Friday, August 26, 2011

Quds and Democracy

"And we conveyed to the Children of Israel in the Scripture that : You will surely cause corruption(mischief) on earth twice and most certainly  you will behave insolently with great insolence." Holy Quran , Sura Asra , Ayat 4.
The Holy Quran has made a correct prediction concerning the Jewish zionists who are now creating mischief for some time in the world. The fact that Israel was created based on the occupation of Palestinian lands and based on the massacre and mass expulsion of hundreds of defenseless Palestinians is undeniable. For years Israel has created an atmosphere of fear mainly with the support of the American government and the tacit support of pro American dictators such as Mubarak of Egypt and Ben Ali of Tunisia. It has regularly detained and imprisoned citizens of the West Bank and Gaza, it assassinated political figures and leaders whenever it wished and it has attacked and killed Palestinians in a regular strategy of terror and usurpation .  After its attack on South Lebanon and then its attack on Gaza , the zionist entity has lost its legitimacy in the face of the public opinion in most parts of the world including the US and Europe. Western governments however, have relentlessly stood behind Israel with the assumption that this state is necessary to curb the growing powers of the Muslim world.
The awakening of the Arab world and the downfall of dictators in recent months has further weakened this regime. In addition, zionists have awakened to the reality that in this spring of freedom and democracy , authentic Islamic values are still seriously safeguarded. Israel now has realized that the anti-zionist sentiments are stronger than ever.

Dictators in the region must also understand that pro-independence and anti-zionist policy cannot be employed as a pretext to close in on individual freedoms and curb democratic values. Islamic reformism alongside democracy will enable people to become aware and make wise decisions concerning their future.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Imam Ali and the Downfall of the Dictator of Libya

We have been celebrating the nights of Ghadr or "value".This has been an opportunity to gather and pray together.  Imam Ali Ibn Abitalib was martyred on such a night in the month of Ramazan  40 years after the hejira. He was then, the leader or khalifa of the  Muslim  society . Ali had a unique status among the companions of the Prophet , his attractive and strong personality, his thirst and sacrifice for the truth and for justice were qualities  revered among both enemies and friends. Ali had proven to be reliable, and trustworthy. He was considered to be the most qualified successor to the Prophet of Islam in personal attributes and behavioral traits. He had the substance and compassion to forgive his enemies and to withstand the oppressors. However, those who  claimed to be Muslim but only in name, those who could not tolerate his justice  and his values became aligned against the symbol of righteousness . The hypocrites had begun a smearing campaign against Imam Ali which led to his martyrdom.

The unique personality of this man, his lifestyle and his teachings, gathered as the Nahjul-balaghe, have been studied and reviewed by scores of scholars from all faiths and backgrounds. Many point to his four- year government as an example of a just and efficient system of governance, unprecedented in those ages. Many examples of Imam Ali's practices are now taken by Reformists as cases that prove that certain practices of the current Iranian government are not in tune with what they claim to be as followers of Imam Ali.  The self criticism of Imam Ali and his respect for those who criticized him and his struggle against despotism and tyranny are among some of the issues that Reformists point to.
The coincidence of these nights of Ramazan with the transformations in Libya and the downfall of one of the most despised dictators of our age is also interesting.

With astonishing speed overnight,  revolutionary forces have entered Tripoli, signaling the end of  the reign of a four decade old dictator. After months of struggle and hundreds of martyrs, the Libyan Revolution against tyranny and oppression is coming to a culmination. It seems that Dictators, like Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Saddam Hussein, Ben Ali, Mubarak, Ali Saleh and now Ghazzafi have awakened to the reality only when it was too late. This is a common feature of unlimited, endless and unregulated power in the hands of men who were actually at one time revolutionaries themselves.
The footage emerging from Benghazi and Tripoli shows the jubilation of the people, the calls of Allah o Akbar and the religious atmosphere among the revolutionaries indicates that religious beliefs are key factors in this movement. They now feel that the suffering and sacrifices they experienced was worth it. It seems that the Libyan people expect NATO to leave the future of Libya to the people and Western forces are expected to refrain from interference. We all hope that the revolutionary forces learn from the lessons of other revolutions and fill the power vacum with a transitional government to bring order and pave way for democratic and constitutional changes.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Street in Tehran Named After an American Woman

We approved a street in Tehran to be named after Rachel Aliene Corrie in the Tehran City Council last Tuesday. This street was named after an American activist who was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer in the Gaza Strip in 2003.
Corrie, a pro-Palestinian activist from Washington, was trying to prevent what she and other campaigners believed was a push by the Israeli military to demolish nearby Palestinian homes. She was 23 at the time of her death. I think this was the first time an Iranian street has been named after a US national since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Before the Revolution, we had at least three high streets in the Iranian capital which were named after former US presidents: Dwight Eisenhower, John F Kennedy and Franklin Roosevelt. They were all changed to revolutionary names later. Eisenhower was changed to Azadi or freedom. Roosevelt was changed to Mofatteh , a revolutionary figure martyred in that street. Now we have a street named after an American citizen, not a President, but a hero and martyr for humanity. Considering the recent news that the Israeli government has approved 1600 new houses to be built in occupied Jerusalem , this decision of the Tehran Council is a strong sign of ongoing support for Palestinians . Nevertheless, considering the escalation of violence in Syrian cities many Iranians also sympathize with Syrian protesters , many feel that they have much in common with them.
On a similar move, I made a proposal last week to name a street after Ameneh Bahrami the Iranian woman who pardoned the convict who had sprayed acid in her face and had permanently disfigured her face and left her blind. She pardoned him only after the man was convicted  and was set for Ghesas meaning legal compensation or retribution in which he would be blinded with acid. Ameneh made it clear that she wanted this to be a lesson for men who practiced this inhuman act.  She also  has set a mark for those who did not understand that in pardoning and forgiveness there were great  lessons for all. "She is a heroine who deserves recognition", I said in the Council . "The Iranian society needs compassion and forgiveness above all , we need to disseminate the message of forgiveness in order to confront the hatred and violence in our society." I noted.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Ramazan Once Again

Muslims enter a one month period of fasting today. Ramazan is a lunar month during which Muslims abstain from the worldly enjoyments and adhere to moral codes meaning refraining from lies, deceit and fraud. Ramazan literally means burning, implying that the impurities and sins burn  out . Fasting is a change in the monotonous ways of life. It is a new lifestyle in which the spiritual dimensions are just as important as the material dimensions. Ramazan is an uprising against the consumerist lifestyle that has permeated our lives, it is a return to human and spiritual values. During this month the Holy Quran is read with contemplation and thought. This provides an opportunity to think about some of the basic issues which are forgotten in the current modern age.

The hunger which we experience in Ramazan should enable us to understand the pains and sufferings of  the impoverished and downtrodden . The ongoing tragedy and famine in Somalia is one case which requires more attention from Islamic societies. Islamic governments like Iran should take more serious measures to address the sufferings of Muslim nations, not only  in the context of political interests but also in the context of our humanitarian commitments.