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  1. Some thoughts on political identities of Muslims living in the West...write-up will follow. Is there a political identity that's relevant to British/American Muslims? Can we shape our own internal political identity, addressing local needs and issues, whilst standing firm on our principles (proactive approach)? Do we have a political identity shaped by external influences, i.e. wilayatul faqih, Najaf school, etc (passive approach)? Are we forced to accept an identity shaped by internal marginalisation and discrimination (reactive approach)? Do we have to settle for a political identity, or can we contribute to society through proposing a socio-political paradigm with a goal to establish social justice? What is the relationship between ideology and identity? Does religious identity surpass ethnic identity in terms of importance? What is the empirical evidence for that (if any)?
  2. One of the things I have noticed living in the West, an issue I have wondering a lot about lately is the irreligion of many diaspora Iranians where many of them have practising Muslims relatives in Iran such as their parents and grandparents. Many I have come around are unreligious and dishonour their Muslim heritage where many have become Agnostic and Atheist, where this seems very contrasting to todays Iran which we hear a lot about on the news and think of as a religious country. From my experience a lot of diaspora Iranians have a negative image of Islam cause of recent historical events such as the 1979 Iranian Revolution where Iran became a more strictly practising Muslim country, where the current regime have became more controlling of peoples private lives and also unrelated events to do with Iran such as 9/11 and the other infamous events and things associated with Islam and Muslims. I feel the current theocracy of the Iran, has created a negative image of Islam for many dissuaded Iranians especially the younger generation who seek more freedoms and opportunities. The government in Iran has created an unwanted backlash and also misunderstand against Islam especially among those mostly living in Western countries in Europe, North America and including Australia. So far books and article have been written by Iranians in the West, and speak of Islam as a backward faith, opposed to freedom and modernity and speak harshly of the Arabs who invaded there homeland many centuries ago and bought an extreme barbaric ideology which took away there supposed freedoms and there great Persian culture. Many of them have suggested choosing so called "moderate" and "peaceful" religions such as Zoroastrianism and Christianity, where a clear-eyed examination suggest all religions have positive or negative seeming aspects. Its not difficult to find verses to do with the perpetration of violence in the Bible, to justify there unfair justifications against Islam. As far as compatibility of Islam with advancement and Iranian culture is concerned, one should remember the many great Medieval Iranian thinkers, writers and scientists who helped established the modern foundations of thought, literature and science all came from within the great Islamic Civilization. If Islam has any hope of truly being worshipped by diaspora Iranians it must then be freed from the control of the government of Iran, who have done so many wrongs and abuses under the name of Islam and whose policies do not provide for the freedoms and liberties of Iranians.
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