Islamism Imposing a Civil War on Iran


In the last 23 years, the rise of Islamism in Iran has brought one tragedy after another and many times one believes that things will have to get better, because one cannot imagine anything worse, and then there is another surprise from this retrogressive regime of IRI that has befallen Iran after the victory of Islamists in the 1979 Revolution.  And I believe the Islamists are on the verge of getting Iran into a Civil War, after the catastrophes of hostage-taking and War with Iraq, this is their new disaster shaping at this very moment. 


Over two months ago, I wrote that the case of Aghajari is not a simple issue of factional fights of IRI and that it means a split inside Shi'a religion similar to the protestant split from Catholicism.  I elaborated on this topic extensively in my previous article and do not need to repeat here:


In the 20th Century, the Communist ideological regimes created a pattern of doctrinal breakups, similar to the Medieval ideological splits, and external conflicts such as the semi cold war situation between Soviet Union and Communist China,  war of Vietnam and Cambodia, and internal conflcits such as the purges of Stalin and civil war of Cultural Revolution in China are the legacy of those doctrinal breakups.  Islamism in the 21st Century has surpassed those Communist regimes by reviving real Medieval warring factions of Islamists in Afghanestan for some time and now a real breakup of Shi'a is happening in Iran, with the consequences that could easily be a Civil War as bloody as the conflicts of the warring factions inside Afghanestan. 


If there was a Bukharin who till the time he was executed, did not believe that Communism was killing him, and still thought it was an error of judgment of Stalin and the Communist regime, and not a basic flaw of the system he was defending, in Iran of today, Aghajari is thinking of himself as the real Islamism and thinks his version of Islamist state will not have the flaw of all ideological states and he still supports Ayatollah Khomeini in his last response to Islamic Republic TV a couple of days ago; and on the other hand, his opponents like Razini, the chief judge of the Special Court of Clergy, dare to say, in this 21st Century, that whoever hears an insult to Islam's prophet can kill the offender without needing any court at all.  This man is a superior judge of the Islamic Republic of Iran and this is the bloody path that he is defining for his followers who openly call for the immediate killing of Aghajari on the charges of blasphemy.


What are the Islamists leading Iran to?  Is it a kind of movement we saw in Mashrootiat which was *not* focused on two geographical regions as one could see in South versus North in the U.S. Civil War, where the civil war for motamem ghAnoone asAsi had on one side the despotism of Mohammad Ali Shah (Iranian monarchy) with its molla supporters like Sheikh Fazlollah Nouri, and where on the other side the democratic forces were standing, or is the case now drastically different?  I believe the civil war that Islamists are imposing on Iran is not geographically defined,  which is in contrast to the US Civil War, but only in this sense it is similar to the Mashrootiat era of Iran, and this is where all the similarity ends.  This civil war condition imposed by the Islamists is basically a war between the major factions of Islamists, and this is in complete contrast to Mashrootiat, where even the religious opposition's positions were highly influenced by the secular forces.


For the Iranian secular forces, the solution for Iran's future is in science, democracy, and getting rid of Islamism of all colors Iran and they do not care for any religious war.  To secular forces, all the arguments of Aghajari's molla supporters to prove that Aghajari is not blasphemous sounds as if to say the spilling of his blood would be OK if he *was* blasphemous. For secular forces, a blasphemous author should be as free as his or her opponents and from the viewpoint of the secularists, it is none of the business of any religious zealot to punish people for how they want to think.


In the 21st Century, all these religious wars only mean that a society is backward.  Even the semi-religious civil wars of communists such as the Cultural Revolution of Chinese Communists meant that China was a backward country, and it did not mean that they are more advanced. Those who are offering the retrogression to the past as the solution of the issues facing various countries in the world, are simply showing the bankruptcy of their own ideologies that cannot offer any solution for real problems of today's world.


The Iranian people have nothing to gain in any religious war whether internally or externally.  Iranian people do not care about who represents *real* Islam or who is blasphemous.  Those mollahs who are speaking against Aghajari are seeking the support of the West and are giving concessions on Iraq to gain the support of the West against the Shi'a semi-protestant movement in Iran.  Iranian people are tired of all factions of Islamism and want the full separation of state and religion.  Iranians have nothing to gain from any Islamist Civil War in Iran. 


Iran has suffered  from theocracy for 23 years and the verdict against Aghajari is not new.  The clergy in Iran did the same against Kasravi and Salman Rushdie.  Those who are defending Aghajari by saying that he is *not* blasphemous, rather than condemning Islamic laws against heretics, are in a way approving the inquisition of Islamism that has been going on for 23 years in Iran.


One surprising reality in the West is that a major part of the progressive forces of the Western countries, basically the Left,  that are so outspoken about Iraq or Palestine, have been completely silent about the recent uprisings in Iran.  A look at a website called "" which has a lot of news about US War on Iraq, and posts a lot of news about Palestine, amazingly has missed all the headlines about Iran's students uprising of the past two weeks.  Is this the same with the likes of Noam Chomsky, Edward Said and Tariq Ali to ignore the opposition to the regime in Iran and still consider the Islamic Republic as an anti-imperialist regime, and thus as a so-called *progressive* system by their standards!


The secular forces in Iran are not a small force and they are not going to be the cannon powder for any Islamist group and they know better than the people in any other country in the Middle East that the only lasting alternative for Iran is a fully secular state and those who are advocating the so-called Islamic *democracy* are charlatans who mostly benefit from the existence of backward Islamist states in the Middle East.  There is nothing progressive about any form of Islamism in Iran. 


If it took the people of the Soviet Union over 70 years to know that they did not want a state with a tag of Communism; for the Iranian people, the 23 years has been more than enough to know that any regime with a tag of Islamism means nothing but apartheid against a segment of the Iranian society.  Those in the West, conservative or leftists, who try to write another Islamic prescription for Iran's future state, should try one in the West, if they are so fond of a religious state for Iran and the rest of the Middle East.  Iranians have had enough of *any* Islamic state.


Sam Ghandchi, Publisher


Nov 18, 2002




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