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In the Name of God بسم الله

Intellectual and Clerical Dissent to WF government

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From IRAN: THE STRUGGLE FOR THE REVOLUTION’S SOUL, 5 August 2002

IV. INTELLECTUAL AND ISLAMIC DISSENT

Numerous important opposition groups exist in the grey area between government and civil society, and many of these criticise the government on religious grounds while advocating non-violent change within the boundaries established by the 1979

constitution. The leadership of these domestic Islamic dissident reformers comes primarily from religious intellectuals and Shiite clerics, many of whom initially secured influential positions in the early years following the revolution. Subsequently, some were forced to the fringes because their views were felt to be “deviant” and “liberal”. Because these domestic opposition groups have consistently rejected violence, they are more or less tolerated by the government, although their access to the media

and electoral politics has often been blocked.

Although they receive far less international attention, domestic opposition groups play a much more important role than exile groups, which have often been poorly organised and deeply divided. Most significant among the non-clerical Islamic dissidents are the Iranian Freedom Movement and the Kiyan-School of intellectual reformers under the leadership of Abdolkarim Sorush. Such groups advocate far more broad-reaching changes than mainstream reformers. Nonetheless, they can influence several key players around the President, even if both he and the dissidents generally deny such links for political expediency and personal safety.

A. THE IRANIAN FREEDOM MOVEMENT AND THE NATIONAL-RELIGIOUS FORCES

Founded in April 1961 by Mehdi Bazargan and other religious activists, the Iranian Freedom Movement largely draws its inspiration from Islamic liberalism.79 Former Foreign MinisterEbrahim Yazdi assumed its leadership in February 1995, upon Bazargan’s death.80 Until recently, Yazdi lived in exile in Texas undergoing medical

treatment. He returned to Iran in April 2002 where he faced prosecution. In Yazdi’s view the party enjoys broad appeal among youth and women because it embraces genuine political reform. He also believes the reform movement has momentum of its own despite considerable pressure from conservatives.81

Long active in the non-violent opposition to the Shah, the Iranian Freedom Movement has functioned since the revolution as the only opposition party and repeatedly levels strong public criticism at the government. Because it rejects the authority of the Supreme Leader, its candidates generally have been unable to participate in elections since 1984. The electoral success of some of its candidates who were allowed to stand in 2001 further disinclined the Council of Guardians from giving the party a public role.

Instead, in March and April 2001 the government cracked down on the Iranian Freedom Movement and its affiliated groups, arresting about 60 leaders, including Mohandes Ezzatollah Sahabi, one of the group’s founders.82 In July 2002, a revolutionary court in Tehran dissolved the party.83

B. THE INTELLECTUAL DISSIDENTS

In the late 1980s, a serious controversy over religion’s role in the state erupted among religious intellectuals loyal to the Islamic Revolution. The key figure was Dr. Abdolkarim Sorush, aphilosopher and theoretician who had been personally appointed by Khomeini. Sorush was a driving force behind the Cultural Revolution84 but grew disillusioned and after 1990 increasingly argued that no understanding of religion can ever be absolute, and no individual or elite can claim privileges on the basis of holding a final interpretation.85 Not surprisingly, such views earned Sorush the bitter enmity of the conservative governing clergy.

Although Sorush has avoided open criticism of the government and the Supreme Leader, he has publicly come out against the use of religion as a state ideology and has maintained that Islam and democracy are not only compatible, but essential to

one another. In 1995, Sorush openly questioned the social and political role of the clergy, 86 leading to an indirect rebuke from the Supreme Leader.87 This sparked increasing official opposition to him and threats on his life by militant Islamic vigilantes. Sorush had spent the majority of his time abroad and taught at Harvard University´s Divinity School but has recently returned to Iran.

While he has been personally marginalised, Sorush’s non-ideological approach to Islam centred on pluralism, rationality, tolerance and human rights has inspired a new generation – hundreds of thousands in total – of intellectuals, clergy, intelligentsia and political activists who have proven to be key actors within the reform movement.88

Many insist his thoughts inform Khatami’s reformist agenda. His views were disseminated innumerous books and articles, most prominently in Kiyan, a bimonthly journal published in Tehran by groups close to him from 1991 until it was shut down in 2001 by judiciary officials.

A number of Sorush’s devotees have become prime targets for conservative reprisals, including Said Hajariyan, one of President Khatami’s most influential advisors until he was severely injured in an assassination attempt in March 2000. Shiite cleric Mohsen Kadivar, a popular seminary lecturer in Qom, was sentenced in April 1999 to eighteen months in prison for criticising the Supreme Leader and for his demonstrated support

for the dissident cleric Grand Ayatollah Hosein Ali Montazeri. Even after his release, Mohsen Kadivar has continued to criticise the Supreme Leader system as autocratic and outdated.89

C. THE CLERICAL DISSIDENTS

Despite Khamenei’s firm hold on the institutions of power, there is sharp debate within the theocratic leadership about his religious credentials as Supreme Leader. Much of this originates in Qom, where Khomeini himself studied, taught and eventually launched his call for a revolution. That city has been a hub of religious scholarship for

centuries and is widely viewed as one of the most important centres of Shia learning.

To understand the controversy surrounding Khamenei’s status, some background is necessary. The lowest theological rank that students at religious centres can obtain after long years of study is Hojjatoleslam (literally, “proof of Islam”). Above this is Ayatollah, or “sign of God”.

Only very few achieve the rank of Grand Ayatollah, a synonym for “Source of Emulation” that can only be achieved through an informal process of recognition by other Grand Ayatollahs after extended study and teaching, usually taking up to 30

years. A “grand theological treatise” demonstrating exceptional scholarship and combining religious edicts and directives on various aspects of Islamic law is an absolute requirement.

Shiites who accept a Grand Ayatollah as their personal “Source of Emulation” strictly obey theiredicts (fatwas) on religious-social matters, and give religious contributions amounting to one fifth of annual income. The Grand Ayatollah, who functions as the trustee of the Hidden Twelfth Imam, the Mahdi, uses these for religious-charitable

purposes. The followers of a Grand Ayatollah, ranging from several tens of thousands to several million, frequently stretch across a number of countries. The contributions give a Grand Ayatollah financial independence from the state, a factor that facilitated clerical activism during the Islamic Revolution.

Khamenei possesses neither Khomeini’s charisma nor his theological qualifications. For millions of believers, Grand Ayatollah Khomeini was their “Source of Emulation”, and his religious instructions were viewed as authoritative. But Khomeini was not the only Grand Ayatollah. Since the early 1960s, there have been a half dozen other Grand Ayatollahs who also serve as “Sources of Emulation”.

These other Grand Ayatollahs, with one exception, objected to Ayatollah Khomeini’s vision of Supreme Leadership. The exception was Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, who expected to be Khomeini’s successor. While Khomeini was in exile, Montazeri gained considerable prestige as his supreme representative in Iran. After 1979 he

became one of the country´s most powerful revolutionary clerics. In 1985, the Assembly of Experts designated him as Khomeini’s successor but, in the wake of the 1986 Iran–Contra affair and the imprisonment and execution of Mehdi Hashemi, one of Montazeri’s loyal supporters, in September 1987, his star dimmed.

In March 1989, the Supreme Leader reportedly forced Montazeri to resign, in part because Montazeri had criticised the execution of several thousand political prisoners that Khomeini was believed to have ordered between August and November 1988.90 This sparked a succession crisis,in part because the constitution mandated that the

Supreme Leader must be a “Source of Emulation” able to issue religious edicts, and with Montazeri’s removal no eligible successor was apparent among the politicised clergy. This constitutional article was repealed shortly before Khomeini’s death in June

1989, reportedly at his orders.

The greatest challenge for Khamenei comes from clerical dissidents close to Montazeri, who contest not the Supreme Leader system itself but its current holder. While Khamenei was favoured by the Assembly of Experts to become Supreme Leader, he had only held the title of Hojjatoleslam until Khomeini’s death Overnight, the assembly

promoted his theological rank to Ayatollah, but he still was not considered a Grand Ayatollah, and thus not a true “Source of Emulation”. So, unlike his predecessor, Khamenei cannot rightfully claim to be both the highest political authority in Iran and one of the highest ranking Shia religious authorities globally. He would have to complete at least three more decades of theological study and author a major theological thesis recognised by other Grand Ayatollahs to obtain the latter qualifications.

Khamenei’s lack of theological qualifications has undermined his legitimacy as Supreme Leader and called into question the whole Supreme Leader system. There remains the potential danger that a Shiite Grand Ayatollah from inside or outside Iran,

even perhaps one in Iraq – who would be out of reach of the Iranian regime – could issue religious edicts that counter Khamenei’s views but which he would not be entitled to countermand.91

1. Factions of Clerical Dissent

Khamenei’s repeated attempts have failed to bring the majority of Grand Ayatollahs into line. They both refuse to recognise his claim to the title of Grand Ayatollah and remain critical of his plans to standardise, modernise and extensively politicise the

religious curricula in Qom. Among clerics, there is fear that such politicisation could cause Shiitereligious centres to lose their academic freedom and independence from the state. Already, Khomeini had united the highest religious and political authorities under his leadership in 1979, thereby diminishing the independence and authority of the remaining Grand Ayatollahs. State interference would further reduce the exchange of ideas between the great theologians and their schools which is considered essential to the vitality of religion.

The Rafsanjani–Khamenei government forced Montazeri to the political fringes and placed him under house arrest in Qom for long stretches, cutting his media access and jailing or executing many of his supporters. Nevertheless, Montazeri remains a

prominent political and religious authority with a solid base of support.92 His appeal to many reform groups springs from his firm support for strengthening the “republican” elements of the 1979 constitution as a counterweight to the Supreme Leader. He has argued that the Supreme Leader must “be elected by the people or by experts chosen

by the people”,93 a proposal that implies much more accountability and suggests that even the Supreme Leader should not stand above the law.94 Among Montazeri’s followers is Ayatollah Jalaloddin Taheri, whose recent resignation from his office as

Friday prayer leader of Isfahan sparked enormous attention throughout Iran.95

Khamenei and his supporters have been loath to engage in a frontal assault on Montazeri, fearing the reaction of his numerous supporters, many of whom belong to the government and even to the Revolutionary Guards. Montazeri’s popularity was

highlighted in June 2001, when his children circulated a letter calling for the lifting of his house arrest that prompted 126 out of 290 members of parliament to sign a similar statement.

Montazeri also enjoys considerable support among several high-ranking and influential clerics in Qom. One is Grand Ayatollah Yusef Sanei, a former close disciple of Khomeini and member of the Guardian Council, who has protected Montazeri when Islamic vigilante groups have planned to attack him. Asked for his views on the velayat-e faqih system, Sanei praised its implementation under Supreme Leader

Khomeini, but declined to comment on the Khamenei era.96

The “quietists” represent a different strain of clerical dissent. This group considers the very creation of a Supreme Leader a violation of the notion that the long-awaited “Hidden Imam”, or messianic saviour, will return. They argue that until the Hidden Imam emerges, there can be no legitimate ruler – even from among the clergy – and that to suggest otherwise is blasphemy. Iranian quietists lost most of the autonomy they enjoyed under the Shah when Khomeini’s theological state was established. They

generally ignore Khamenei, or treat him with disapproval and view his theological qualifications as inadequate.

The quietists continue to call for the clergy’s complete withdrawal from politics in order to preserve religious integrity. One Ayatollah in Qom went so far as to declare that the merger of politics and religion under the Islamic Republic had destroyed the moral credibility of Islam’s representatives and prompted many to abandon their beliefs.97 Among the most prominent quietists are Grand Ayatollahs Hasan Tabatabai-Qomi from

Mashhad, and Ali Sistani from Najaf.98 Ali Sistani is perhaps the most serious rival to Khamenei for leadership of Shias outside Iran.99 His power is enhanced by control of the Khoei Foundation in London, which receives charitable contributions estimated in the billions of dollars from Shiites around the world.100

Another group of opposition clergy also categorically rejects the rule of a Supreme Leader but does not advocate total withdrawal from politics. Rather, it seeks a less intrusive role that would maintain the clergy’s ability to veto measures seen as inconsistent with proper social or political life. Its most important theoretician, Grand

Ayatollah Mohammad Shirazi, died in December 2001101 but his brother, Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Sadeq Shirazi in Qom, continues his efforts.

[Relevant References]

79. Bazargan, who died in 1995, felt that Islam was compatible not only with science and technology, but also with Western political concepts such as liberalism and

democracy. He considered that the precondition for the advance of Muslims was a return to the pure teachings of the Qur’an, free from historical superstitions, and he

rejected the claim of the Shia clergy to an exclusive monopoly over religious interpretation. For more on Bazargan’s views, see H. E. Chehabi, Iranian Politics and

Religious Modernism: The Liberation Movement of Iran under the Shah and Khomeini (Ithaca 1990), pp. 50–100.

80. For biographical information on Ebrahim Yazdi, see Wilfried Buchta, “Die inneriranische Diskussion um die islamische Einheit” [The Internal Iranian Discussion

Concerning Islamic Unity], in Orient 35, no. 4 (1994), p. 568.

81. ICG telephone interview with Dr. Ebrahim Yazdi in Houston,Texas, 1 March, 2002.

82. Although Sahabi formally separated from the movement in 1980, he remained closely connected. He started a monthly journal, Iran-e Farda, and helped loosely organize a broad range of small political groupings, which became known as the national religious forces (melli-mazhab). From an interview with Ezzatollah Sahabi, Tehran, 1 October 1994; see Wilfried Buchta, Die iranische Schia und die islamische Einheit 1979-1996 [iranian Shia and Islamic Unity 1979-1996] (Hamburg, 1997), p. 223.

83. See Section V. B below.

84. The term Cultural Revolution refers to the period in the early 1980s when the new government began to purge universities – which were closed from the autumn of 1980

to 1983 – of those whom it viewed as unreliable elements among teachers and students. The government also reorganised the curriculum to make it compatible with its interpretation of Islam. For his own account on this period, see Abdolkarim Sorush, A’ine-ye Shahryary va Dindari [Reflections about Power and Piety] (Tehran, 2000), pp.

323-344.

85. See Abdolkarim Sorush, Qabz va bast-e te’orik-e shariat. Nazariye-ye takamol-e ma‘refat-e dini [Theoretical Deliberations on the Contraction and Expansion of Religion. A Theory of the Perfection of Religious Knowledge], 5th edition (Tehran, 1994), pp. 493–523.

86. Hurriyat and Ruhaniyat [Freedom and the Religious Establishment], Kiyan (Tehran), Vol. 4, No. 24, 1995, pp. 2-11.

87. Ettela`at (Tehran), 10 September 1995, p. 2.

88. Forough Jahanbakhsh, Islam, Democracy and Religious Modernism in Iran 1953-2000 (Leiden, 2001), p. 177.

89. ICG interview with Hojjatoleslam Mohsen Kadivar, Tehran, 20 February 2002.

90. For the Persian texts of Montazeri’s sharp letters of protest, see Khaterat-e Ayatollah Montazeri [The Memoirs of Ayatollah Montazeri] (February 2001), pp. 303-307. Montazeri’s extensive memoirs (671 pages) were first distributed by his followers and family members in Qom, in autumn 2000, via the internet until the government closed down the site. Publication and distribution of the memoirs is

strictly forbidden in Iran but the text has been printed abroad by several publishing houses affiliated to various exiled opposition groups. The original text has been subjected to ”corrections” and distortions according to the political orientation and objectives of those groups. The version cited here is relatively faithful to the original and was published in February 2001 by former Iranian President Abolhasan

Bani-Sadr (who lives in exile in Paris) through the publishing house Entesharat-e enqelab-e eslami.

91. Heinz Halm, Der schiitische Islam: von der Religion zur Revolution [shia Islam: From Religion to Revolution] (Munich, 1994), p. 170.

92. For information on Montazeri’s followers, see Wilfried Buchta, “Die Islamische Republik Iran und die religiöspolitische Kontroverse um die marja‘iyat” [The Islamic

Republic of Iran and the Religious-Political Controversy Over the Marja’iyat], in Orient 36, no. 3 (1995). p. 465.

93. From an interview with Montazeri, in Qom, 18 September 1994. See Wilfried Buchta, Die iranische Schia und die islamische Einheit 1979–1996 [iranian Shia and Islamic Unity 1979–1996] (Hamburg, 1997), p. 130.

94. See Montazeri’s twelve-page protest declaration (published after a violent Hezbollah raid on his Qom office). Grand Ayatollah Hosein Ali Montazeri, Bayani-ye [Declaration] (Qom, 1992), p. 5.

95. See Section V.

96. ICG interview with Grand Ayatollah Yusef Sane‘i, Qom, 21 February 2002.

97. ICG interview with an Ayatollah, Qom, 22 February 2002.

98. See al-Mujaz ‘an Iran, no. 65 (February 1997), p. 15.

99. Sistani is the successor to Grand Ayatollah Abolqasem Khoei, who died in 1992, and whose erudition — in the eyes of many Shiites — surpassed even that of Khomeini.

100. Jens-Uwe Rahe, Irakische Schiiten im Londoner Exil: Eine Bestandsaufnahme ihrer Organisationen und Untersuchung ihrer Selbstdarstellungen (1991–1994) [iraqi

Shi‘is in Exile in London: A Stock Taking of Their Organisations and Examination of Their Self-Descriptions 1991–1994] (Wuerzburg, 1996), pp. 60–64.

101. On his ideas, see Saiyid Mortaza Shirazi, Shura alfuqaha’ [The Council of Islamic Jurists] (Beirut, 1996), pp. 377–509.

Edited by Cyan_Garamond
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From IRAN: THE STRUGGLE FOR THE REVOLUTION’S SOUL, 5 August 2002

IV. INTELLECTUAL AND ISLAMIC DISSENT

Numerous important opposition groups exist in the grey area between government and civil society, and many of these criticise the government on religious grounds while advocating non-violent change within the boundaries established by the 1979

constitution. The leadership of these domestic Islamic dissident reformers comes primarily from religious intellectuals and Shiite clerics, many of whom initially secured influential positions in the early years following the revolution. Subsequently, some were forced to the fringes because their views were felt to be “deviant” and “liberal”. Because these domestic opposition groups have consistently rejected violence, they are more or less tolerated by the government, although their access to the media and electoral politics has often been blocked.

. . .

The original text has been subjected to ”corrections” and distortions according to the political orientation and objectives of those groups. The version cited here is relatively faithful to the original and was published in February 2001 by former Iranian President Abolhasan

Bani-Sadr (who lives in exile in Paris) through the publishing house Entesharat-e enqelab-e eslami.

91. Heinz Halm, Der schiitische Islam: von der Religion zur Revolution [shia Islam: From Religion to Revolution] (Munich, 1994), p. 170.

92. For information on Montazeri’s followers, see Wilfried Buchta, “Die Islamische Republik Iran und die religiöspolitische Kontroverse um die marja‘iyat” [The Islamic

Republic of Iran and the Religious-Political Controversy Over the Marja’iyat], in Orient 36, no. 3 (1995). p. 465.

93. From an interview with Montazeri, in Qom, 18 September 1994. See Wilfried Buchta, Die iranische Schia und die islamische Einheit 1979–1996 [iranian Shia and Islamic Unity 1979–1996] (Hamburg, 1997), p. 130.

94. See Montazeri’s twelve-page protest declaration (published after a violent  Hezbollah raid on his Qom office). Grand Ayatollah Hosein Ali Montazeri, Bayani-ye [Declaration] (Qom, 1992), p. 5.

95. See Section V.

96. ICG interview with Grand Ayatollah Yusef Sane‘i, Qom, 21 February 2002.

97. ICG interview with an Ayatollah, Qom, 22 February 2002.

98. See al-Mujaz ‘an Iran, no. 65 (February 1997), p. 15.

99. Sistani is the successor to Grand Ayatollah Abolqasem Khoei, who died in 1992, and whose erudition — in the eyes of many Shiites — surpassed even that of Khomeini.

100. Jens-Uwe Rahe, Irakische Schiiten im Londoner Exil: Eine Bestandsaufnahme ihrer Organisationen und Untersuchung ihrer Selbstdarstellungen (1991–1994) [iraqi

Shi‘is in Exile in London: A Stock Taking of Their Organisations and Examination of Their Self-Descriptions 1991–1994] (Wuerzburg, 1996), pp. 60–64.

101. On his ideas, see Saiyid Mortaza Shirazi, Shura alfuqaha’ [The Council of Islamic Jurists] (Beirut, 1996), pp. 377–509.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

(salam)

Interesting and thoughtprovoking stuff Cyan, but it seems part of a larger piece.

Could you email me the entire article if have it, email or PM me the link to it, or post it here . . .

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Sorush’s non-ideological approach to Islam centred on pluralism, rationality, tolerance and human rights has inspired a new generation

By his ideas also he seems to be a hypocrite....a sell out of Western powers....pluralism, tolerance, human rights favourite words of Western media...

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The “quietists” represent a different strain of clerical dissent. This group considers the very creation of a Supreme Leader a violation of the notion that the long-awaited “Hidden Imam”, or messianic saviour, will return. They argue that until the Hidden Imam emerges, there can be no legitimate ruler – even from among the clergy – and that to suggest otherwise is blasphemy. Iranian quietists lost most of the autonomy they enjoyed under the Shah when Khomeini’s theological state was established. They

generally ignore Khamenei, or treat him with disapproval and view his theological qualifications as inadequate.

The quietists continue to call for the clergy’s complete withdrawal from politics in order to preserve religious integrity. One Ayatollah in Qom went so far as to declare that the merger of politics and religion under the Islamic Republic had destroyed the moral credibility of Islam’s representatives and prompted many to abandon their beliefs.97 Among the most prominent quietists are Grand Ayatollahs Hasan Tabatabai-Qomi from

Mashhad, and Ali Sistani from Najaf.98 Ali Sistani is perhaps the most serious rival to Khamenei for leadership of Shias outside Iran.99 His power is enhanced by control of the Khoei Foundation in London, which receives charitable contributions estimated in the billions of dollars from Shiites around the world.100

some people like to keep reminding us about these "quietists" . can anyone bring some authentic daleel that there are many maraja today who are "quietists"???

how can any half decent muslim even promote the seperation of Allah's laws from government and social justice??

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some people like to keep reminding us about these "quietists" . can anyone bring some authentic daleel that there are many maraja today who are "quietists"???

how can any half decent muslim even promote the seperation of Allah's laws from government and social justice??

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Bro, "quietist' generally refers to those ulama/maraje who did not have strong involvement in politics and generally were of the opinion that clergy should stay out of government. Sayyid Seestani many times advised such (I learned this through news reports, and I may have read it on one of his statements). His mentor, Sayyid Khoei (ra) was also of this trend. Now, you could possibly debate this, but neither he nor Seestani lead any motion toward clergy forming a government. Furthermore, Sayyid Khoei suggested to Sayyid Baqir Sader (ra) to quit official involvement in the Dawa Party.

Perhaps you will challenge all this, but this seems to be distinctly different from Sayyid Khomeini's efforts and actions.

This is what is meant by 'quietist'. Sayyid Tabatabai Qomi was of the opinion that clergy should stay out of politics period.

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how can any half decent muslim even promote the seperation of Allah's laws from government and social justice??

This is something that puzzled me at one time also. Howver, we have seen so many situations where, in their zeal to enforce Islamic laws, they have committed excesses and oppression. Then, comes the idea that we cannot form a truly Islamic and just republic without a masoom as head. Hence, it is better to have a democratic republic that respects Islam and uses it as a source of legislation, enforcing only what can be enforced without committing injustice and oppression, and respecting minorities, and allowing freedom and dissent. That is the line of reasoning.

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Then, comes the idea that we cannot form a truly Islamic and just republic without a masoom as head.  Hence, it is better to have a democratic republic that respects Islam and uses it as a source of legislation, enforcing only what can be enforced without committing injustice and oppression, and respecting minorities, and allowing freedom and dissent.  That is the line of reasoning.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Do u mean to say that this is not possible in a govenment ruled by clerics ? moreover whats the guarantee that democracy gonna work in the way u want it ?

If u r not dumb to enuff to see that limited democracy is present in Iran...

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(bismillah)

Soroush is much influenced by orientalist thoughts under the pretext of "academia".

Wasalaam

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Why should anyone be afraid of his "influenced" by orientalist thoughts?

Sourush is much like Rushdie...except this time the target is stupid shias. It seems to be working.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

You often try to reason out your responses; what happened this time?

By his ideas also he seems to be a hypocrite....a sell out of Western powers....pluralism, tolerance, human rights favourite words of Western media...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Saying that without tabling proof amounts to slander

This is something that puzzled me at one time also.  Howver, we have seen so many situations where, in their zeal to enforce Islamic laws, they have committed excesses and oppression. Then, comes the idea that we cannot form a truly Islamic and just republic without a masoom as head.  Hence, it is better to have a democratic republic that respects Islam and uses it as a source of legislation, enforcing only what can be enforced without committing injustice and oppression, and respecting minorities, and allowing freedom and dissent.  That is the line of reasoning.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Well spoken . . .

Do u mean to say that this is not possible in a govenment ruled by clerics ? moreover whats the guarantee that democracy gonna work in the way u want it ?

If u r not dumb to enuff to see that limited democracy is present in Iran...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

History, during the past 26 years has spoken out quite loudly

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Do u mean to say that this is not possible in a govenment ruled by clerics ? moreover whats the guarantee that democracy gonna work in the way u want it ?

If u r not dumb to enuff to see that limited democracy is present in Iran...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

You and I both know that, before this revolution, the clergy never had much of an offical role in government. At best, they were trust advisors of kings. The people, high and low, looked to them as a fortress of justice against opression and the only real group that cared about common people and their welfare.

What we have today in Iran is vastly different. Although we have clerics who still have such an image, with the establishment of the Supreme Leader, Guardian Council, and other government bodies full of clerics, many people have come to see them in the same light as the past rulers.

Now instead of being their advocates and a stabilizing force, parts of the clergy have become their overlords and masters. They have, to a degree, lost their image as defenders of justice when they became the government.

You and I know very well that they punish dissident views by closing media outlets or even imprisoning people, or worse. So we must commit injustice for the sake of having an "Islamic Republic"? What's it worth then? Finally, answer me this: What man, who is not perfect, hand the burden of being both Pope and Emperor at once?

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You and I both know that, before this revolution, the clergy never had much of an offical role in government.  At best, they were trust advisors of kings.  The people, high and low, looked to them as a fortress of justice against opression and the only real group that cared about common people and their welfare.

What we have today in Iran is vastly different.  Although we have clerics who still have such an image, with the establishment of the Supreme Leader, Guardian Council, and other government bodies full of clerics, many people have come to see them in the same light as the past rulers.

Now instead of being their advocates and a stabilizing force, parts of the clergy have become their overlords and masters.  They have, to a degree, lost their image as defenders of justice when they became the government.

You and I know very well that they punish dissident views by closing media outlets or even imprisoning people, or worse.  So we must commit injustice for the sake of having an "Islamic Republic"?  What's it worth then?  Finally, answer me this:  What man, who is not perfect, hand the burden of being both Pope and Emperor at once?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

(salam)

Cyan

The equation is simple.

All temporal state power is oppressive to a greater or lesser degree. The reason why the 'Ulama of yesteryears kept themselves distanced from the centers of temporal powere.

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  • 3 weeks later...
You guys have all defamed Soroush's name. He is pious, and mo'min, but disagrees with the WF. Anytime anyone does, you guys jump to munafiq and other terms like that. An then you say there's room for tolerance. For shame

What do you expect from people who have the same mentality as Wahhabis? They have taken Abu Bakr and replaced it with Ali; only his name stands not what he is or what Ali stood for. I am not scared to say WF implemented in Iran is the 5th sect of Bakrism.

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  • Advanced Member
From IRAN: THE STRUGGLE FOR THE REVOLUTION’S SOUL, 5 August 2002

IV. INTELLECTUAL AND ISLAMIC DISSENT

Numerous important opposition groups exist in the grey area between government and civil society, and many of these criticise the government on religious grounds while advocating non-violent change within the boundaries established by the 1979 constitution. The leadership of these domestic Islamic dissident reformers comes primarily from religious intellectuals and Shiite clerics, many of whom initially secured influential positions in the early years following the revolution. Subsequently, some were forced to the fringes because their views were felt to be “deviant” and “liberal”. Because these domestic opposition groups have consistently rejected violence, they are more or less tolerated by the government, although their access to the media and electoral politics has often been blocked.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Interesting observations . . . though it makes one wonder, that since these folks aren't a threat to the status quo, why are they so severely persecuted?

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  • 4 years later...
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I think you are confusing Akbar Ganji with Soroush.

Akbar Ganji famously denied Imam Mahdi and the Quran's divine origin here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZCSUuaF1KE

Nevertheless, the two are very close, so I wouldn't be surprised if Soroush said the same.

While we're on the subject, look at this video:

:)
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