Part of memoirs of Seyed Hadi Khamenei

The Arab People Committee

Selected by Faezeh Sasanikhah
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan

2024-3-4


Another event that happened in Khuzestan Province and I followed up was the Arab People Committee. One day, we were informed that the Arabs had set up a committee special for themselves. At that time, I had less information about the Arab People[1], but knew well that dividing the people into Arab and non-Arab was a harmful measure. The Arab People had set up a committee in Khorramshahr, but it had influence in the whole of Khuzestan.

 

The leadership of this ethno-political organization was one of the famous local scholars named Al-e Shobeir Khaqani[2]. He was one of the prominent scholars of the region and was also familiar with the Imam and the Imam respected him. As he showed, he could not speak Farsi fluently and only spoke Arabic. In my opinion, he did not have full and correct knowledge of political issues. He had a brother who knew Farsi and was a jurist, and thanks to his brother, he had gained a lot of influence among the Arabs of Khuzestan. He would convey any issue to his brother as he wanted, get his opinion and act on it himself. In general, he managed all matters, whether those of his brother or the Arab people. We had Islamic Revolution Committees in all cities of Khuzestan, but he had established another committee of his own.

 

When I received the news of the Arab People's Committee, I along with two or three officers who had become familiar with each other and who were with me went to Khorramshahr; without any prior planning. We also had a local driver. We told him to take us to the Arab People's Committee in Khorramshahr.

In one square, a fairly good building had been converted into the headquarters of the committee, and the crowd was coming and going. Loudspeakers had been installed outside the building, which regularly addressed the people one-way in Arabic. Sometimes it played hymns too. Apparently, the Arabs had established a good relationship with them. In this situation, when he could subjugate anyone, we trusted in God and said to ourselves that we would fight and accept whatever happens.

 

Inside the building, they had designated counters to respond to people, and they also came and expressed their problems and concerns. In such a situation, I, along with those two or three officers and about five or six civilians who had joined us, confidently entered the building without paying attention to these counters and the surrounding people. I didn't even know who the person in charge of the committee was, what his name was! "Where are they?" I asked casually those who were sitting behind the counters as I entered the building. They understood who I had been addressing. They said: "Hajj Agha! They are having a meeting in the upper room". One of them accompanied us to the meeting room. I also opened the door of the room, ignoring my surroundings, and entered the room. When they saw me, they were shocked. Their meeting broke up. They got up and stood. They had lost themselves. They knew me because of the news that a certain person came from Tehran and was a representative of the Center; even if they had not heard, in the situation we entered, they came to such knowledge.

 

I was in the middle of the room before they wanted to make a compliment. I didn't sit down and asked without hesitation: "What's going on here?" They, who understood what I meant, said: "Hajj Agha! Here, people have problems." I said: "There is a committee, let them go there." They were dragging their feet and as soon as they wanted to answer, I said: "No! Look, we don't have more than one committee. A committee for all people. Arabs and non-Arabs have the same committee. We do not have two committees, please be aware. You will close here from today. Your committee is also there. Whatever you have, we will solve it for you. If it doesn't work, contact me directly. Turn off the loudspeaker as soon as possible."

 

I didn't wait for an answer and left the meeting room and the building and immediately went to Mr. Al-e Shobeir's house. Apparently, they had informed him about what happened in the Arab People's Committee. When I went to Sheikh Shobeir's house, his brother was also there. I addressed the Sheikh and his brother was also translating. I also took care that he translated correctly. We talked about Arab and non-Arab unity and that the unity should be established between Muslims. After the conversation, I went from Sheikh Shobeir's house to the main committee and the same committee that we had formed.

 

Source: Qobadi, Mohammadi, Memoirs of Hojjat al-Eslam Valmoslemin Seyed Hadi Khamenei, Tehran, Sooreh Mehr, 1399 (2020), P. 597.

 

 

[1] After the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Sheikh Shobeir Khaqani, one of the clerics of Khorramshahr, was able to take control of Khuzestan to some extent due to his influence among the Arabic-speaking people. By his order, all border areas of Khorramshahr were blocked and the task of border control was assigned to the nomads living in the Khorramshahr border strip. Under his support, the Arabs Committee was first set up, which after a short time was renamed to the Mojahedin Nomads Center, and finally it was named the Headquarters of the Arab People's Fighters. The headquarters also became known as the Arab People's Political Organization in a short period of time. (For more information, refer to: Azari Shahrzaei, Reza, "Review of the Rise and Fall of the Phenomenon of the "Arab People" 1357-58", Conversation, No. 25 (Autumn 1378 - 1999), pp. 79-63.

 

[2] Sheikh Mohammad Taher Al-e Shobeir Khaqani, known as Sheikh Shobeir, was born in Khoramshahr in 1328 Lunar Hijri (1910). After completing his preliminary studies, he went to Najaf and after receiving the permission of ijtihad, he started teaching jurisprudence in Qom. He went to Khorramshahr in the late 1330s (1950s) and after that he became the focus of many social and political activities. He spent the last years of his life in Qom, until he died in 1364 (1985). He has published several works on jurisprudence.

 

 



 
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