"For example depending how speech is used it can be termed as a good or bad action and in every society there is a restiction on exactly what is considered freedom of speech. This action in that society as in many societies is considered as a crime,although this may be hard to conceive of it is reciprocally the same thing for advocates of free speech condeming Khomeini for expressing his veiws on Salman Rushdie this is an example of supressing another viewpoint."
Date: Sun, 9 Nov 97 07:16:59 GMT
From: DeltaNet Form Processor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Guest Book Signature
Findout="Just surfed on in!"
comments="I looked at your homepage with the link to the Ayatollah Khomeini . Although your links were very informative and thought provoking i found you to be misinformed about Ayatollah khomeini and his edict on Salman Rushdie. It should be understood what is considered as just an issue of freedom of speech, in many cultures speech itself is considered as an action. For example depending how speech is used it can be termed as a good or bad action and in every society there is a restiction on exactly what is considered freedom of speech. This action in that society as in many societies is considered as a crime,although this may be hard to conceive of it is reciprocally the same thing for advocates of free speech condeming Khomeini for expressing his veiws on Salman Rushdie this is an example of supressing another viewpoint. there are many reasons which Salman Rushdie wrote this book free speech was not one of them. thirdly I would very much encourage you to aquant yourself with the Iranian revolution as it is one of the most impacting events of this century which has shaped world events since its occurence. A very unbiased book which would be very informative is a book called "Tell the American People, Perspectives on the Iranian Revolution" it is written by Americans who have been to Iran. Another book is "Seventeen Days in Tehran" by Robin Woodsworth Carlsen. Please respond if you have any questions or comments will be eager to hear your response. " recipient="email@example.com" thankURL="http://www.rjgeib.com/about-me/guest/thank-you.html"
Iranian mullahs are hardly the only religiously intolerant characters in history!
"The death sentence is a necessary and efficacious means for the Church to attain its ends when rebels against it disturb the ecclesiastical unity, especially obstinate heretics who cannot be restrained by any other penalty from continuing to disturb ecclesiastical order."
POPE LEO XIII
"Book of Canon Law" Preface, Volume 2
by M. de Luca, Society of Jesus
"When the existence of the Church is threatened, she is released from the commandments of morality. With unity as the end, the use of every means is sanctified, even cunning, treachery, violence, simony, prison, death. For all order is for the sake of the community, and the individual must be sacrificed for the common good."
Dietrich von Nieheim
Bishop of Verden
De schismate libri III, AD 1411
"I inform the proud Muslim people of the world that the author of the Satanic Verses book which is against Islam, the Prophet and the Koran, and all involved in its publication who were aware of its content, are sentenced to death."
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini
"No viewpoints are banned, except those that have been banned by the law."
Mohammad Khatani, president of Iran,
after the arrest in December 1997 of the head of Iran's token legal opposition, the Freedom Movement
...yet some religiously minded people are a little more broad-minded!"I know there is but one truth, but this truth cannot be so easily brought forth without this liberty [freedom of expression]; and a general restraint, though intended but for errors, yet through the skillfulness of men, may fall upon the truth. And better many errors of some kind suffered than one useful truth obstructed or destroyed."
anonymous English pamphleteer in 1645
Dear Mr. Mirza,
I would agree with you that speech is an action - of that, there can be no doubt. However, I would argue that speech is not an action for which a person should be sentenced to death. Perhaps such a thing could be justified in time of war in espionage; but human history has a long and ignoble tradition of killing individuals who "blaspheme" and transgress the dogma of those in power at the time. This is the spirit of the medieval Catholic Church and the later Inquisitors who ad mayor glorium burned the "impious" and the contrarian at the stake. The Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his Velayat e- Faqih theory of divinely inspired government through ecclesiastical authority is a modern throwback to such grim religious patriarchs. If he could, Khomeini obviously would hold his own private auto-da-fé for Rushdie; I have no doubt such a violent end for the hated heretic Rushdie would have given Khomeini a perverse pleasure.
I hold Khomeini to be and have been a scoundrel and enemy of thinking men and women everywhere not for "expressing his views" on Rushdie, but for calling for the author's murder and in placing a bounty of $1,000,000 on his head towards helping bring that about. Even the Catholic Church does not go so far anymore! A few years ago when Martin Scorcese released the film "The Last Temptation of Christ," based on a novel by Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis which depicts Christ metaphor-like in the guise of a normal man with sexual desires, Christians all over the United States were indignant at what they saw as blasphemy. They heaped opprobrium on all involved in making, releasing, and showing the movie, calling for boycotts and writing articles and letters of protest. Yet even they would not go so far as to call for violence. Khomeini - and his strange manifestation of medieval theocratic government in the late 20th century - has no problem crossing such a line, and in doing so shows himself to be no different than so numerous other thugs in power in the past, present, and future who would resort to murder to silence a voice or kill an idea.
Yet even as I would personally denounce Khomeini and his fatwa against Rushdie as execrable in the extreme, I would not have the cleric assassinated for it. My webpages in a hundred different places are written to urge the importance of certain ideas and beliefs through vigor of argument and depth of passion without resorting to threats or violence. It are those immoderate and insecure in their beliefs who would resort to violence and censorship, in my opinion. I have read books I hated and which ran against everything I believe in; I consequently argued in the strongest terms against them with all the passion and skill I could muster. Yet still I would not place the offending tract on some list of forbidden books, desire for it to be publicly burned, or call for the assassination of its author. That goes against the spirit of learning and pursuing truth which separates barbarism from civilization, in my opinion.
I would agree with you about the Iranian Revolution being one of the "most impacting events of this century." Unfortunately, I see it as a depressingly typical "event" of this bloody 20th century replete with murder, cruelty, suffering, oppression and misery. The rise of the fascists in Germany, Italy, Japan... the Russian Revolution, Chinese Revolution, Iranian Revolution... a sad litany of the more tragic and bloody crimes and misfortunes of recent history. The authoritarian Shah Reza Pahlavi reigns for decades, only to be supplanted by Khomeini and his hoary cronies...; and then eight years of war with Iraq (1980-1988) where supposedly well over a million (often adolescent) Iranians die for God, the ayatollah tells us, and the people supposedly believe it to be so. One's heart bleeds for the decent people of Iran with no end to the tyranny in sight! How dispiriting! "We are still in a revolutionary atmosphere," claimed recently Iranian author and publisher Shahla Lahiji, "But people want an ordinary life." When will it end?
I tracked your missive and found it to be coming from Los Angeles. I also live in that city in an area where many ethnic-Persians who fled Iran after the ascendancy of Khomeini and the establishment of his Islamic Republic live in exodus. Their children missed growing up in a country long enmeshed in a bitter and bloody war with equally repugnant neighboring Iraq, leaving so many young Iranian men dead in the mud and trenches. They missed out living under a theological dictatorship isolated from the rest of the world - the Iranian women enjoying the freedom to adhere strictly to draconian rules concerning their dress and conduct or face harsh censure. How lucky for the diaspora Persians to have gotten out!
The Shahs, the mullahs... I dare hope for something better for Iran in the 21st century.