Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Iran's Taliban; Ahmadinejad's Mentor: Freedom is a Satanic temptation ...

Iranian newspapers walk a thin line; but they don't need to write editorials to illustrate the very violent nature of Ahmadinejad's supporters. They just need to publish what they say. This clip is from the website of Sarmaye, an economy-oriented newspaper that despite a few warnings, is still operating.

Here, Mesbah Yazdi says:
"Freedom is one of those things that hearing it gives the impression of a sense of beauty for some, but it is a term that has been abused throughout history. America has been trying to promote lack of prejudice (bi-gheyrati) in the name of tolerance, and unfortunately some of the effects of this "tasahol & tasamoh" (means tolerance) appeared in our country too. [Here he is blaming Khatami.] Because they couldn't promote this tolerance in a country of followers of Hossein, they entered from the door of criticizing violence and terrorism[oh dear, cry murder!], and in this way promoted freedom, tolerance and the mixing of men and women, which is not only un-Islamic but also anti-Islamic. They [he means Khatami's reformists] even brought evidences from Islam to prove that Islam is the religion of tolerance [cry murder again]on the one hand, and to condemn violence on the other hand, and thus used beautiful tools to promote their satanic illusions! If someone decidely tries to harm Islam, she should be swiftly and severely confronted and no one has the right to ask for tolerance. "


P.S. I am listening to this report on BBC; it gives a background to Ahmadinejad's apocalyptic views. It is a fair report. I recommend it.

19 comments:

German said...

Having read your post quoting some statements by Mesbah-Yazdi and having skimmed the Wikipedia entry pertinent to this personality, to his indeed relevant position in Iranian society, to his outlook by adding/giving some further literal quotes one can’t help being aghast, to say the least.

That’s really more an ordinary human being can bear being exposed to for a longer period of time without some damage to her/his intellect, psyche and soul.

• [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammad-Taqi_Mesbah-Yazdi]

That - for me at least - answers the questions you have recently put to your visitors:
“- Do you wonder what happened to the protest to election results?”
“- Why, if IRI is so notorious, aren't people afraid to chant slogans in buses and metros?”

Thank you and Take care

German

Anonymous said...

You know, Naj, I defend Iran for a lot of things. But when it comes to hardline religious ideology, I must confess I am totally baffled by it.

I'm at a distinct disadvantage here. As a young student, I actually took the time to read the koran on my own, as a matter of independent study. (Back then, there wasn't a Middle Eastern department at my University.) I read an english translation. That said, after reading it, I concluded that either my copy was a dry, academic translation or it simply doesn't translate well from arabic to english. Because I just didn't "get it".

Yazdi unabashedly promotes an ideology of intolerance. Personally, my own defense of Islam is firmly rooted in an advocacy of tolerance towards muslims. That's the best I can do as a nonbeliever, yet it puts me square at odds with personalities like Yazdi.

I have to say, though, that even as a nonbeliever, I can still appreciate the more, shall we say, enlightened interpretations coming from someone with the religious standing of Grand Ayatollah Sistani.

Even so, I can actually discern certain qualities to Yazdi's religious interpretations: they seem to prioritize the cultural and intellectual independence (believers may go so far as to claim "integrity") of Iran over all else. But for me, and apparently for a vocal element inside Iran, the price of this independence and integrity is way too high.

-Pirouz

Naj said...

Pirouz:

Be careful here:
I can actually discern certain qualities to Yazdi's religious interpretations: they seem to prioritize the cultural and intellectual independence (believers may go so far as to claim "integrity") of Iran over all else.

For these people "Iran" means nothing! It's the "intolerant" Islam that they promote.

They are cutting out the Persian history from university books, did you know?

They are killing and persecuting the Dervish (which are representatives of "Iranianization" of Islam) Arguably, Bahais are an Iranian-Muslim sect; and Mesbah's group is out to kill them! Thank gods that they are still in the fringe, and that with all lawlessness, the Iranian society as a whole does NOT tolerate their intolerance.

Keep in mind that even Khomeini considered Mesbah dangerous!

"to khod hadise mofassal bekhan as in mojmal"
(you read plenty from this summary)

Please don't let yourself be mistaken that Mesbah Yazdi is a promoter of Iranian independence ... He is a man who calls people sheep; who calls obedience of Khamenei the same as obeying God; and who thinks people who call for a republic are all in sin! There is NOTHING Iranian about that point of view. The one thing we are proud of is taht despite our governmental intolerance, "we" are a tolerant culture. Exclusionist at times, aloof to "others" at times, "protectionist" at times, too nationalistic at times, but NOT intolerant!

Naj said...

correction: Persian history from HIGHSCHOOL books (not university ones) because they never existed in university books!

Naj said...

Pirouz,

Forgot to comment on this: Re Quoran; I learned it in school and I was kind of good at it too. We had to memorize the verses; and recite them and peopel who memorized more and recited nicely were given prizes. I grew up in a system that kept telling me Quran and Nahjol-balagheh were "beautiful" texts. SO I read them to find beauty. In fact, I looked for "beauty" in both of these books.

For me, it is absolutely unimaginable that a book, an OLD book, be it Bible, Torah or Quoran remain beautiful beyond time. It is impossible. I loves some of Quoran's verses, the ones that described a apocalypse. I loved them because of how they rhymed; and because I loved listening to Abdul-Baset!

In fact, many Iranians have the same selective view of Quoran in IRan--they focus on the beautiful parts, on parts that promote human dignity, fairness, honesty, courage. I think all "moderate" Muslims do that.

Apaprently Allah has hundreds of adjectives
You can choose to say Besmellah-e Rahmane Rahim; or besmellahe ghaseme jabbarin

In the name of god the merciful; or in the name of god the vengeful; and MEsbah seems to love the latter; and indeed Ahmadinejad and his IRGC often start with the latter!

Naj said...

I CANNOT recommend this ENOUGH:
please take a listen

Anonymous said...

Sorry for not being more clear. Yes, I understand the ideology is not conceptualized in nationalism, and I realize that it excludes significant aspects of Persian history.

What I meant was within the context of a cultural globalization- some might go so far as to call this process "Americanization"- elements of Yazdi ideology represent an imposed countermeasure effected upon Iranian society. Modernization is the deliberate tradeoff for a much more secure sense of traditional cultural identity, an identity that in many respects is undeniably Iranian.

You know, Naj, I've had that old paperback copy of the koran for decades now. When socializing with Middle Easterners or people of ME descent, the topic of personally possessing a koran has come up. In each case, my believer friends were without a copy at home, while I the humble nonbeliever retains one in his library. I've heard it's quite a beautiful piece of literature in its native arabic.

I've also engaged in a big no-no. Purely out of historical curiosity, I've looked into Islamic revisionism. It is amazing how little that field of study is pursued here in the West.

-Pirouz

Naj said...

Pirouz,

Resistance to "americanization" is not one thing that is particular to Iranian Islamists; after the WWII many a european country had the same kind of cultural protectionism, didn't it?

And in all fairness; what is wrong with Americanization?

Don't get me wrong, I am not an American or American lover. But I am one of those who think culturs flow in a natural way; if America poses a threat to other cultures is is not because of their mean-spirited intention to capture the globe culturally; it's because they are good at targeting the common denominator of human's wishes, desires and aspirations!

After all, isn't america the melting pot in which every one is entitled to a dream? Can we say that about many other countries in this world? I guess, the concept of "freedom", which is perhaps a very American one, is one that scares a whole lot of people, on both the oriental and the occidental sides of the divide.

re owning Koran, :) ... an revisionis Islamic studies, I think it WILL change, especially because more and more of the 3rd world scholars coming from Iran, for example, are getting into humanity studies as opposed to engineering and medical studies that have been dominant amongst the Iranian immigrants in the past 40 years.

Did you hear that the 3rd wave of Iranian exodus has begun? Since Mr Khamenei has launched sucn an explicit threat on "humanities", expect some of the best and the brightest START new Islamic Studies departments in ... the land of the great Satan, America! (And I am grateful to America for absorbing our talents when our rulers are doing their best to kill and silence them.

German said...

Dear Naj,


a most likely unanswerable question:
How come Islamic theologians like the afore-mentioned Mesbah-Yazdi are obsessed with reviving and enforcing on everybody the darkest and most retrograde hours of Islam – and/or - Why don’t they even try but prohibit and ban everyone to take up and resume where the traditions of the Golden Age of Islam had been successful ? –
Islam is – my subjective view - probably not in itself a backward and retarded religion, but the (main and leading) interpretations are – to the detriment of human history and society as a whole.
I suspect, only societies open to insight, knowledge and views from divergent and multifarious sources, wherever these might be found, can be successful in whatever respect -
• first piece of evidence: the Roman civilization, lasting over a period of approximately 1000 years, avidly absorbing (!) – and tolerating (!) - whatever knowledge, languages, philosophies, religions and technologies the Romans could lay their hand on”).

I suspect people like the Mesbah-Yazdi, i.e. the mains stream that is, avoid asking TWO QUESTIONS, TWO POSSIBLE ANSWERS to which can basically be found in most encyclopaedias (see below, two quotes, I.) and II.), taken from just one Wikipedia-entry):


I. WHY COULD ISLAMIC CULTURE BE THE MOST PROGRESSIVE AND SUCCESSFUL CULTURAL AND INTELLECTUAL GLOBAL FORCE DURING THE MEDIEVAL AGES ?

“Following the fall of the Roman Empire and the dawn of the Middle Ages, many texts from Classical Antiquity had been lost to the Europeans. […] Many of these texts however were then kept, translated, and developed upon by the Islamic world, especially in centers of learning such as Baghdad, where a "House of Wisdom", with thousands of manuscripts existed as soon as 832.”
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_contributions_to_Medieval_Europe


II. WHY COULD EUROPE UNDERTAKE THE LEAP INTO ENLIGHTENMENT, RATIONALISM, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, THUS BECOMING THE LEADING SUCCESSFUL CULTURAL AND INTELLECTUAL GLOBAL FORCE IN MODERN TIMES ?

"These [aforementioned, originally ancient Greek and Latin texts, then saved and translated into Arabic] texts were translated back into Latin in multiple ways. The main points of transmission of Islamic knowledge to Europe were in Sicilia, and in Toledo, Spain (with Gerard of Cremone, 1114-1187). Burgondio of Pise (died in 1193), who discovered in Antioch lost texts of Aristotle, translated them into Latin.”
“Islamic contributions to Medieval Europe were numerous, affecting such varied areas as art, architecture, medicine, agriculture, music, language, education, law, and technology. From the 8th to the 13th century, Europe absorbed knowledge from the Islamic civilization. […] [T]he influence of the Muslim civilization as a whole on medieval Europe was enormous in such fields as science, philosophy, theology, literature, aesthetics, than has been recognized.[…] [T]he contributions from the Islamic world have had a considerable effect on the development of Western civilization and contributed to the achievements of the Renaissance.”
“Islam [of course] […] developed its own sciences, such as algebra, chemistry, geology, spherical trigonometry, etc. which were later also transmitted to the West. […] Contributing to the growth of European science was the major search by European scholars for new learning which they could only find among Muslims, especially in Islamic Spain and Sicily. These scholars translated new scientific and philosophical texts from Arabic into Latin. One of the most productive translators in Spain was Gerard of Cremona, who translated 87 books from Arabic to Latin […]”
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_contributions_to_Medieval_Europe


Best Wishes


German

Anonymous said...

Naj,

Thank you for the BBC link. These people are doing more to damage Islam than anything the "infidels" west can ever do.

Islam has become the religion of intolerance.

Naj said...

German, I may recommend books by Richard Fry (The Golden Age of Persia) and by David Morgen (Medieval Persia).

Also, don't forget the Mesbah's fundamentalism is matched by christian fundamentalism; Jewish fundamentalism, Hindu fundamentalism and etc.

German said...

- Post Scriptum -

Occidental Europe of all civilizations has been the inheritor and developer of the philosophic rationalistic thinking, a thinking being the inheritance and legacy of genuine and original Oriental Islamic tradition.

How can a(ny) Muslim dare to call the process of tackling and grappling with these ideas, of “taking possession” of the ideas of formerly Islamic origin “Westernization”?

German said...

Naj,

thank you for widening the perspective!

Naj said...

German:

Occidental Europe of all civilizations has been the inheritor and developer of the philosophic rationalistic thinking, a thinking being the inheritance and legacy of genuine and original Oriental Islamic tradition.

Well, the rationalistic thinking in Europe declared "god is dead" a few years back, and substituted it with the rational ubermann, and of course we have not yet forgotten what the little uberman of history ended up doing :)

Logic of power is the same regardless of religious heritage!

German said...

Dear Naj,


I am completely with you, as of course you are no doubt right in that respect:

That's why I think it is never any good attacking a(ny) religion as such - as you have just proven in other words.

kellie said...

Naj, I listened to the BBC Radio 4 programme earlier and also found it very interesting. As it presented a variety of views, was there any aspect that you'd emphasise agreement with, or even question?

I'm thinking particularly of the darkest interpretation of Ahmadinejad's views given by the American interviewee, but also of the question raised later in the programme of whether the alliance between reformist clerics and secular opposition campaigners is merely one of convenience, or whether it can be long term and creative.

I find the idea of a religious argument against theocracy heartening, but also quite natural. The most powerful argument I've read against organised religion is Thomas Paine's in the Age of Reason, and it's a religious argument, not an atheist one.

Naj said...

Kellie,

I can only tell you that I didn't find any part of the report to be biased or unfair. They even go as far as to suggest that we do not have proof that Ahmadinejad "really" means all the superstitious crap he talks about.

I think I would emphasize all of it :)

That said, in the past 4 months Iran came to the BRINK of bursting into dangerous violence. But, it did not happen. In reality, life is seeming more normal to people than it did 3 months ago. This is not only because Iranians have backed off, but also because the government is VERY aware of its limits and is really careful to not piss the people off as badly as it did. So at the end, the Iranian society as a WHOLE is going to marginalize the Ahmadinejadist few.

These "fundamentalists" have been breathing down people's neck EVEN during Khatami's presidency. Actually, they were even more violent and dangerous during the reformist time. They are full aware of their minority position; they bark loud (and consider the nuclear fiasco as part of the same barking strategy) but we have saying in PErsian:

Dogs that bark, don't bite!

Despite ALL press closure; I am noticing more and more creative methods impremented by the press to get the news out! This "respectful" Sarmaye report on Mesbah's speech is mockery of conservatism. Iran didn;'t take these fools seriously 20 years ago; and after Khomeini died it morphed the regime and clergy SUCH that Khomeini's Prime minister has now become the "leader" of reforms ... as Mousavi noted, it is the PEOPLE who are leading him, not the other way around.

So, if Iranians could not be indoctrinated to fundamentalism during Khomeini; they are not going to be now either.

KevinScottDC said...

This quote is truly frightening.

German said...

Dear Naj,

The three following observations by you on the topic of Islam are – to my mind – highly pertinent/relevant as they escape the notice of non-Iranians and thus are easily overlooked by foreigners/outsiders like me; in addition they are highly reassuring, as well-founded:


(1) "I am noticing more and more creative methods implemented by the press to get the news out! This "respectful" Sarmaye report on Mesbah's speech is a mockery of conservatism. "

I for one and as a non-Iranian hadn’t noticed that the reason of the Mesbah’s speech being quoted in/by serious news media might be a successful attempt to express a critical attitude and criticizing its contents! Perhaps only an Iranian can notice this.

(2) "Since Mr Khamenei has launched such an explicit threat on "humanities", expect some of the best and the brightest START new Islamic Studies departments in ... the land of the great Satan, America! (And I am grateful to America for absorbing our talents when our rulers are doing their best to kill and silence them.)"

Faculties of Islamic culture and theology in Europe and the USA founded by - and its chairs occupied by - theologians critical of this Mesbah-brand of Quran/Hadith-interpretation will contribute enormously to bring out and develop the better and modern aspects of Islam and enable Islam to find sensible answers to questions put exclusively by modern society.


(3) Iran didn;'t take these fools seriously 20 years ago; and after Khomeini died it morphed the regime and clergy SUCH that Khomeini's Prime minister has now become the "leader" of reforms ... as Mousavi noted, it is the PEOPLE who are leading him, not the other way around."

The proof quoted by you is convincing. In fact, human beings are able to change their views, in particular under public pressure (of a considerable part of a population); we tend to forget that.


As the comments/posts naturally overlap chronologically due to time differences, it was (too) late that I discovered these three very important statements of yours!

Apologies! (could have saved time, energy and blog-space)

Thank you so much

German