Iran Expands Religious Control in Ramadan over Syria’s Deir Ezzor Province

Credit: (ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images)

On March 11, coinciding with the first day of Ramadan, Iranian officials and religious leaders convened a meeting with Sunni preachers and imams of mosques in Deir Ezzor. The purpose of the gathering was to introduce new operational protocols and prayer regulations within the mosques, signaling a noteworthy development regarding the involvement of the Syrian regime’s Ministry of Endowments in governance and Tehran’s influence over religious affairs within Syria.

According to the North Press Agency, a source within the meeting disclosed that Hajj Rasoul, the director of the Iranian Cultural Center in Deir Ezzor, presided over the session. Also in attendance were representatives from the Iranian Shiite community’s religious authorities, as well as officers and generals from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

During the approximately two-hour-long meeting held at the Iranian Cultural Center in Deir Ezzor City, Iranian officials extended Ramadan greetings to the participants before outlining the stipulations for prayers and Friday sermons. These guidelines included limiting Tarawih, a voluntary prayer held at night during Ramadan, to eight rakats (units of prayer), refraining from using loudspeakers during Tarawih and the morning call to prayer, and standardizing Friday sermons based on directives issued by the Iranian Cultural Center.

Additionally, discussions touched upon matters related to promoting Shiism and the encouragement of youth to join Iranian-backed militias. The meeting ended with the announcement for future meetings to be held “in the coming days.”


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