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The Sufi challenge to Iran’s clergy

While Iran's Sufis have attempted to blend into society, their beliefs and practices have sometimes been questioned by Iran’s clerical leadership.
A whirling dervish performs a traditional Sufi dance at the Badium Sinai Arabic concert in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, south of Cairo July 12, 2012. Picture taken July 12, 2012. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh (EGYPT - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY) - RTR34W3J

Sufism has a noticeable and ancient presence in Iran. It was with the help of the Sufis, during the Safavid period, that Shiite clerics were able to become present and active in Iran. Today, however, Sufis and mysticism and spiritual tendencies are under pressure and are suffering persecution, mostly triggered by Shiite clerics.

Since the Islamic Revolution, Sufis have come under pressure from the Iranian government. Sufi elders have been charged and convicted with disturbing public order and taking action against national security. Approximately two years ago, Hamid Reza Moradi and Mostafa Daneshjoo, two Sufi lawyers and the administrators of the popular Mazjooban Noor website, which covered news of the Nematollahi-Gonabadi Sufi order, were sentenced to 10 years and 7 years, respectively. According to reports, both Moradi and Daneshjoo are seriously ill and have been deprived of proper medical treatment. 

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