Late 20th Century Theocracy

"Thanx to Khomeini Iran is the wayy IT SHOULD BE!! ans insha'allah IT WILL NEVER CHENGE with the help of Allah."

Date: Tue, 26 Jan 99 00:36:52 GMT
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comments=" Salaam Alaikum.
I see you have also been brainwashed by the Americans, like many other Muslims, which is REALLY sad. You need to know the religion of that country BEFORE you say anything dude. Thanx to Khomeini Iran is the wayy IT SHOULD BE!! ans insha'allah IT WILL NEVER CHENGE with the help of Allah. It is not a country where they practice Christianity, it is an ISLAMic republic, and it does not need to change. Also, our country is NOT suffering, you just need to go learn more about your true religion and see that theres no need for ANY change.
Thanx for your time.
K. Hafez

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      Dear Shirin,

      I am flattered that you assume I am a Muslim; my efforts to learn about Islam, Arabic and Persian culture, and current Middle Eastern politics render fruit! In fact, I am partisan towards no particular religion. For example, I could care less whether individual Iranians practice Islam, Christianity, Baha'ai, Judaism, or whatever. But I begin to think otherwise when I see how religion is used so overweeningly in the Islamic Republic so as to exclude almost everything else (ie. science, progress, trade, technology, personal freedoms, etc.). Thanks to the Ayatollah Khomeini -- and his heavy-handed adaptation of "true religion" to government and nearly all aspects of life in a Procrustean bed of conformity -- Iranian government today is yet another variation on a despotism which has deep roots in Persian culture. Darius, Xerxes, the Shah Reza Pahlavi, the Ayatollah Khomeini... the newest Monarch, the latest Imam,the Peacock Throne replaced by the Ayatollah Pulpit: what does it really matter from ground level? It is all the same genre of authoritarianism and repression. It is not the lack of Christianity which bothers me about Iran. It is the insular climate of intellectual dogmatism and lack of civil liberties in the Islamic Republic that cuts it out from the rest of the world which makes me write against it. There are signs this is changing in Iran as the radical legacy of the Khomeini's Islamic Revolution fades and moderates challenge the power of the conservative Shi'a clergy and demand more republic and less theocracy, but the shape of Iran's future is far from sure.

      You propose a society based on Allah which need not change with the times; and it is in large part this backward looking mythology of the Golden Age of Islam, in my opinion, which keeps the ummah languishing so often in poverty and impotence. To buy into the Islamist paradigm of the world is in practice to hearken back to the medieval world of Muhammad and consequently reject the majority of modernity. Consequently, I find it laughably ironic that I trace your "anonymous" e-mail message (using "Hezbollah" as your identifier, the name of a violent, rejectionist terrorist group of Islamic fundamentalists in the shattered corpus of Lebanon) back through the Internet from the LAX UUNet backbone relay to the dial up number for a local Internet Service Provider in Rancho Cucamonga here in Southern California. Here you are praising to the sky the latter-day theocracy of an Islamic civilization in long decline, but doing so via a modern information network made possible only by the technological advances of Western civil society. If you really want to impress me and show that your country need not change with the times ("IT WILL NEVER CHENGE with the help of Allah"), send me this e-mail message from inside the Islamic Republic of Iran.

      Khomeini and like-minded fundamentalists have shown that their vision of Islam can propose workable solutions to the questions of morality, identity, meaning, and faith in the Muslim world. They have had far less luck curing the crises of social injustice, political repression, economic backwardness, and military weakness. And so a place like Iran continues to wave in the wind, caught between two incompatible worlds. Your Islamist e-mail (very nearly an oxymoron) highlights all this very clearly.


      Richard Geib

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