Commentaries http://english.irib.ir Tue, 17 Oct 2017 02:07:40 +0000 en-gb US policy stage: Is there such thing as 'radical Islam'? http://english.irib.ir/radioislam/commentaries/item/220726-us-policy-stage-is-there-such-thing-as-radical-islam http://english.irib.ir/radioislam/commentaries/item/220726-us-policy-stage-is-there-such-thing-as-radical-islam

Why do right wingers, Zionists, New Atheists, and the so-called ‘Christian’ fundamentalists insist on using the term 'radical Islam'?

Anyone watching either American cable news or the US presidential race might conclude that no two words put together are said more often and with more political charge than the words “radical Islam". CJ Werleman, the author of Crucifying America, has written an informative article on the real purpose of those policymakers and those who play politics in the United States in insisting on what they refer to as ‘radical Islam.’

During the most recent GOP debate, US presidential candidates mentioned “radical Islam” more than two-dozen times. Donald Trump said “Look, we have a tremendous problem with radical Islam.” In an earlier interview, Ted Cruz said Obama’s refusal to mention “radical Islam” is not befitting a commander-in-chief.
So why do right wingers, Christian fundamentalists, Zionists, and New Atheists insist on using the term “radical Islam”? It’s not as if ISIS or al-Qaeda will suddenly surrender the day some urge to chant the so-called “radical Islam” like some kind of weird mantra. It’s not as though not saying “radical Islam” fails to identify the enemy, given the easily identified enemy: ISIS and al-Qaeda.
Those who insist on thrusting the words “radical Islam” into the body politick do so for sinister reasons. The application of “radical Islam” not only strips Muslims of normal human emotions including revenge, humiliation, desperation, it also implies that Muslims are ticking time bombs to be monitored and viewed with a suspicious eye.
John McWhorter, a linguist at Columbia University, told The New York Times: “In a sentence such as ‘We must eradicate radical Islam,’ the object of eradicate is technically ‘radical Islam,’ yes, but the core object, the heart of the expression ‘radical Islam’ is ‘Islam'”. In another interview, McWhorter said: “That affects how one processes such a sentence – the adjective can come off as kind of decoration.”

We should get one thing straight: there is no such thing as “radical Islam". There are radicals in any societies and communities whether Muslims or non-Muslims, considering the fact that they are not real ‘religious’ men or women. Equally, there’s no such thing as “radical Christianity,” but there are radical Christians. However, when, here and there, a Christian, commit inhumane and violent act of terror, no one used the term “radical Christianity".
The term “radical Islam” is used most by right wing, neo-con politicians as a fig leaf to divert conversation away from examining the role US foreign policy, and particularly the so-called War on Terror, plays in radicalizing some Muslims.
Instead of “radical Islam,” a more accurate way of defining the US targeted terror threat would be “anti-Americanism," but that then means examining our role in the link between cause and effect as it pertains to understanding violence and counter-violence, which is not conducive for neither good television ratings nor those who profit from endless war.
American television audiences are not told how their government’s actions have led to the death of four million Muslims in US led wars since 1990. When those who target the US with terrorist deeds cite clearly their central grievances, for instance the Boston bombers cited the US killing of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, their grievances are ignored or mentioned only as an afterthought.
American television audiences want to be reassured America is that “shining city on a hill,” which is why graphics attached to a Fox News backdrop are so star spangled awesome. “Radical” + “Islam” instead of “Iraq” + “invasion” is how right-wingers keep their sense of awesomeness.

The major television network CBS News is also a cog in the wheel of feel-good American exceptionalism. Just recently, the network aired a focus group discussion that centered on how American Muslims view the rise of ISIS, and how much responsibility they feel, as Muslims, to condemn ISIS attacks.
After the feature aired, however, two of the participants, Muslim Americans, contacted The Intercept to complain CBS had “edited out parts of the discussion where they raised their own concerns – including critiques of US militarism, surveillance, and entrapment". They also said the host of the program, Frank Luntz, a well-known right-wing commentator and pollster, “silenced members of the group when they criticized discriminatory US government policies".
All of which underscores how sinister the motives are of those who insist on thrusting forth the words “radical Islam” – for the inference from the media and elsewhere is clear in the eyes of ‘American radicals’: in order for Muslims to retain their “moderate” Muslim-ness, they must keep any criticisms they have of US foreign policy and/or the war on terror to themselves.
To be classified as so-called ‘moderate’ Muslims they must forget what they know about Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and instead align themselves with the fantasies of the war on terror; they are expected to constrain their religion to the private sphere and see themselves as liberal individuals. No wonder these so-called ‘moderate’ Muslims are said by the media to be so hard to find.

Fear of being wrongly identified as sympathetic to “radical Islam” by work colleagues, friends, and neighbors is forcing many Muslim Americans to self-censor their political views; yes, a manifestation of Islamophobia.
Indeed, something is wrong by design. The term “radical Islam” is used to silence opposition to those who benefit most from the $1 trillion so-called ‘counter-terrorism’ spend, endless foreign wars and military occupations, which explains why those who are tied intimately to both the military-industrial-complex and the homeland-security-industrial complex are the loudest cheerleaders for the “radical Islam” chant.
US Senator Lindsey Graham, who is one of the top recipients of defense contractor campaign donations, unashamedly said: “Radical Islam is motivated by a religious doctrine that requires them to purify their religion; they can’t be accommodated or appeased.” While Senator John McCain, who receives more defense contractor money than any elected official in Washington, warned: “The world has turned dramatically towards radical Islam.”
Ultimately, money drives all political narratives in the United States, and given the money that’s at stake, the words “radical Islam” are here to stay, which means more fear and suspicion placed on Muslim Americans – Isalmophobia – while conversation regarding the real roots of US targeted terror will remain shunned. That may mean good television ratings for the corporate owned media as well.

EA

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Commentaries Wed, 30 Dec 2015 11:00:38 +0000
US and reactionary regimes helpless in the face of Iran's influence http://english.irib.ir/radioislam/commentaries/item/212639-us-and-reactionary-regimes-helpless-in-the-face-of-iran-s-influence http://english.irib.ir/radioislam/commentaries/item/212639-us-and-reactionary-regimes-helpless-in-the-face-of-iran-s-influence

Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, made it clear that the US and its client regimes in the region are incapable of doing anything, despite their secret sessions on the growing influence and clout of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the region and beyond.

 

In a speech last night in Tehran, during an audience granted to a large gathering of university students, he said that in a crude reaction to Iran’s moral and spiritually influence in the region, Saudi Arabia and its accomplices have been relentlessly bombing the homes and hearths of the Yemeni people.

It is now more than 100 days that the Saudis have been raining bombs on the people of Yemen, even in the blessed month of Ramadhan, while openly saying that the main reason for their attacks is the popularity of the grassroots Ansarullah Movement which is inspired by the Islamic Republic of Iran. The regime in Riyadh, which is the initiator of the war in Yemen, has feverishly accused Iran of what it calls interference in the affairs of Arab states such as Yemen, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, while the fact of the matter is that, it is Saudi which is behind the destruction and destabilization of Arab state by funding Takfiri outfits to unleashing terrorism on a wide scale.

Unlike Saudi Arabia that promotes sectarian terrorism, the Islamic Republic of Iran firmly adheres to its principled policy of supporting the oppressed people and confronting the oppressors. This is one of the dynamics of the Islamic Revolution that triumphed in Iran in 1979 to inspire freedom movements in the region and beyond. Accordingly, whenever the voice of an oppressed is heard, Islamic Iran has provided moral support to popular movements. The Islamic Republic has always backed the demand of the people and taken the side the oppressed against the oppressed. As part of this policy, Tehran is providing moral and humanitarian support for the oppressed Yemeni people against the Saudi war machine.

Iran likewise supports the oppressed people of Palestine and Lebanon against the Zionist entity. Iran's support for the oppressed people of Palestine and designating the Last Friday of the blessed month of Ramadan as the "World Quds Day" by the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (God's mercy upon his soul), gave new life to the struggle of Palestinians and other Muslims for the liberation of Islam’s first qibla, Bayt al-Moqaddas. Thank God, the incessant efforts of the fabricated Zionist regime and its western backers have failed to kill the issue of Palestine.  

As the Leader of the Islamic Revolution said: “The moral influence of Islamic Iran in the region is among the bounties of God, and is not based on supply of arms, which means the enemies of Islamic Iran should die of anger and fury”.   
RM/AS/EA

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Commentaries Sun, 12 Jul 2015 10:36:35 +0000
One year in office: Modi fails Muslims, minorities http://english.irib.ir/radioislam/commentaries/item/210967-one-year-in-office-modi-fails-muslims,-minorities http://english.irib.ir/radioislam/commentaries/item/210967-one-year-in-office-modi-fails-muslims,-minorities

Completing one year in office, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, led by Narendra Modi, has failed to satisfy India Muslims, who say that the far-right premier has failed to deliver on his promises or create a sense of security among minorities.

 

“Hindu hardliners raked-up issues like ‘ghar wapsi’ and ‘love jihad’ only to target the Muslim community and made many hateful remarks against them. But Modi has done nothing to stop them,” Mohammed Mahir of Muslim Vikas Parishad, known as Muslim Development Council, an organization working for the development of Muslims in central India, told OnIslam.net.

“I think he should rein in leaders of his own party and Hindu groups who have been trying to create a sense of insecurity among the minorities. There have been many instances where Muslims have become a target of Hindu fanatics.

“Leaders backed by radical Hindu group Rashtriya Sweyamsewak Sangh, an ideological wing of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, have been openly targeting Muslims and Christians, and it was Modi’s duty as the Prime Minister to stop them from such acts, but we have yet to see it.”

May 26 marked the end of Modi's first year as prime minister, an office he was catapulted into by voters believing in his development agenda.

Known as a hardliner and involvement in Muslim massacre in Gujarat in 2002, when he was the chief minister of that state, Modi has failed to create a sense of security among minorities especially Muslims in India.

Reportedly, a majority of Muslim scholars and commoners feel that even after becoming the prime minister, Modi’s heart is for Hindus, and that he should broaden the scope of his governing toward one that is all-inclusive.

Masood Ahmed Khan, Secretary of the Coordination Committee for Indian Muslims, feels that one year is too short a time to judge someone’s performance.

Khan stated that, “Modi has so far not taken even a single decision aimed at the betterment of the minority communities.”

Representing more than 20 percent of total 1.2 billion population, Indian Muslims complain that they are often discriminated against in the job market jobs or when they seek housing or higher education.

A majority of the Indian Muslim community are also poor and uneducated.

Reports indicate that the status of Muslims in India is even worse than that of the so-called secluded castes and tribes; India’s most deprived and underprivileged communities.

The Indian constitution provides reservation in jobs and education to the underprivileged, but Muslims don’t enjoy any such benefits.

Further, there are increasing reports that Modi's government has ignored the targeting of Muslims by Hindu zealots.

There are reports that radical Hindus have used issues like love-jihad and ghar wapsi to target Muslims.

Love-jihad is a fictitious term used frequently this past year to harass Muslims, creating a stereotypical climate within the community at-large.

The common perception among Muslims is that Modi cannot be trusted and that he needs demonstrate concern for each and every citizen, irrespective of religious affiliation.

When Modi was elected, the biggest fear for Muslims was that their lives would be adversely affected.

Modi has also been criticized for his failure to stop the 2002 Gujarat riots that killed more than 2,000 people, the majority being Muslims.

SS

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Commentaries Wed, 10 Jun 2015 13:33:07 +0000
Europe’s radical Right against Muslims http://english.irib.ir/radioislam/commentaries/item/205796-europe’s-radical-right-against-muslims http://english.irib.ir/radioislam/commentaries/item/205796-europe’s-radical-right-against-muslims

Following an armed attack in early January on the Paris offices of the French weekly, Charlie Hebdo, and in spite of the fact that the attack has been widely condemned by French Muslims, violence against Muslims in France has been sharply increasing subsequent to the attack.

For example, a mosque in the city of Le Mans was attacked by persons who launched three grenades inside the complex and damaged the building. In another incident, a bomb went off close to a mosque in the city of Villefranche-sur-Saone. Also, the severed head of a pig was found in front of the building of an Islamic center on the island of Corsica in southern France on which the attackers had written, ‘you’re next’.
In another incident, bullets were shot at a mosque in the town of Port-la-Nouvelle in southern France. Such acts of violence did not remain limited to France as three mosques were set on fire in Sweden as well. Seyyed Nader Nourbakhsh, a senior analyst for European issues and a Ph.D. in political science, has written an informative commentary on Europe’s radical Right which tries to point the blame finger on Muslim minorities for every violence and terrorist activities across Europe.

Of course, such attacks were actually insignificant compared to what happened to Charlie Hebdo, but on the whole, they indicate that an atmosphere of hostility and hatred is taking shape against Muslims in France. It should be noted that Muslims account for about 10 percent of the population in France and it seems that the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo will claim the country’s Muslims as its main victims. On the other hand, Western media usually try to make the world believe that all terrorists are Muslims, though a closer look at the available statistics will prove the opposite. According to a report released by the Europol, most terrorist attacks in Europe have been carried out by separatist groups that are active in various European countries.
For example, out of 152 cases of terrorist attacks in Europe during 2013, only two incidents have been based in religious motivations and the rest of them have arisen from nationalistic and separatist reasons. However, such cases are hardly, if ever, reflected in the Western mass media.

According to another report, a total of 94 percent of all violent attacks in the United States in the time interval from 1980 to 2005, has been carried out by non-Muslims. Out of that figure, 42 percent of the attacks were carried out by special groups that are based in Latin America and 24 percent were committed by radical leftist groups. Interestingly enough, based on general statistics released for 2013, the possibility of an American citizen being killed in accidental shooting by a child has been much higher than the possibility of the same citizen being killed in a terrorist operation.

During the past two years, underground terrorist groups like the National Liberation Front of Corsica in France, or such leftist groups as Greece’s people’s militias, or the Italian Anarchist Federation have been behind multiple cases of bombing and murder in their respective countries, which have not been adequately covered by mass media.

The recent incidents have provided good grounds for the escalation of violent measures by the radical rightist groups against the Muslim people living in the West.

Following terrorist attacks on Twin Towers in New York in September 11, 2001, as well as subsequent to terrorist attacks in London and Madrid, European intelligence services put all their focus on extremism preached by such groups as Al-Qaeda. As a result, and quite unwittingly, they paved the way for the expansion of another form of radicalism, this time by radical rightist groups in Western countries. A blatant example of such activities was the terrorist attack in Norway in 2011, which was carried out by a Norwegian citizen called Anders Behring Breivik. As a result of the attack, 77 people lost their lives and 319 were wounded.
Just a short while following the Norway attack, the German secret services said they had discovered an underground neo-Nazi network, which had killed tens of Turkish and Greek emigrants during about 10 years of its activity. The network had gone totally unnoticed by German officials through all those years.
The concerning point here is that most victims of violent actions taken by the rightwing radical groups usually come from minority groups, especially Muslims. Since their operations are usually carried out on the suburbs of big cities and in places where immigrants are concentrated, their actions are not generally noticed by the public. On the other hand, even if such actions are prosecuted, they are not considered acts of terrorism, but are categorized as hate crime, which carries a more lenient sentence than terrorism.

The recent incident in France, the attack on Charlie Hebdo offices, which was actually triggered by the weekly’s insulting cartoons against the Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny), has helped fan the flames of extremism in Europe. As a result, special conditions have been brought about in Europe under which radical forces have been able to outdo their rivals in committing acts of violence.
It seems that the existing atmosphere will finally give birth to a vicious circle in which Muslims will feel more isolated and discriminated against than any time in the past. Such a feeling of fear and humiliation is exactly the main factor that terrorist groups like the ISIS are trying to foment among Muslims and through which they can draw on the population of potentially radical youth to attract new members. At present, more than any time before, there is a high risk that people who had left Europe for Syria and Iraq and had joined the ranks of the ISIS may go back to their home countries and embark on violent acts of terrorism.

At a national level, however, such a situation will lead to the adoption of more austere immigration laws against Muslims by the European governments, which will also use this situation as an excuse to up their security measures and downplay the importance of personal freedoms of their citizens.
Of course, such austere measures will not simply affect Muslims, but will also leave their marks on all minorities, including gypsies, and other groups of immigrants in Europe. Under such conditions, radical elements will have a wide maneuvering room in order to have their voice heard by their supporters. Some analysts also believe that such incidents of terrorism highlight France as defenseless against terrorism before the world’s public opinion. On the domestic front, the French President Francois Hollande, who is already suffering from unprecedented loss of popularity, will be able to make the most of these conditions in order to mend his image.
Recent attack on Charlie Hebdo in France has provided radical rightwing parties and movements in all parts of Europe with a very good and unprecedented opportunity to boost their activities and has greatly increased their popularity. As a result, radical rightwing parties have put their focus on issuing renewed warnings about the risks posed by the influx of immigrants to Europe. Some analysts have even warned that the terror attacks in Paris have made way for these parties to put more pressure on the governments to pass anti-immigration laws and further crack down on Muslim minorities.

In the meantime, the populist radical rightwing parties have been trying to show a vociferous reaction to these terror attacks by describing them as a direct result of the multicultural policies adopted by various European states.
Nigel Paul Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, has charged Islamist groups as being a fifth column of London’s enemies in the country, while Geert Wilders, leader of the Netherlands Freedom Party, has noted that it is time to fight against the Islamization of the country. In Germany, a radical group called PEGIDA, meaning the “Patriots against the Islamization of the West”, has been organizing mass protests in various cities in Germany in protest to what it calls the Islamization of Europe.

The terror attack in Paris has provided leaders of the radical right in Europe with a good opportunity to tell their people that they had already warned them about the consequences of the Islamization of Europe. However, is the public opinion in France and other Western countries also aware of the fact that the mistaken intervention and policies of their countries in Syria and Iraq, has been the main reason that has practically turned these countries into fertile grounds for the growth of radicalism and terrorism?

At present, radical rightwing parties have won a sizeable share of parliamentary seats in Austria, Sweden, Hungary, and the Netherlands. At the same time, some people believe that the UK Independence Party, commonly known as UKIP, is more a populist party than a radical rightwing, despite its anti-immigration and xenophobic stances. In addition, Greece’s neo-Nazi party, known as the Golden Dawn, can be only cautiously put in the same category with other radical rightwing parties elsewhere in Europe. What do you think of the trend? Purposeful fanning of the Rightist radicalism, or moving in line with those who care the least or non for religion?

EA

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Commentaries Fri, 06 Mar 2015 12:56:09 +0000
Racist provocation and the “war on terror” http://english.irib.ir/radioislam/commentaries/item/203320-racist-provocation-and-the-“war-on-terror” http://english.irib.ir/radioislam/commentaries/item/203320-racist-provocation-and-the-“war-on-terror”

On an early Wednesday morning, the new edition of Charlie Hebdo went on sale across France, with the press run ramped up from the usual 60,000 to 5 million.

The new issue, with a degrading cartoon of the prophet Muhammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny) on its cover, is not a monument to “press freedom,” as portrayed in media accounts, but rather a state-supported provocation. Patrick Martin, a Canadian journalist and bureau chief for The Globe and Mail newspaper, has more on this.

Through this publication and its echoes throughout the media, millions of French citizens are being bombarded by an anti-Muslim campaign that was, until recently, the province of the neo-fascist National Front. These sentiments are being deliberately whipped up to provide a base of support for renewed military operations by French imperialism. The conduct of the so-called “war on terror” is acquiring ever more openly a racist character.

That the campaign is being very carefully coordinated is evident in the fact that the French government paid for the enormously expanded press run, while leading journals of the French bourgeoisie made it possible: Le Monde supplied computers, Libération opened its offices to the surviving Charlie Hebdo staff. Prime Minister Manuel Valls dropped by to show his support.

The French government has wasted no time in utilizing the January 7 attacks to promote its war drive in the Middle East. Following 488 to 1 vote in France’s National Assembly to extend air strikes in Iraq, French President François Hollande, until recently the most unpopular official in France, appeared on the deck of the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle to address its crew as they set sail for the Middle East. He cited the events of the previous week, which left 20 dead in Paris, saying the situation “justifies the presence of our aircraft carrier.”

The carrier is to join the US military in the Persian Gulf, where American forces are raining bombs down on western Iraq and eastern Syria as part of the war targeting, for the present, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), with the Syrian government forces next in line.

The US-led coalition of imperialist powers and Gulf sheikdoms carried out 18 air strikes on a single day. There is little doubt that these bombing attacks slaughter more innocent people every day than the number of people who died in Paris recently, albeit with far less attention from the Western press.

On its way to the Persian Gulf, the Charles de Gaulle will pass along the coast of Yemen, giving the Hollande government the capability to launch air strikes on targets in that country. The US and French officials have suggested that Said Kaouchi, the one suspect killed in France, received military training and instructions in Yemen from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. There have been unconfirmed suggestions in the media that a massive attack on Yemen, either by French warplanes or US drone missiles, or both, is imminent.
The Charlie Hebdo attack is also being used to rapidly escalate the other component of the so-called “war on terror”—the assault on democratic rights at home. Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, describing the mobilization of 10,000 French troops to stand guard at public transport centers, schools and other supposed targets of terrorist attack, said, “This is a military operation like the military operations we conduct abroad,” directed at “the same enemy.” He added that “today, the new and serious element is that there is no dividing line between the external threat and the internal threat.”

While claiming to defend “freedom of speech” at Charlie Hebdo, the French authorities have arrested at least 54 people for “defending terrorism”—that is, for speech, including posts on social media. Four of those arrested are minors, and some have already been convicted and sentenced under legislation that provides for expedited trials.
What we see in France, is the buildup of sweeping police state powers that will be directed not merely at what they called “Islamic” radicals, but at any opposition to the French bourgeoisie.

The French Prime Minister Manuel Valls promised that within three months his government will have drafted new laws on expanded phone-tapping and Internet surveillance, as well as measures to restructure the French educational system. He also vowed to change the country’s housing policy aimed at breaking up Muslim communities in impoverished suburbs around major cities.

Given that France is home to some five million Muslims—the largest Muslim population in Western Europe—these measures are not only anti-democratic and provocative, they are also extremely reckless. Supporters of the propaganda offensive of the French bourgeoisie proclaim that all criticism of the vile provocations of Charlie Hebdo is an attack on “free speech,” and that somehow the mobilization of the resources of the French state to promote the magazine is a defense of “democratic rights”.

It is a far different matter to cover up for, and even glorify, the repulsive political messages of such publications. There is no difference in principle between blasphemous cartoons distorting and degrading Prophet Muhammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny) and the targeted negative propaganda against sanctities of more than 1.5 billion Muslims around the world and even other monotheistic religion.  
The relentless pollution of public opinion and the distortion and misdirection of the natural anger and shock over the Paris massacre reveal the ideological bankruptcy of the French bourgeoisie and of imperialism as a whole.

Elsewhere, not forget that American imperialism has tried to justify its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq by waving the bloody shirt of 9/11, a pretext that is now completely exhausted. As they plot new military adventures, assuming the dimensions of an absolute new war, the ruling classes in certain countries, this time in France, are playing the race card. By the way, what should be done to avoid or blunt the rolling machines of imperialist wars?
EA

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Commentaries Tue, 20 Jan 2015 14:30:33 +0000
Pivotal role of mosques in Muslim & non-Muslim societies http://english.irib.ir/radioislam/commentaries/item/202914-pivotal-role-of-mosques-in-muslim-non-muslim-societies http://english.irib.ir/radioislam/commentaries/item/202914-pivotal-role-of-mosques-in-muslim-non-muslim-societies

Every year, one of the 31 provinces of the Islamic Republic of Iran hosts a nationwide conference for promotion of the sublime culture of the ritual prayers. This year, Ahvaz, the capital of the southwestern province of Khuzestan was the venue of the 23rd such conference. In his message to the conference, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, praising the benefits of such a gathering, said the ritual prayers, which are obligatory for all adult Muslims five-times-a-day, enlighten minds, soothe the souls, and grant tranquility to hearts.

 

No wonder, Islam considers the ritual prayers as the Pillar of Religion, he said. The Leader’s message called on the public to promote the culture of prayers through construction of mosques in the neighbourhoods, holding prayers at schools and universities, making arrangements in trains and airplanes for observing this obligatory tenet of Islam, and writing articles and books on the beauties of this wonderful act of worship.

The Mosque plays the fundamental role in promoting the sublime culture of the ritual prayers in societies, including in those countries where Muslims are a minority. The Mosque is the identity of Muslims and is the place where the faithful gather to pray, to read the holy Qur’an, to learn the teachings of Islam and to acquire spiritual values, away from the rat race of the material world. Following the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, mosques have sprouted all over the country, as the population has increased, and new towns and satellite cities have sprung. The Mosque also serves as a place where the believers socialize and discuss solutions to their problems, in addition to increasing awareness of the current issues at home and abroad. The Mosque is thus an ideal place for the youths to strengthen the spirit of virtue, and refrain from idle pursuits, frivolities, and lawless behaviour. It is worth noting that the house of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny) was attached to the principal mosque of Medina, known till this day as Masjid an-Nabi or the Prophet’s Mosque. As a matter of fact, God Almighty had allowed the opening into the courtyard of the mosque, of one of the doors of the Prophet’s house as well as that of his vicegerent, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), while the doors of others were ordered closed, in order to preserve the sanctity of the mosque. The Prophet himself would lead the daily ritual prayers five-times-a-day, and explain to the steadily growing number of Muslims the meaning and purport of the ayahs of the holy Qur’an as they were gradually revealed to him by God Almighty. In addition, the Prophet’s Mosque served as the centre of social, political and scientific activities of the fledgling Muslim community.

Throughout Islamic history, the Mosque has been considered as the beating heart of the Muslim society. For this reason, we find the Jame’ Mosque in the centre of all towns and cities, ideally located near the main bazaar or marketplace. Here, the faithful gather to worship, pray, supplicate to God, recite the holy Qur’an, discuss solutions to the problems of the individuals and the community, organize classes for both religious and scientific studies, hold cultural programmes, and in times of disasters, including natural catastrophes and wars, mobilize relief efforts. As a matter of fact, before the emergence of modern schools, it was the mosque to which the maktab or traditional school was attached, where education in different fields was imparted to the young and the old. Once when the Prophet of Islam entered the mosque he saw two groups of people; one engaged in worship, and the other in teaching. He remarked that both groups are doing good deeds, but added: “I have been sent for promotion and spread of teaching.” This is indicative of the pivotal role of the mosque in teaching and learning, since it is the place where people from all walks of life are welcome, and there is no difference in any of them, regardless of their social positions. In other words, the Mosque is the House of God and thus belongs to all, whether rich or poor, whether white or black, whether young or old, whether the scholar or the unlettered person, and for people of all ethnicities. There is neither an entrance fee in a mosque nor membership. This unique characteristic makes the Mosque in Islam more attractive than any modern social or cultural club. No doubt, the Mosque in Iran played the vital role in the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran.

The role of mosques in societies where Muslims are a minority is more important. The Mosque in such places helps the Muslim minority preserve its Islamic identity through religious, cultural and social programmes. In fact, it is the role of the Mosque in non-Muslim countries that has saved Muslim youth from the immoral and indecent culture of the West. This is evident by the fact that even after three generations in Western Europe and the Americas, the Muslim citizens of these countries have remarkably preserved their religious and spiritual values. In addition, they are attracting the seekers of truth and conscious persons in the West towards the dynamism of Islam. This has frustrated the plots of certain non-Muslim regimes to deprive Muslims of their identity through the deceptive slogan of assimilation in the national mainstream. No religion is conspicuous in the West as Islam. Every year the number of persons in the West embracing the truth of Islam is steadily on the rise. This is one of the reasons that ignorant elements in the West have made the fatal error of targeting mosques and Muslims. Unfortunately, over the past few weeks three mosques have been the target of arson attacks in Sweden, a country which claims to head the ranks of European states in terms of peace and co-existence. In reaction to such acts of vandalism and blasphemy, more and more people in the West have become curious in knowing about Islam, and the result has been more and more cases of conversion. The Mosque is thus the guiding spirit of not just Muslims but also all conscientious persons and seekers or truth. This explains for the Islamophobia unleashed by the frustrated regimes of the West, and their creation of terrorist outfits such as the Takfiris, to destabilize Muslim countries.

MG

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Commentaries Mon, 12 Jan 2015 17:16:42 +0000
Woman wearing a niqab forced to leave Paris Opera http://english.irib.ir/radioislam/commentaries/item/198872-woman-wearing-a-niqab-forced-to-leave-paris-opera http://english.irib.ir/radioislam/commentaries/item/198872-woman-wearing-a-niqab-forced-to-leave-paris-opera

The press revealed on October 19, 16 days after the event, that during a performance of La Traviata at the Opéra Bastille in Paris, a woman spectator was made to leave on the orders of the deputy manager of the Paris Opera, Jean-Philippe Thiellay, because she was wearing a niqab.

She was a tourist from a Persian Gulf state holidaying in Paris with her husband.

According to Thiellay, “some members of the choir indicated that they would not sing” if the woman remained in the hall. This scandalous act of discrimination demonstrates the undemocratic nature of the laws and measures against the veil, the burqa and the niqab and the atmosphere of Islamophobic hysteria stoked by the French political establishment. The right-wing British newspaper the Daily Mail first published a report on this still prevalent nasty phenomenon in Europe, centuries after the Middle Ages.

The Ministry of Culture is using the resulting scandal to oblige the administrators of artistic venues to act more severely, as an all-out cultural police. The French Socialist Party (PS) government said that a note is being drawn up at the ministry, reminding administrators of procedures to apply in theatres, museums and other public establishments “in order to make people comply with the law, harmonise responses, and to prevent problems.”

From now on, women dressed in a full veil are to be banned from entering public establishments on the grounds that this will avoid the scandals that result from expulsions.

Guy Laurent, an Opéra Bastille regular, told the right-wing British newspaper the Daily Mail: “What possible harm could a woman sitting quietly in the audience with face covered do to anyone? The woman would clearly have felt utterly humiliated by what happened—French culture should be more tolerant. It is not the job of theatres to enforce petty laws.”

In contrast, the few criticisms of the expulsions of the veiled tourist from political leaders have been limited, cynical and entirely in keeping with official Islamophobia. Public S é nat quoted Green Senator Esher Benbassa who censured the Opera Bastille management only for its clumsiness, but not for throwing out the spectator, saying: “It’s the lack of courtesy which shocks me. It’s a really bureaucratic way of imposing the law.”

Paris Opera management received statements of support from officials of the PS, of the right-wing Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), and by the founder of the neo-fascist National Front, Jean-Marie Le Pen, a torturer in the French army during the Algerian War. Claiming that the presence of a veiled woman at the Opéra Bastille was the sign of a “flare-up of communalism,” Le Pen said that the singers had done well to point her out.
This reactionary act is the product of a decade during which successive French governments have imposed anti-Islamic laws while waging a succession of imperialist wars in Muslim countries, such as Libya and Syria. In 2004, under President Jacques Chirac, the National Assembly passed a law banning the wearing of the veil in schools.

Publicized on October 11, 2010, the law banning full-body veils, such as the niqab and burqa, specifies that “no person may, in a public space, wear clothing intended to hide the face” under penalty of a €150 fine and/or a citizenship class. It stipulates that “public space means public highways and well as places open to the public or part of a public service,” including cinemas, theatres, museums and restaurants.

According to an investigation by the National Assembly, approximately 1,900 women were concerned at the end of 2009 by this law, while the number of Muslims living in France is estimated at over 5 million.

The law has already provoked discriminatory Islamophobic acts across France. The most notable include the confirmation on June 25 by the Court of Cassation, France’s highest appeals court, of the sacking of a veiled worker at the Baby-Loup daycare center near Paris, and the ID check on a woman wearing the niqab in Trappes, a Paris suburb, in July 2013. The police then attacked her husband, who tried to shield her from the police, after which riots broke out in Trappes in protest at police brutality.

The pan-European scale of this official racism was confirmed by the European Court of Human Rights. Last July 1, it declared the banning of the full body veil in France to be “legitimate,” rejecting the suit brought by a French woman against the ban.
Public and cultural life in France is being poisoned by these reactionary policies, through which the ruling elite, including the bourgeois “left,” has legitimized the neo-fascist National Front (FN) and far-right moods.

Since President François Hollande was elected in 2012, the pseudo-left and the trade union bureaucracies have done everything they could to stifle workers’ anger against this government, which is reportedly hated for its social and foreign policies.

A teenage girl has been assaulted near Paris for wearing an Islamic veil in August last year, in a wave of violent attacks against the Muslim community in France. The incident occurred when two “European-looking” men confronted the 16-year-old who was leaving a friend’s house in the Paris suburb of Trappes. The men shouted racists and anti-Muslim insults at her before attacking her with a box cutter, said the victim. They then tore off her veil, pushed her to the ground and hit her. The assailants fled the scene in a car after a third man intervened. The teen was taken to hospital where medical staff treated her for light wounds on her face and throat.

Several Muslim women in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil were assaulted in France by racist elements who tore off their veils. This is while a spokesperson for the French police officers' union simply stated that the “French police have many other problems to solve”.
As it seems, a political context created by the ruling system, in which the public is blocked from deploying its political strength against the French Socialist Party (PS) government, has enabled the rise of right-wing and Islamophobic tendencies to influence the most disoriented layers of the population.

Similar bans have been approved in Belgium and some parts of Switzerland, with other European countries considering a comparable ban. Many Muslim citizens feel that politicians attacked their beliefs, police attack their bodies and that neither of them appeared to be subject to many restraints. And when Islamophobia has become so culturally acceptable, peace is surely, and sadly, very far off across Europe, while EU officials always insisted to act as the only defenders of human rights in the world.
However, some independent countries including the Islamic Republic of Iran have criticized the European Union’s double standard policies on the issue of human rights.
EA

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Commentaries Sun, 02 Nov 2014 17:51:21 +0000
Religious decree “no to nukes” http://english.irib.ir/radioislam/commentaries/item/198327-religious-decree-“no-to-nukes” http://english.irib.ir/radioislam/commentaries/item/198327-religious-decree-“no-to-nukes”

The nuclear negotiations between six world powers and Iran, which are now nearing their November deadline, remain deadlocked over US demands that Iran dismantle the bulk of its capacity to enrich uranium.

The demand is allegedly based on the suspicion that Iran may have worked secretly to develop nuclear weapons in the past and can't be trusted not to do so again; an allegation that has never been substantiated. Gareth Porter, an independent American historian, investigative journalist, author and policy analyst specializing in US national security policy, has written a commentary in this regard, released on Foreign Policy Magazine. Let’s read more on the power of fatwa or religious decree, this time “no to nukes”.

Iran insists that it has rejected nuclear weapons as incompatible with Islam and cites a fatwa of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei as proof. American and European officials remain skeptical, however, that the issue is really governed by Shiite Islamic principles. They have relied instead on murky intelligence that has never been confirmed about an alleged covert Iranian nuclear weapons program.

But the key to understanding Iran's policy toward nuclear weapons lies in a historical episode during its eight-year war with Iraq. The story explains why Iran never retaliated against Iraq's chemical weapons attacks on Iranian troops and civilians, which martyred 20,000 Iranians and severely injured 100,000 more. And it strongly suggests that the Iranian leadership's aversion to developing chemical and nuclear weapons is deep-rooted and sincere.

A few Iranian sources have previously pointed to a fatwa by the Founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (may God bless his soul), prohibiting chemical weapons as the explanation for why Iran did not deploy these weapons during the war with Iraq under Saddam. But not much detail have been made public on when and how Imam Khomeini issued such a fatwa, so it has been not much in focus for decades.

Now, however, the wartime chief of the Iranian ministry responsible for military procurement has provided an eyewitness account of Imam Khomeini's ban not only on chemical weapons, but on nuclear weapons as well. In an interview with the writer of the article, Gareth Porter, in Tehran in late September, Mohsen Rafighdoost, who served as minister of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, IRGC, throughout the eight-year war, revealed that he had proposed to the late Imam that Iran begin working on both nuclear and chemical weapons -- but was told in two separate meetings that weapons of mass destruction are forbidden by Islam. Rafighdoost was personally involved in every major military decision taken by the corps during the Iran-Iraq War.

Iraqi dictator Saddam began using chemical weapons against Iranian troops after Iran repelled the initial Iraqi attack and began a counterattack. The Iraqis considered chemical weapons to be the only way to counter Iran's superiority in manpower. Iranian doctors first documented symptoms of mustard gas from Iraqi chemical attacks against Iranian troops in mid-1983. However, Rafighdoost said, a dramatic increase in Iraqi gas attacks occurred during an Iranian offensive, indeed defensive, in southern Iraq in February and March 1984. The Iraqi attacks involved both mustard gas and the nerve gas tabun. Rafighdoost told me, Gareth Porter, that he asked some foreign governments for assistance, including weapons, to counter the chemical-war threat, but all of them rejected the requests. This prompted him to decide that his ministry would have to produce everything Iran needed for the war.

Rafighdoost, the war time IRGC minister, prepared a report on all the specialized groups he had formed and went to discuss it with the Father of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini, hoping to get his approval for work on chemical and nuclear weapons. When Imam Khomeini read the report, he reacted to the chemical-biological-nuclear team by asking, “What is this?" Rafighdoost recalled that Imam Khomeini ruled out development of chemical and biological weapons as “inconsistent with Islam”. He reiterated that instead of producing chemical or biological weapons, they should produce defensive protection for our troops, like gas masks and atropine.

Rafighdoost also told Imam Khomeini that the group had "a plan to produce nuclear weapons." Imam closed the door to such a program. Ayatollah Khomeini instructed him instead to "send these scientists to the Atomic Energy Organization," referring to Iran's civilian nuclear-power agency. That edict ended the idea of seeking nuclear weapons. The chemical-warfare issue took a new turn in late June 1987, when Iraqi aircraft bombed four residential areas of Sardasht, an ethnically Kurdish city in Iran, with mustard gas. Iran's civilian population was targeted by Iraqi forces with chemical weapons, and the population was completely unprotected. Of 12,000 inhabitants, 8,000 were exposed, and hundreds lost their lives.
As popular fears of chemical attacks on more Iranian cities grew quickly, the then IRGC minister undertook a major initiative to prepare Iran's retaliation. He worked with the Defense Ministry to create the capability to produce mustard gas weapons. Rafighdoost was obviously hoping that the new circumstances of Iraqi chemical weapons attacks on Iranian civilians would cause Imam Khomeini to have a different view of the issue. In a meeting, Imam Khomeini was told that the Iranian experts had high capability to produce chemical weapons.

Iran's permanent representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons disclosed the details of Rafighdoost's chemical weapons program in a document provided to the US delegation to the organization on May 17, 2004. It was later made public by WikiLeaks, which published a US diplomatic cable reporting on its contents. The document shows that the two ministries had procured the chemical precursors for mustard gas and in September 1987 began to manufacture the chemicals necessary to produce a weapon -- sulfur mustard and nitrogen mustard. But the document also indicated that the two ministries did not "weaponize" the chemicals by putting them into artillery shells, aerial bombs, or rockets.

The leader of the time was unmoved by the new danger presented by the Iraqi gas attacks on civilians. Imam Khomeini said "It is haram, religiously forbidden, to produce such weapons. You are only allowed to produce protection." Invoking the Islamic Republic's claim to spiritual and moral superiority over the secular Iraqi regime, Rafighdoost recalls Imam Khomeini asking verbally, "If we produce chemical weapons, what is the difference between me and Saddam?"

Imam Khomeini's verdict spelled the end of the IRGC's chemical weapons initiative. The 2004 Iranian document confirms that production of two chemicals ceased, the buildings in which they were stored were sealed in 1988, and the production equipment was dismantled in 1992. Imam Khomeini also repeated his edict forbidding work on nuclear weapons, telling the ministers and commanders, "Don't talk about nuclear weapons at all."

Rafighdoost understood Khomeini's prohibition on the use or production of chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons as a fatwa -- a judgment on Islamic jurisprudence by a qualified Islamic scholar. It was never written down or formalized, but that didn't matter, because it was issued by the "guardian jurist" of the Islamic state -- and was therefore legally binding on the entire government. When Imam said it was haram, he didn't have to say it was fatwa.

Rafighdoost did not recall the date of that second meeting with Khomeini, but other evidence strongly suggests that it was in December 1987. The then Iranian prime minister said in a late December 1987 speech that Iran "is capable of manufacturing chemical weapons" and added that a "special section" had been set up for "offensive chemical weapons." A few days later, a report in the London daily, the Independent, referred to the fatwa of Imam Khomeini against chemical weapons. Former Iranian nuclear negotiator Hossein Mousavian, now a research scholar at Princeton University, confirmed for that article that Khomeini's fatwa against chemical and nuclear weapons.

In February 1988, Saddam stepped up his missile attacks on urban targets in Iran. He also threatened to arm his missiles with chemical weapons, which terrified hundreds of thousands of Iranian civilians. However, Khomeini's fatwa forced the powerful IRGC to forgo the desired response to Iraqi chemical weapons attacks.

Imam Khomeini's Islamic ruling against all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, was reaffirmed by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, who had served as president under Imam Khomeini and succeeded him as the Leader in 1989. However, certain mainstream media in the United States and Europe have tried purposefully to regard the Leader’s fatwa as a propaganda ploy.

The analysis of Ayatollah Khamenei's impeccable fatwa has not been duly grasped by the West not only due to a lack of understanding of the role of the "guardian jurist" in the Iranian political-legal system, but also due to ignorance of the history of the Leader's fatwa. A crucial but hitherto unknown fact is that the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, had actually issued the anti-nuclear fatwa without any media fanfare in the mid-1990s in response to a request from an official for his religious opinion on nuclear weapons. Former Iranian nuclear negotiator Hossein Mousavian, now a research scholar at Princeton University, recalls seeing the letter in the office of the Supreme National Security Council, where he was head of the Foreign Relations Committee from 1997 to 2005.

Since 2012, the official stance of the US President Barack has been to welcome the Leader's anti-nuclear fatwa. Obama even referred to it in his UN General Assembly speech in September 2013. But it seems clear that Obama's advisors still do not understand the fatwa's full significance, most probably under the influence of the Zionist lobby.

As it seems, they even confused, knowingly or naively, fatwas issued by any qualified Muslim scholar with fatwas by the Leader on matters of state policy. The former are only relevant to those who follow the scholar's views; the latter, however, are binding on the state as a whole.

The full story of Imam Khomeini's wartime fatwa against chemical weapons shows that when the "guardian jurist" of Iran's Islamic system issues a religious judgment against weapons of mass destruction as forbidden by Islam, it outweighs all other political-military considerations. The late Imam's fatwa against chemical weapons prevented the manufacture and use of such weapons -- even though it put Iranian forces at a major disadvantage in the imposed war in front of the West-backed Iraqi dictator Saddam. Yes, it is very difficult to imagine a tougher test of the power of the leader's Islamic jurisprudence over an issue.

Presumably, the Western negotiators, the Americans in particular, who are unaware of the real history of anti-nuclear fatwas will be prone to potentially costly miscalculations.

EA

]]>
Commentaries Fri, 24 Oct 2014 17:41:34 +0000
Religious decree “no to nukes” http://english.irib.ir/radioislam/commentaries/item/198009-religious-decree-“no-to-nukes” http://english.irib.ir/radioislam/commentaries/item/198009-religious-decree-“no-to-nukes”

The nuclear negotiations between six world powers and Iran, which are now nearing their November deadline, remain deadlocked over US demands that Iran dismantle the bulk of its capacity to enrich uranium.

The demand is allegedly based on the suspicion that Iran may have worked secretly to develop nuclear weapons in the past and can't be trusted not to do so again; an allegation that has never be substantiated. Gareth Porter, an independent American historian, investigative journalist, author and policy analyst specializing in US national security policy, has written a commentary in this regard, released on Foreign Policy Magazine. Here is more on the power of fatwa or religious decree, this time “no to nukes”.

Iran insists that it has rejected nuclear weapons as incompatible with Islam and cites a fatwa of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei as proof. American and European officials remain skeptical, however, that the issue is really governed by Shiite Islamic principles. They have relied instead on murky intelligence that has never been confirmed about an alleged covert Iranian nuclear weapons program.

But the key to understanding Iran's policy toward nuclear weapons lies in a historical episode during its eight-year war with Iraq. The story explains why Iran never retaliated against Iraq's chemical weapons attacks on Iranian troops and civilians, which martyred 20,000 Iranians and severely injured 100,000 more. And it strongly suggests that the Iranian leadership's aversion to developing chemical and nuclear weapons is deep-rooted and sincere.

A few Iranian sources have previously pointed to a fatwa by the Founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (may God bless his soul), prohibiting chemical weapons as the explanation for why Iran did not deploy these weapons during the war with Iraq under Saddam. But not much detail have been made public on when and how Imam Khomeini issued such a fatwa, so it has been not much in focus for decades.

Now, however, the wartime chief of the Iranian ministry responsible for military procurement has provided an eyewitness account of Imam Khomeini's ban not only on chemical weapons, but on nuclear weapons as well. In an interview with the writer of the article, Gareth Porter, in Tehran in late September, Mohsen Rafighdoost, who served as minister of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, IRGC, throughout the eight-year war, revealed that he had proposed to the late Imam that Iran begin working on both nuclear and chemical weapons -- but was told in two separate meetings that weapons of mass destruction are forbidden by Islam. Rafighdoost was personally involved in every major military decision taken by the corps during the Iran-Iraq War.

Iraqi dictator Saddam began using chemical weapons against Iranian troops after Iran repelled the initial Iraqi attack and began a counterattack. The Iraqis considered chemical weapons to be the only way to counter Iran's superiority in manpower. Iranian doctors first documented symptoms of mustard gas from Iraqi chemical attacks against Iranian troops in mid-1983. However, Rafighdoost said, a dramatic increase in Iraqi gas attacks occurred during an Iranian offensive, indeed defensive, in southern Iraq in February and March 1984. The Iraqi attacks involved both mustard gas and the nerve gas tabun. Rafighdoost told me, Gareth Porter, that he asked some foreign governments for assistance, including weapons, to counter the chemical-war threat, but all of them rejected the requests. This prompted him to decide that his ministry would have to produce everything Iran needed for the war.

Rafighdoost, the war time IRGC minister, prepared a report on all the specialized groups he had formed and went to discuss it with the Father of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini, hoping to get his approval for work on chemical and nuclear weapons. When Imam Khomeini read the report, he reacted to the chemical-biological-nuclear team by asking, “What is this?" Rafighdoost recalled that Imam Khomeini ruled out development of chemical and biological weapons as “inconsistent with Islam”. He reiterated that instead of producing chemical or biological weapons, they should produce defensive protection for our troops, like gas masks and atropine.

Rafighdoost also told Imam Khomeini that the group had "a plan to produce nuclear weapons." Imam closed the door to such a program. Ayatollah Khomeini instructed him instead to "send these scientists to the Atomic Energy Organization," referring to Iran's civilian nuclear-power agency. That edict ended the idea of seeking nuclear weapons. The chemical-warfare issue took a new turn in late June 1987, when Iraqi aircraft bombed four residential areas of Sardasht, an ethnically Kurdish city in Iran, with mustard gas. Iran's civilian population was targeted by Iraqi forces with chemical weapons, and the population was completely unprotected. Of 12,000 inhabitants, 8,000 were exposed, and hundreds lost their lives.
As popular fears of chemical attacks on more Iranian cities grew quickly, the then IRGC minister undertook a major initiative to prepare Iran's retaliation. He worked with the Defense Ministry to create the capability to produce mustard gas weapons. Rafighdoost was obviously hoping that the new circumstances of Iraqi chemical weapons attacks on Iranian civilians would cause Imam Khomeini to have a different view of the issue. In a meeting, Imam Khomeini was told that the Iranian experts had high capability to produce chemical weapons.

Iran's permanent representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons disclosed the details of Rafighdoost's chemical weapons program in a document provided to the US delegation to the organization on May 17, 2004. It was later made public by WikiLeaks, which published a US diplomatic cable reporting on its contents. The document shows that the two ministries had procured the chemical precursors for mustard gas and in September 1987 began to manufacture the chemicals necessary to produce a weapon -- sulfur mustard and nitrogen mustard. But the document also indicated that the two ministries did not "weaponize" the chemicals by putting them into artillery shells, aerial bombs, or rockets.

The leader of the time was unmoved by the new danger presented by the Iraqi gas attacks on civilians. Imam Khomeini said "It is haram, religiously forbidden, to produce such weapons. You are only allowed to produce protection." Invoking the Islamic Republic's claim to spiritual and moral superiority over the secular Iraqi regime, Rafighdoost recalls Imam Khomeini asking verbally, "If we produce chemical weapons, what is the difference between me and Saddam?"

Khomeini's verdict spelled the end of the IRGC's chemical weapons initiative. The 2004 Iranian document confirms that production of two chemicals ceased, the buildings in which they were stored were sealed in 1988, and the production equipment was dismantled in 1992. Imam Khomeini also repeated his edict forbidding work on nuclear weapons, telling the ministers and commanders, "Don't talk about nuclear weapons at all."

Rafighdoost understood Khomeini's prohibition on the use or production of chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons as a fatwa -- a judgment on Islamic jurisprudence by a qualified Islamic scholar. It was never written down or formalized, but that didn't matter, because it was issued by the "guardian jurist" of the Islamic state -- and was therefore legally binding on the entire government. When Imam said it was haram, he didn't have to say it was fatwa.

Rafighdoost did not recall the date of that second meeting with Khomeini, but other evidence strongly suggests that it was in December 1987. The then Iranian prime minister said in a late December 1987 speech that Iran "is capable of manufacturing chemical weapons" and added that a "special section" had been set up for "offensive chemical weapons." A few days later, a report in the London daily, the Independent, referred to the fatwa of Imam Khomeini against chemical weapons. Former Iranian nuclear negotiator Hossein Mousavian, now a research scholar at Princeton University, confirmed for that article that Khomeini's fatwa against chemical and nuclear weapons.

In February 1988, Saddam stepped up his missile attacks on urban targets in Iran. He also threatened to arm his missiles with chemical weapons, which terrified hundreds of thousands of Iranian civilians. However, Khomeini's fatwa forced the powerful IRGC to forgo the desired response to Iraqi chemical weapons attacks.

Imam Khomeini's Islamic ruling against all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, was reaffirmed by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, who had served as president under Imam Khomeini and succeeded him as the Leader in 1989. However, certain mainstream media in the United States and Europe have tried purposefully to regard the Leader’s fatwa as a propaganda ploy.

The analysis of Ayatollah Khamenei's impeccable fatwa has not been duly grasped by the West not only due to a lack of understanding of the role of the "guardian jurist" in the Iranian political-legal system, but also due to ignorance of the history of the Leader's fatwa. A crucial but hitherto unknown fact is that the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, had actually issued the anti-nuclear fatwa without any media fanfare in the mid-1990s in response to a request from an official for his religious opinion on nuclear weapons. Former Iranian nuclear negotiator Hossein Mousavian, now a research scholar at Princeton University, recalls seeing the letter in the office of the Supreme National Security Council, where he was head of the Foreign Relations Committee from 1997 to 2005.

Since 2012, the official stance of the US President Barack has been to welcome the Leader's anti-nuclear fatwa. Obama even referred to it in his UN General Assembly speech in September 2013. But it seems clear that Obama's advisors still do not understand the fatwa's full significance, most probably under the influence of the Zionist lobby.

As it seems, they even confused, knowingly or naively, fatwas issued by any qualified Muslim scholar with fatwas by the Leader on matters of state policy. The former are only relevant to those who follow the scholar's views; the latter, however, are binding on the state as a whole.

The full story of Imam Khomeini's wartime fatwa against chemical weapons shows that when the "guardian jurist" of Iran's Islamic system issues a religious judgment against weapons of mass destruction as forbidden by Islam, it outweighs all other political-military considerations. The late Imam's fatwa against chemical weapons prevented the manufacture and use of such weapons -- even though it put Iranian forces at a major disadvantage in the imposed war in front of the West-backed Iraqi dictator Saddam. Yes, it is very difficult to imagine a tougher test of the power of the leader's Islamic jurisprudence over an issue.

Presumably, the Western negotiators, the Americans in particular, who are unaware of the real history of anti-nuclear fatwas will be prone to potentially costly miscalculations.

EA

]]>
Commentaries Sun, 19 Oct 2014 11:20:31 +0000
The turmoil among the Takfiris http://english.irib.ir/radioislam/commentaries/item/195570-the-turmoil-among-the-takfiris http://english.irib.ir/radioislam/commentaries/item/195570-the-turmoil-among-the-takfiris The turmoil among the Takfiris

The savagery of the Takfiris in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere has horrified their creators, and in order to avoid loss of credibility among Muslims, rather than sincere repentance, the godfathers of all Salafi outfits have begun to distance themselves from the products of their own evil minds.

Recently Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Aal-e Sheikh, the Mufti Azam or senior jurist of Saudi Arabia, took a U-turn from his hitherto radical support of Takfiri groups such as al-Qa’eda and the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS, by terming them as the greatest enemies of Islam. He said “this group has nothing to do with Islam”, and went on to dub them as “today’s Khawarij” –the outcasts or renegades from Islam. According to reports, the Saudi Mufti is said to have issued a fatwa saying that killing of the Takfiris and confiscating of their property is considered Mobah or “religiously permissible”.

According to analysts, the Takfiris have turned out to be Frankensteins, and this has sent shivers down the spines of their creators. In his statement, the Wahhabi Mufti of Saudi Arabia said: “Extreme, radical and prejudicial thoughts cause corruption and destruction on earth. Not only such ideas are unconnected to Islam, but those who espouse such tendencies are the archenemies of Islam.” Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Aal-e Sheikh went on to say that the main victims of such radical thoughts are Muslims as is evident from the sanguine crimes being perpetrated by ISIS and al-Qa’eda.

Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Aal-e Sheikh’s new position came following ISIS threats to attack Persian Gulf Arab states including Saudi Arabia. It is interesting to note that this change of position by the top Wahhabi jurist came after the United States and certain West European states approved a resolution at the UN Security Council against ISIS, calling for mobilization of regional and world countries to fight Takfiri terrorists. This has given rise to speculations on possible connection between the chief Wahhabis cleric and the new American and European approach towards the Takfiris. The question arises as to why western countries have revised their position and issued a resolution against ISIS after several years of support for terrorist activities in Iraq and Syria?

This group has been committing different kinds of crimes against humanity for many years, massacring thousands of women, children and the elderly in Syria and Iraq. Just recently, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton acknowledged that the ISIS was created by the US and that the group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has received training in Occupied Palestine from Mossad agents for carrying out acts of terrorism. Western regimes and their accomplices in the region, such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey, have opened their coffers for flow of all kinds of financial and the military support for the Takfiris for creating the current humanitarian crisis in Syria.

The fact cannot be denied that the source of the illogical, bigoted, and un-Islamic thoughts of al-Qa’eda, ISIS and an-Nusra, is Wahhabism – a weird interpretation of Islam that is prevalent among the Saudi rulers. For instance, al-Qa’eda was established in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with the financial and moral support of Saudi Arabia, in addition to military and intelligence backing from the United States and the illegal Zionist entity. As long as it was in line with their vested interests, these countries turned a blind eye to the medieval atrocities of the Takfiris, but when al-Qa’eda targeted western countries, it was immediately called a threat to the international community. The United States and its accomplices have made this as a pretext for intervention in Islamic countries, while tightening restrictions on Muslims residing in the West. Of course, this does not mean that they no longer consider the terrorist groups as a tool.
The Islamic Awakening Movement that swept through the Muslim states of North Africa and West Asia prompted Western regimes to prop up Salafi groups backed by Saudi Arabia in order to divert public opinion from the uprisings. The result was the turning of Syria into a hub for al-Qa’eda and its associates. First it was the an-Nusra Front that publicly declared its presence in Syria. The next was the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS, which soon expanded its terrorist activities from Syria into neighboring Iraq. However, insatiable greed and ambition caused rivalry and led to armed conflicts between the an-Nusra and ISIS terrorist groups, resulting in the killing of hundreds of terrorists on both sides.

Despite these disputes and conflicts, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar have not hesitated about providing various forms of military and financial assistance to the an-Nusra, the ISIS, and other extremist streams in Syria and Iraq. Although the radical streams have failed in their attempts to topple the elected government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey in collaboration with Western allies have used the presence of these terrorists groups as efficient tools for putting pressure on the Islamic Resistance movement in the region. The Saudi Wahhabi rulers thought that by relying on their financial strength and supporting the terrorist activities of al-Qa’eda, an-Nusra, the ISIS and other extremist currents, they can easily take hold of the pulse of developments in the Middle East and play the role of the main actor in the region. At the same time, the Wahhabi Muftis have indulged in double game. They have issued a kind of religiously-colored licenses for the crimes being perpetrated in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and other Islamic countries. Of course, these so-called fatwas or verdicts have no relation with the Sunnah or Seerah, which means the practice and behaviour of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). As a matter of fact, these fatwas are of devilish nature and against the spirit and letter of the teachings of Islam, such as the Jihad an-Nikah, which is a kind of religious camouflage for Takfiri terrorists to indulge in promiscuous acts with women under their rule, whether married or unmarried.

Based on the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet's Sunnah, the so-called Jihad an-Nikah is an unforgiveable sin and an unpardonable crime. There is no compulsion in Islam. God has forbidden Muslims from forcing others to accept Islam. The Prophet attracted hearts and minds towards the dynamism of Islamic teachings, rather than forcing anyone to express lip service to Islam. Islam does not permit the killing of fellow Muslims or looting of their property. On the contrary, the teachings of Islam specify that non-Muslims in Islamic societies are entitled to special rights as long as they do not revolt or show animosity towards the Islamic government.
Islam is thus a religion of mercy and kindness. It has special laws to guarantee the rights of all those who live under the banner of Islam – irrespective of their religious beliefs. Women, children, the elderly, and also non-Muslims have special rights in Islam. The status of women is lofty in Islam, compared to their use as commodities for promotion of commercial interests and carnal desires in the West, on the pretext of freedom and liberalization. Unfortunately, terrorist outfits like the ISIS and al-Qa’eda have degraded women to the status of chattel, in order to serve as stereotypes for the distorted concepts already existing in the West.

Of course, the Mufti Azam of Saudi Arabia is well aware of all these facts. He and other Wahhabi Muftis, despite their pretense to follow the Prophet's Sunnah and Seerah, are nothing more than tools for the power-hungry Wahhabi regime and their godfathers in the West. These Muftis issue fatwas in the interests of Aal-e Saud rulers and the overlords in the West, rather than the Prophet's Sunnah or the commandments of God in the holy Qur’an. This explains why the Saudi Muftis issue fatwas in support of terrorist groups such as al-Qa’eda, an-Nusra, the ISIS and the like. It is a bid to legitimize crimes against Islam. However, when the need arises, and when Saudi credibility is threatened in the Muslim world, these same Muftis issue fatwas branding the Takfiris as terrorists, and calling for jihad against them – well aware of the fact that no jihad will be carried out against the Salafis.
EA

 

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Commentaries Tue, 09 Sep 2014 12:05:16 +0000