Sunni leader Mowlavi Hossein Gorgij

People Express Support For Summoned Sunni Leader In Northern Iran

Sunday, 01/15/2023

Protesters in northern Iran gathered outside the house of a prominent Sunni leader in Golestan province demanding the government cancel a summons for him.

Videos on social media show residents in Galikash held a gathering for Mowlavi Hossein Gorgij, the deposed Sunni Imam of Azadshahr on Sunday.

Mowlavi Gorgij has been summoned to the special court of clergy in provincial capital, Gorgan after his dismissal.

Reports say the deposed leader was summoned in a phone call on Wednesday, but he refused to present himself.

In December, Khamenei’s representative in Golestan province, with a large Sunni population, dismissed Gorgij, an outspoken and popular religious leader revered by his followers.

The dismissal led to public outrage and protests in the northeastern region in the city of Azadshahr, where Gorgij was the Friday Prayer Imam.

The decision to fire the Sunni cleric was announced as a reaction to some of his remarks that were deemed insulting to Shia sanctities. Gorgij, however, issued a statement afterwards to apologize, clarifying that his speech was misinterpreted, and he meant no disrespect towards the Shias.

The move against the Sunni Imam, who had earlier condemned the Islamic Republic's police brutality against citizens, has prompted several protests to Khamenei's decision across the province.

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