Sam Ghandchiسام قندچيDe-Islamization is Civil Disobedience

Sam Ghandchi

غیر اسلامی کردن یعنی نافرمانی مدنی


Three days ago Guardian Council of Islamic Republic of Iran (GC) announced that permitting Iranian women to become president, which had been quoted from their spokesperson was a misunderstanding, and Iranian women do not have such a right in the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), as before.  As a result, discussions with regards to the candidacy of Shirin Ebadi, for the upcoming IRI election, which is planned for this summer, are finished. Of course, if it was in it was in the hands of IRI's GC, perhaps Iranian women would be banned from winning Nobel prize too, but till the success of worldwide Islamic Republic, there is no need to worry about the call back of Shirin Ebadi's Nobel PrizeMy words may seem satirical, but I am very serious in what I wrote.


In the following line, I will explain more about what I mean by the above discussion, and why in my opinion all these discriminations are the result of *Islamic* Iran, and why it is better that Iran not to be *Islamic* anymore, the same way that since current world, is not Islamic world, Mrs. Ebadi was able, without the permission of religious authorities, to win the Nobel prize.  If immediately in response to be said that I am determining religion, or lack of it, for people, let me say that it is not that at all.  To ask for Iran not to be *Islamic*, has nothing to do with anyone having or not having a religion. Many people in Iran are Christian, but Iran is *not* Christian.  In here, my point is not just secularism and separation of religion and state.  My point is that we should end to Iranian society being *Islamic*, and we should *de-Islamize* the Iranian space (environment).  I will explain more.


For example, Mrs. Ebadi, in the day of receiving her Nobel Prize, had the emphasis to say that she was a Muslim, in other words she liked to announce here religion, but this rumor and the callback of the right of women to run for IRI presidency, doesn't show her, that even being a Muslim, it is to her benefit to live in a *non-Islamic* Iran, because in *Islamic* Iran, she is deprived from the right of becoming a president, but in a *non-Islamic* world, despite being a Muslim, she had the right to win one of the highest political prizes of the world, namely the Nobel Peace Prize.  Let me repeat, these all are all to her benefit as a *Muslim*, to live in a *non-Islamic* Iran, and not in an Islamic Iran.  I should note that here choice of appearing without Islamic hejab during the Nobel ceremony, was a decision of the type of civil disobedience I am trying to discuss in here.


Previously I have discussed my views of women issues in the post-industrial society, in my paper "Women/Men/Love/Commitment/Etc.", and also I have discussed in separate article about stoning and women and about hejab, and there is no need to repeat here.  At any rate, in this article, my issue is not just women issues, and the issue that I have in mind is to present a new plan for civil disobedience of Iranians in Iran and abroad, especially as long as Iran is under the rule of a religious state.


I explained before, that in my opinion, as much as we can, we should promote non-Islamic traditions, even if we are Muslims, the same way that our ancestors, contrary to many other Muslim countries, celebrated Norouz instead of Prophet Mohammad's birthday, as the main holiday of Iran.


For example, most Iranians living in the West, when they decide to get married, they do not do the Islamic marriage ceremony, unless for official need related to Islamic Republic to be forced to do so.  Also most Iranians abroad, if they eat hamburger, contrary to Muslims of other countries, they do not eat halal meat, and they eat at places like McDonald's, which do not serve Islamic halal meat.


In my opinion, Iranians inside and abroad are in a situation to extend the movement of disobedience to the realm of de-Islamization of our culture and habits.  In most countries that have chosen the methods of civil disobedience in the recent years, the civil disobedience in face of the despotic regimes, has not had the religious colors, whereas in my opinion civil disobedience in Iran because of Islamic Republic will have the color of de-Islamization, and this should be highlighted more, and especially it should be reminded that this has nothing to do with being Muslim, the same way that a Christian is living in *Islamic* Iran but has Christian religion, and is not living in a *Christian* Iran, a Muslim in *non-Islamic* Iran, can have Islamic religion.


In fact, Islamic Iran, is taking away the freedom of Muslim and non-Muslims, because the society is enforcing one interpretation of religion on all the people and even the individual right of one Muslim to his own interpretation of Islam is disallowed, and someone like the Muslim Shirin Ebadi, who thinks hejab is not a necessity of being Muslim, in *Islamic* Iran, cannot act to her belief, and is forced to tolerate hejab, but in *non-Islamic* Sweden, she can act according to here own view of Islam.  And what the interpretation of rulers is of Islam is forced on every Muslim and non-Muslim, and thus the freedom of Muslims is in ending Iran being *Islamic*.


Most Iranian hate to live in countries like Saudi Arabia, but they spend their savings going to omreh haj, which is not even required for Muslims as a religious duty, and is a kind of entertainment, but why the people not want thousands of non-Islamic healthy recreational areas. The Islamic Republic has made tours of Islamic sites of Syria cheaper to Islamize Iran more, and to change people's recreations to Islamic entertainment, whereas the civil disobedience, instead, means to choose the beautiful non-Islamic areas of Iran instead of Syria tours


We can change the name of sofreh abolfazl to the pre-Islamic names it has been derived from.  In fact, these were the Iranian women gatherings of Ancient Iran that have been Islamized.  The works of many scientists such as the writings of Dr. Massoume Price

 are excellent sources to use to document the various areas of cultural customs and rituals using the rich pre-Islamic Iranian cultural traditions, but de-Islamization should not be limited to the pre-Islamic traditions and the treasure of the achievements of humanity in all parts of the world are available for use.


Even though secularism in the realm of politics is very important but the real weight of life in Iran especially after the moghol-type attack of Islamists against the Iranian society in the last 25 years, the need of doing a directed activity in the opposite direction of the balance to de-Islamize Iran is imperative.  I admire the efforts of Internet sites such as Derafsh-Kaviyani  in this area, over the years.


In my opinion, every Iranian in any area of life should think about how to form the non-Islamic Iran, from the traditions of funeral to wedding, from food culture to music.  In fact choosing the non-Islamic names for children in Iran, is a good example of such civil disobedience for de-Islamizing Iran.


Let me emphasize that in my opinion all these should be done voluntarily and not by force. We should never repeat the wrong experience of removing hejab.  Let's not forget that for the one who has been used to Islamic social practices, quitting the habit can cause the feeling of emptiness, just like those for whom removing hejab felt like being naked.  The same way that the one who is addicted to cigarettes and may feel that life without is is no life at all, and may take a long time that new habits replace the old retrogressive habits and the utmost compassion should be remembered in this process.


De-Islamizing Iran does not mean to ridicule people for having a religion or for preferring the religion of Islam, but it means to end the religious dictatorship which is based on *islamic* iran and that in *non-Islamic* Iran, people can get closer to democracy.


Hoping for a democratic and secular futurist republic in Iran,

Sam Ghandchi, Editor/Publisher

January 27, 2005


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