Imam Ali Khamenei’s speech in Kashmir: In 15 minutes, a history of grudges was cleared off!
Up until that day, intense discord existed among Shias and Sunnis to the extent that if a Shia visited a Sunni mosque, they would cleanse the mosque, saying that a heretic had entered and thus defiled the mosque.
The late Qalbi Hussain Rizvi Kashmiri was a revolutionary activist from Kashmir, who passed away a few months ago. In the year 1980 and during Ayatollah Khamenei’s visit to Kashmir, he was there and narrated important memories from that trip.
As part of these memories, he says: The Leader visited Kashmir in late 1980 or early 1981. One week in advance, I was already thrilled and I was so busy making arrangements for welcoming Ayatollah Khamenei that I totally forgot to officially take a few days off since I was an employee; so I missed a few working days without asking for a leave.
On the eve of the day when we were expecting the Leader to arrive, we rented a taxi and installed a loudspeaker on it. While in taxi, I took the microphone to announce to the whole city of Srinagar that the Leader would arrive the next day. When the Leader arrived, the people flocked in the airport. The Shias had taken buses, taxis, pickups, trucks or just any means of transportation available to reach the airport.
The Leader also joined Sunni Friday prayers and prayed while standing before Mir-Vaez Maulawi Farouq and delivered a 15-minute speech there. The effects of this 15-minute speech on the history of Kashmir could be collected in tens of books and months of lectures. Throughout the history of Kashmir, it was the first time that a Shia cleric who was a global figure delivered a speech at a Sunni mosque.
Until that day, Shias and Sunnis had intense discords; if a Shia visited a Sunni mosque, they would even cleanse the mosque, saying that a heretic had entered and thus defiled the mosque.
But after the Leader’s speech, it was common for Shias to pray at Sunni mosques and would pray before Sunni prayer leaders with no fear. Sunnis would pray at Shia mosques, too. This unity was an outcome of that 15-minute speech made by Ayatollah Khamenei.
Memories of Qalbi Hussain Rizvi Kashmiri pp. 37-38