Discrimination Against Dervishes

In his latest report on the human rights situation in Iran, the UN’s Shaheed noted that dervishes are subjected to attacks on their places of worship and are arbitrarily arrested, tortured, and prosecuted.

Dervishes say their growing popularity is one of the main reasons for the increased pressure they are facing.

Nouri says Iranian leaders are also worried that the dervishes could use their network to mobilize against the establishment.

“Particularly after the 2009 presidential election, because of the widespread support of the dervishes for presidential candidate Mehdi Karrubi, the establishment became concerned that the dervishes could organize and engage in actions against the regime,” Nouri said. “But they forgot the fact that dervishes believe religion should be separated from politics. They are not willing to engage in political activism and they’re all peaceful.”

The Nematollahi order of dervishes is believed to have more than 2 million members across Iran.


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