Iraq-Islamists Using Freedom to Kill Freedom
Five years ago, I wrote an article entitled "Using Freedom to Kill Freedom" to describe the actions of Islamists in Iran, when there was a partial democracy right after the 1979 Revolution, and how the Islamists used freedom of those days, to intimidate and attack women and democratic groups, to establish their power in Iran. A few days ago, in Iraq, the heinous murder of Ayatollah Khoi, who opposed the Islamists, reminded me of the same intimidation these dark forces had done in Iran, before they established their rule, using fatwa killing and street attacks on the democratic forces, to scare the opposition to choose appeasement of them, and finally to rule the country unchallenged.
In fact, I remember the first weeks after the 1979 Revolution in Iran, when the women had a demonstration for their rights, and these Islamists, acting as if they were the voice of the disadvantaged, would run on the streets, attacking the women with slogans like "yA roosari, yA toosari" (either cover your head with a scarf or get hit on your head).
I vividly remember those days in Tehran, when many in the Iranian democratic opposition, made a big mistake, thinking of Islamists and their tactics, as the aspirations of Iranian working people, and thus called such intimidations and attacks, as the voice of Iranian people, and advised the people not to resist it, and this is how they appeased these dark forces, and the Islamists succeeded in their attacks on women and democratic forces, and in winning full power in Iran.
The result was that after the women, it was the various opposition forces that got the same treatment by the Islamists, and were eliminated from the political scene of Iran, and then they continued their intimidations by the terror of Shahpour Bakhtiar in Paris and murdered Kurdish leaders in Europe, and finally back to Iran, they slaughtered legal opposition figures Forouhars, in Tehran. This is how the rule of Islamists was established in Iran.
Islamists' record of intimidation and cold-blood murder is not much different from Stalinism and Nazism. Many Iranians are scared, even when living abroad, to speak up about the atrocities of Islamists. Steven Emerson has written his experiences of how he had been intimidated by the Islamists, when being a U.S. native citizen, and living right in the U.S., and the number of times he had gotten death threats to stop him from his opposition to Islamism. When they do this even in the West, then one can imagine how they act in a newly freed country like Iraq, to intimidate the democratic forces.
Today the Islamists have started doing the same in Iraq. The heinous murder of Ayatollah Khoi, a Shi'a Ayatollah who was against them, was to show that they would not even spare people from the ranks of Shi'a clergy. This is not their way of showing force, but this is their way of showing their brutality and cruelty, to scare the opposition and secure position in the future state of Iraq.
What Iranians have learned, in a very tough lesson of over 24 years, has been that giving in to the Islamists, will not stop them, and they will do more. They even killed Iranian intellectual Ahmad Kasravi, during the Shah's regime, long before coming to power, because Shah's regime, as well as some the forces of Iranian opposition, tried to appease the Islamists. I have seen that even in the West, how they used the freedom to kill freedom , by profanity, intimidation, and death threats, even on the Internet, to shut anybody who opposed Islamism. They even maimed one Iranian comedian in Los Angeles, during a street demonstration, a few years ago.
I think the answer to their intimidations, and their use of freedom to kill freedom, is not to curtail freedom and democracy, but the answer is to protect democracy. The answer is to make sure when they break the law, they are punished accordingly. In other words, if they set up a demonstration and attack people, or if they come and attack democratic gatherings, they should be arrested.
If they make death threats, they should be investigated and those from the high-level clergy, who have issued the kill fatwa, should be also arrested and prosecuted in a court of justice. Their money sources, that is khoms and zakAt, which is received by Ayatollahs from the Muslims, must be taxed, and if they evade to pay taxes of these religious dues, they should be treated according to the law. And if their religious money resources is used to pay for hit-men, the accounts must be blocked and their religious constituency informed about it.
When Islamists go and give a threat to Ayatollah Sistani, who opposes Islamists, to leave Iraq, and they send gunmen to intimidate the man, the gunmen should be arrested and dealt with severely, and those clergymen who have issued such orders, should be brought to justice. They want to eliminate Ayatollah Sistani, because he has called for separation of religion and state. The Islamists should be allowed to have rallies and demonstrations, as long as they are not using threats with guns or sticks, and are not making death threats or attack others, in other words, as long as they are civil.
But any intimidation and attacks by them on women, democratic groups, or individuals, should be severely punished. If they attack democratic newspaper offices, which is what they always did in Iran, to stop the people from gaining secular knowledge, they should be arrested and stopped, rather than allowing them to do such attacks in the name of working people.
Ordinary people do not do these things, and these thugs, who act as ordinary people, are paid and supported by high-level Islamist clergy, who issue religious decrees (fatwas) to hit and kill opponents, and they should not be appeased, and must be stopped by the secular democratic state, or they will wipe out the secular democratic state in a short time.
The mistake of the interim government of Iran, after the revolution of 1979, was that it caved in to the intimidations of Islamists, and in less than a year, the Islamists were controlling everything. The interim government of Afghanestan last year, after so many years of Taleban's dark rule, still caved in to the Islamists, and called the secular state of Afghanestsn, an Islamic government.
The secular people of the Middle East, particularly the people of Iran, are now looking at how the Islamists will be dealt with in Iraq, and whether the winner will be democracy; or the Islamism will be allowed once again, to use freedom to kill freedom.
Hoping for a Futurist, Federal, Democratic, and Secular Republic in Iran and Iraq,
Sam Ghandchi, Publisher/Editor
April 15, 2003
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