists to trigger conflict and disappoint the Sunni community.

One million Sunnis are said to be living in Tehran and many more in other Iranian provinces.

Mowlana Adolhamid writes that the destruction of the prayer house in a city that does not allow the building of a Sunni mosque has injured the dignity of the Sunni community in the country and the world.

He adds that such an action is “against the will of God, the interests of the Islamic Republic, national unity and the unity of Muslims across the world”.

The Rohani administration has been very vocal about its support for ethnic and minority rights in the country.