Saturday, July 31, 2010

Iranian reformist self propaganda

Following picture was taken on June 17, 2009 five days after disputed presidential election. The picture reads that Ahmadinejad is worse than Nazism and Fascism but wait a minute, Ahmadinejad has been president only for 5 years, before him all these mullahs and reformists who happen to be opponent of Ahmadinejad nowadays, had the power, and we, Iranians situation if it wasn't worse than today, it wasn't better too.

Let's be honest, Ahmadinejad and revolutionary clans are epiphenomenon of Islamic republic of Iran. What Ahmadinejad, Basij militia and revolutionary guards are doing today has been done and said when Mousavi was then, the prime minister. One only needs to look at the archives of papers of those days.

I mentioned back then that there are two forces, one is people movement and the other one is green movement. Green movement is a fractions among political elites of Islamic republic of Iran and people movement has been around since the beginning of Islamic republic in Iran on 1979. While reformists trying only to portray Ahmadinejad as a bad guy in Islamic republic, people's movement has targeted whole Islamic republic. They know enough that the Islamic republic is a pernicious regime.

Mind you that I don't defend Ahmadinejad in anyway. In fact I have been criticizing his policies and atrocities for quite a long time but I am also fed up with reformists' hypocrisy and self propaganda.

Photo: Getty Images

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Death threat against a blogger by radicals

I talked to some Iranian bloggers and all told me to go public about these threats and write down some of them here. I removed all cursing and foul language out and I write down here some of the threats that you can make sense of what these fanatics are all about:

  • I cut your throat
  • I pray god to take off your eyes
  • I swear if I see you i will choke you with my bare hands
  • I know well your worst end, remember that remember that
  • Now I will kill you. Allah is great.
  • The death is coming to you soon soon.
  • You will die in bad wayyyyy and slowly and u will see inshallah
  • and so on.
I have laid low for quite long long time and I've had good reasons to do that, trust me on this. So make no mistake, this is not publicity stunt and I am not looking to attract attention of any sort, in fact I still did not want to go public about it although constant threats have brought my life to a standstill. In 2009, I stopped writing for couple of months but it didn't help either. Unfortunately during all these years these threats never stopped and went from bad to worse and it makes me to believe these threats have been organized and are systematic.

I have publicly criticized Iranian human rights violations, Islamic doctrine and practices, Iranian public policy and etc. I believe these systematic threats organized by government agencies, radical mullahs and some fanatics here and there. Some of the blogs I write for include the following:
I am pro-free speech and anti-censorship, so I can not stop defending the values of modern world. If I stop writing as I did in 2009, my life turns to a melancholy so as long as I am okay, there is no stopping here and that's a promise.

Freedom of speech may sound unpleasant and offensive to some but in fact it also secures everyone's right to discuss and bring reasonable arguments on the table. Freedom of speech is crucial for civil society and every individual's mind and thought, and in today's world no one has a right to avoid being offended but death threats is different story!

I deeply appreciate all the support that you have given to me, specially from Andrew Ford Lyons in Committee to Protect Bloggers that instantly published an article and condemned these threats, Alistair and couple of  friends that I am not sure I can name them but I owe all of them a debt of gratitude.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The greatest threat to Islam

Someone left a comment here, saying:

profanity should not be allowed in any type of media, it has a chilling effect on the expression of ideas and serves no benefit to any one. in writing about religion specially islam,90 out of 100 muslim have different interpretation of their understanding of islam, so it is not fair to generalize,also some people are very sensitive and may have a violent reaction when it comes to their deeply rooted believes,it is necessary to learn how to live with them peacefully, they may have a good side that can amaze you, once they realize that you are not disrespecting them.
I didn't see profanity in the video. Bear with me for a second and I would like to look at it from different angle. I think one of the greatest accomplishments of human civilization is the universal declaration of Human Rights and if any ideology would deny it while doesn't present anything better then that ideology is doomed to fail. That's not a bad thing, in fact the collapse of a corrupt ideology means progress and everyone should cherish progress. So instead of being defensive, look beyond some hateful emotional reaction of radicals. This change in the long run will help everyone, including those radicals that they blow themselves and their kids on every occasion.

I think the greatest threat to an ideology is the ideology itself. There is no need to say the fundamentally corrupt ideology would go down faster. The greatest threat to Islam is the Islamic ideology itself, so you don't need to look around and blame others, you only should examine Islam critically then you will have the answers.

Cartoon from Atheistnexus

While the commentator trying to raise some good points but unfortunately s/he made a fallacious argument. I do not stereotype people of any ideology. I just look into the ideology itself and write about the problems within it. The problem is when we talk about an ideology, all adherent of the ideology would go defensive because they have feelings for the ideology and it makes it complicated. Tolerance for backward ideologies is not something that I would recommend because world can not progress with backward ideologies.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Welcome to Islamic Republic of Sweden

This article is published on All Voices on July 21, 2010.

I’ve been meaning to write about this for awhile now but there were too many things would come up but last night I thought I should sit down and write this piece. On 11 May 2010, Muslim protesters assaulted a Swedish artist Lars Vilks while he was giving a lecture about limits of artistic freedom in a university in Sweden. Muslims that knew Lars is going to lecture in Uppsala University had planned to stop his speech.

Once Lars presented drawing of a cartoon of the Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, angry Muslims attacked him and one of them managed to strike Lars with his head . Police had to use baton and paper spray to hold off angry Muslims.

Why these Muslims would want to attend to the lecture that they know they might get offended by the subject? and why they did want to stop Lars from giving lecture? The answer to these questions lies withing domination of Muslims and Islamic ideology to non-Muslim world which Islamists on this video pursue it.

In Islam generally people classified as either Muslim or non-believer, well seems Muhammad cut a little slack for other Abrahamic religions and called them people of the book. So from Islamic viewpoint followers of Abrahamic religions are believers but not as much as Muslims and they have to convert as soon as possible. In Islam non-believes don’t deserve a life, they are corrupting society and other Muslim minds. In Sharia law a retribution defined for murdering a Muslim but for murdering a non-believer there is nothing. Muslims have always gotten away with murdering non-believers.

Islam says its the last religion that god send to his slaves and Muhammad is the last prophet, so Islam is the superior religion. According to this ideology Muslims have to put all their efforts together to win through all other beliefs and thoughts and prevail Islam. In this ideology there is no place for a non-believer, and if a non-believer dare to find fault with Islam then he certainly should be crushed and that alone will set an example for the rest of non-believers.

Is this ideology alarming for you? If you do not find anything wrong with it, or if you don’t care to what happened to Lars on this video, trust me this is not going to stop there. One day you will wake and next thing you know, you do not have the right to speak about Islam. With higher Muslim birth rate in world, if the radical ideas would spread then there would impossible to stop it and this should concern you.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Basij: Iranian radical martyrs

In past I have written about Basij militia and their way of thinking and also their actions in Iranian society. I have mentioned Basij members go through intensive Islamic indoctrination process but still there are many things left unsaid.

Although Basij is a volunteer paramilitary organization but there are systematic process in place to persuade children at school to register as a Basij and diligently participate in Basij special classes, everyday prayers and gatherings. It is easier to brainwash children than a full-grown person. By the time children grow up, it will become extremely difficult to bring back them to reality. This story might be difficult for you to grasp so let's watch following video that shows a group of Basij children in Iran-Iraq war and one of them speaks about his experience of war:

Basij organization founded by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 and Basij members extensively have participated in Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988). More than 1 million Iranians killed or maimed during this war which most of them consisted of untrained Basij members and Revolutionary Guards. During Iran-Iraq war there were constant campaigning to persuade people to join Basij and go to the war. People from different age groups joined to Basij and gone to war, many of them never made it home. They were under influence of brainwashing techniques with combination of Islamic doctrine but they never knew they have been brainwashed. During that time Iranian child soldiers have been used in suicide missions or propaganda projects in war.

Back then Basij members have idolized Ayatollah Khomeini and now they have been taught to idolize the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Back then Basij organization has participated in war and propaganda and nowadays, they are active in propaganda, repression of civil society and crackdown on dissent and opposition movements (check out reports of the protests over presidential election in June and July 2009). One might consider Basij as a positive force back then but I do have many reasons to argue against this notion.

Unfortunately the vicious cycle of brainwashing children and children enrolling in Basij organization would never stop anytime soon. A close examination of everyday textbooks of school children proves this. For example, the "Islamic Culture and Religious Studies" textbook for eighth-grade says:
“Defensive jihad is incumbent upon every one. The young and the old, men and women, everyone, absolutely everyone, must take part in this sacred battle, fight to the best of his or her abilities or assist our fighters…If colonialists outside the borders of the country interfere in the affairs of Islamic countries through their agents inside the country, the religion of Islam does not permit Muslims to remain silent and watch the foreigners pillage and plunder but orders them to rise up and strive with all their might to defeat the enemy and liberate their country. This too is a defensive jihad and is incumbent upon everyone.” [1]
On the seventh-grade of "Islamic Culture and Religious Studies" textbook says:
“By taking note of the guidance and instructions provided by Islam, every Muslim youth must strike fear in the hearts of the enemies of God and their people through combat-readiness and skillful target shooting. He must always be ready to defend his country, honor, and faith and use all his capabilities and power in this endeavor. After the victory of the Revolution, His Holiness Imam Khomeini, the deceased leader of the Islamic Revolution, issued an order for the establishment of the basij (paramilitary group) for the Oppressed.” [2]
Or on the concept of sacrifice and self-sacrifice, on second-grade 'Heavenly Gifts' religious studies textbook says:
“Heaven has eight doors through which those who are destined for heaven enter. One gate is dedicated to the prophets and those who are honest; another is for martyrs and pious people, and the remaining gates are for other groups.” [3]
And this should be very alarming for all Iranians because Iran's future will belong to today's children and this children will be leaders one day and with this upbringing, I do not see how they are not going to fail Iran. I do not think so open-minded person would want to see a legion of Iranian radical martyrs in future.

1, 2 and 3: Discrimination and Intolerance in Iran's Textbooks

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Response to Islamists reaction

It seems couple of posts on this blog haven't sit well with Islamists and they took it personally, and we all know what happens then. I guess I have to clarify my position once again. I do not restrain myself because you think my thoughts are disrespectful to your religion, faith or whatever you believe in. I think the only valuable things that we, humans have are our free thoughts and reason and I will not let you take away that too.

For instance I wrote a post almost 3 years ago that I am still receiving threats and curses for expressing my opinion about an Islamic ceremony. I've deleted the most disgusting comments but still some of them are there. One of the angry commentators wrote in capital letters:

"we get the courage to grab your neck and break it in a shot !! we shine the swords on the chest and bones of enemies ... we are the real winners of the battle of karbala ... we are not supposed to mentioned our names here as we all have a common identity shia e ali a.s., lovers of ahlulbayt a.s., at this platform we all are one in hand to hand ........... do what ever you could do .... but one day this will last finally ... with the sword of our supreme leader mahdi a.s." [it comes with dictation errors]
The other ones cursed me with death, hell fire and so on. From their point of view I do not worth a life because I do not like some ridiculous ceremonies. In fact some of them are outright disgusting, inhuman and plain absurd. I have not found anything interesting in them so I can not say otherwise. This is not mean, only being honest about my opinion.

This poem is relevant to the topic and remember that "you can kill a man but you can't kill an idea":
Thoughts are free, who can guess them?
They flee by like nocturnal shadows.
No man can know them, no hunter can shoot them,
with powder and lead: Thoughts are free!

I think what I want, and what delights me,
still always reticent, and as it is suitable.
My wish and desire, no one can deny me
and so it will always be: Thoughts are free!

And if I am thrown into the darkest dungeon,
all this would be futile work,
because my thoughts tear all gates
and walls apart. Thoughts are free!

So I will renounce my sorrows forever,
and never again will torture myself with some fancy ideas.
In one's heart, one can always laugh and joke
and think at the same time: Thoughts are free!

I love wine, and my girl even more,
Only I like her best of all.
I'm not alone with my glass of wine,
my girl is with me: Thoughts are free!

That's about it.

Shiite supremacist vs. Sunni fundamentalist

These photos belong to suicide bombers of Jundallah group and taken before they carried out their terrorist act in Baluchistan in Iran on July 16, 2010. Now Jundallah calls them martyr and proudly showcase their photos on web. Both Iranian government and Jundallah rely on Quran and Islamic religious texts and both call the other one "Enemy of Allah"! and it's not irony at all.

Abdulbaset Rigi, one of suicide bombers

working on explosive material

Abdulbaset and Muhammad Rigi, the two suicide bombers

Islamic Iran recently executed Abdulmalek Rigi, leader of Jundallah and his brother, Abdulhamid Rigi. Right then Jundallah announced they chose a new leader and they will take revenge and that's what the did.

Jundallah is a fundamentalist Sunni group and Islamic Iran is a Shiite supremacist, as I wrote before if Iran doesn't change its policies towards Sunni minorities, situation will get uglier. At least that's what it looks like for now. Islamic Iran has to change the barbaric mentality that they can execute dissenters and they can discriminate minorities forever. Jundallah wrote in a weblog that they had enough already.

Photos courtesy of Taftan weblog

Hat tip: Zaminegerd

Oath of judges in Iran and USA

Each judge should take an oath before performing duties in office. The difference between oaths of judges in Iran and let's say the United States is striking. I do not draw conclusion about their judicial systems based on differences of oaths but I think by comparing oaths we can get a glimpse of what is the real mandate of judges. Perhaps we can find something there to explain to us about horrific public executions:

Let's compare oath of judges in Iran and the United States and see the difference:

Oath of judges in Iran:
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
Oath letter
I, as a judge, in the presence of the Holy Qur'an and before Iranian nation, swear to Almighty God to follow the Prophet of Islam and the sacred Imams, peace be upon them, and seeking help of the spirits of the martyrs of Islam, guard justice and righteous, and undertake upon my human dignity to be diligent in seeking the truth and justice, administer Islamic justice to demand from oppressor and restore it to its owner and with sustained effort in Judicial position fulfill my obligation to Islamic republic with strengthening the foundations of the Islamic republic and supporting The Leader.

Name and surname

Oath of judges in the United States:

“I, XXX XXX, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as XXX under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.”
The simplicity of oath says it all. In first oath you wouldn't know what the judge stands for! In order of importance it would be Islamic republic, Supreme leader and at the end, maybe "Islamic" justice. But on the second oath, the judge takes oath to administer justice and that's a judge is there for and that's the kind of judge I prefer to see if I am convicted of something!

I quoted "Islamic" justice because the Islamic part of our justice is the reason for high rate of executions, limb amputations and systematic torture in Iran.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Suicide bombings in Iran's Baluchistan

I strongly condemn terrorism of any kind; grouped or state terrorism. In my opinion, any act to create terror and endanger safety of unarmed civilians, is just unacceptable. But that's my point of view.

This terrorist act carried out by Jundallah , a Sunni militant group on July 16, 2010 in Baluchistan in south-eastern Iran. This is terrible but it is going to be worse if Islamic Iran doesn't change its policies towards Sunni Muslims in Iran. The Shitte ruling class have harshly crushed any little dissent or even complain in Sunni areas in Iran and they have made sure to keep the Sunni regions of Iran underdeveloped and very poor that Sunnies wouldn't have enough resources and means to look for independence. That's worrisome for Iran.

But authorities have gone too far, the constant discriminating against Sunnis, punishing Sunni activists with death penalty and destroying Sunni mosques and seminary schools (I put video above), all together, have only festered hate and turned Balouchi resistance to a militant group backed up by Wahhabi fundamentalist. Don't get me wrong, I am not in favor of mosques of any kind but this is only my observation from politics of the region.

In 2008, I reported about execution of an Iranian blogger, Yaghoob Mehrnehad which he was a balouch ethnic from Baluchistan. Later on, anonymous sources mentioned that Yaghoob Mehrnehad was dead from excessive torture that he was gone through. Mehrnehad 's brother started to report on his brother so authorities in order to shut him down, imprisoned him. I think he is still in prison. Baluch people believe, they live in "forgotten land".

I have traveled through Iran, in North, South, East and West and I have met Sunnis of any ethnic. Islamic Shiite authorities tormented Sunni people on every corner of this country but I found them friendly and generous. They might not have much but they are proud and living their simple lives, they want to have a say in Iranian politics, a little participation, if you will and I am sure as long as Iranian authorities look at Sunni minorities like an outsider, this problem will last longer.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Stop Stoning to Death

In stoning to death, victims will be buried up to their chest in a hole and covered with soil, then rocks will be thrown at their heads until they die in pain and their blood. This is very barbaric punishment.

Let's put an stop on this horrifying form of punishment once for all. Sign the petition.

I was checking out the Sharia law and I came across to this article related to stoning: "The stoning of an adulterer or adulteress shall be carried out while each is placed in a hole and covered with soil, he up to his waist and she up to a line above her breasts." This is Article 102 of The Islamic Penal code of Iran that you can find in Book 2: Punishments specified in Shari’a (Haads) of Iran's Penal code or here. You can find Persian version over here.

Back then I wrote about stoning to death in "What is really execution by stoning?".

Hat tips: stop torturing us

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ayatollah Paul the octopus

Paul the octopus had eight correct predictions in 2010 FIFA World Cup so if there is anyone or anything deserve to be called Ayatollah, it is the octopus.

Someone came with this great idea.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A good ayatollah is a dead ayatollah

"A good ayatollah is a dead ayatollah" is an old saying among Iranians. The older version is something like "a good mullah is a dead mullah". These two phrases basically mean the same thing and mean mullahs, ayatollahs, clerics are good when they are dead, otherwise they are up to no good. These phrases derived from historical interaction of people and clerics.

Ayatollah is a high ranking title given to a Islamic Shia mullah (cleric). Ayatollahs have followers and followers comply with anything that following ayatollah wishes them to do. These followers usually pay cash or whatever they would be able to do to satisfy ayatollahs. Merchants (Bazari people) used to financially support ayatollahs all the way and equally, ayatollahs would issue a decree in favour of a specific product or brand to benefit their merchant followers or simply ask their followers to shop from those merchants. Or whenever merchants get on the wrong side of the law, ayatollah would intervene on their behalf.

Since Khamenei became Supreme Leader in Iran, he has fed ayatollahs and seminary schools with money and by doing so he basically changed the traditional relationship between ayatollahs and their followers, and specially merchants to a great extent. I do not want to go off topic so let me get back to the point that I started.

Recently, an ayatollah died in Lebanon, couple of months ago another one in Qom, Iran. If you happen to have seen any of the ceremonies that thousands of their followers gather and mourn, you might have get this impression that "wow! what a pity, he definitely have been good to people". This is the kind of impression usually every average clueless person might make. If you have been one of these people, change and think again!

By the way I am not a pessimist.