By Hamid Enayat
As descendants of Abraham, we are all brothers and sisters. That is why we should all be united against the Iranian theocracy. Just as it unleashed the coronavirus against the defenseless population inside Iran, Tehran’s mullahs also want to infect the world with the virus of fundamentalism. We should build the necessary antibodies to resist it.
Jesus Christ was to heal the “broken-hearted.” And God says in the Quran that Muhammad was sent to break the chains of humanity and to lift the heavy burden on them.
This emancipating spirit is the essence of the teachings of Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. Their differences on the surface aside, in essence, Islam, Christianity and Judaism are one and the same. They all worship the one true God.
The Quran explicitly states that there is no difference between these prophets of monotheism.
Religious fundamentalism, however, harbors a notion that is diametrically opposed to the true essence of these liberating faiths. Nowhere is that seen more clearly than in the message and conduct of Islamic fundamentalists ruling Iran. Not only have they persecuted followers of Jews and Christians in that country, they have also harassed, tortured, imprisoned and killed followers of different Islamic denominations like Sunnis and Shiites.
For these fundamentalists, the objective is to preserve political power at all cost. That evil attitude requires them to try to keep their oppressed subjects in perpetual bondage and agony.
They use Islam as a cover for the heinous atrocities that they commit. Like their ideological siblings in ISIS, executioners and torturers in Iranian prisons murder and torture in the name of the prophet and Islam. One need not be steeped in profound theological studies to figure out that this conduct is completely opposite to the compassion and mercy espoused by our prophets.
In the 1990s, the Iranian regime brutally beheaded three Christian priests. Their “crime” was preaching the gospel. Notably, the international community failed to hold the Iranian regime accountable. And thus the shameful act of beheading another Christian priest was replicated later in France.
In 1988, the regime carried out the monstrous act of murdering 30,000 political prisoners. Khomeini, the regime’s supreme leader or caliph at the time, had ordered the massacre, describing these opponents of fundamentalism as “enemies of Islam.” Their true “crime,” of course was preaching the gospel of democracy in Iran. They were mostly Shiites.
Iranian regime authorities are intolerant of other faiths and views. They not only prevent Christians worshipping in churches, but also demolish or shutter Sunni mosques and prevented them from being built in Tehran. They also turn Shiite mosques into centers of oppression, where the paramilitary Bassij forces congregate to carry out espionage and repression of God’s people.
Why does the regime slaughter Sunnis in Syria and or assassinate and brutally torture Shiites and their Sunni brethren in Iraq? What sins have the hundreds of imprisoned followers of the Baha’i faith committed that would lead them to be deprived of employment and education opportunities? And why are Iranian Jews experiencing another pogrom, even though Persia had been a peaceful host for them for centuries prior?
Religious fundamentalism may be centuries old, but it has become a global threat to human civilization particularly since 1979, when it first took power in a country as big as Iran. At the time, Khomeini put the theory of “velayat-e faqih” or absolute clerical rule into practice, and thus unleashed decades of murderous oppression.
For the ruling fundamentalism in Iran, which became the source and backbone for all other fundamentalist groups around the world, human lives and human dignity are worthless. They effortlessly deprive people of their dignity and deprive the world of brilliant souls.
That is why opposition to fundamentalism is essential. And it is also why the efforts of the Iranian opposition in particular should be lauded and supported. The President-elect of the main Iranian coalition of opposition forces is a women, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi. Her mere presence in the political arena a stunning blow to fundamentalism at its heart in Tehran.
Maryam Rajavi’s work, her commitment and her willingness to the ten-point plan for a democratic Iran, which calls for respect for human rights, equality and a non-nuclear Iranian republic, are impressive. Rajavi is a Muslim woman that acts as a genuine indigenous role model for tolerance of other faiths, viewpoints and opinions in a very troubled region.
Ridding the world of the scourge of fundamentalism, which threatens all human achievements, is an urgent imperative.
The Iranian resistance movement, led by a charismatic woman, who respects and loves humanity’s potential for compassion, dignity and emancipation, offers a viable and serious alternative to Iran’s fundamentalist theocracy. The world should support its message, and its vital cause. All decent followers of monotheistic religions have a common enemy in the Iranian regime and a true friend in the organized Iranian resistance movement that has stood up to the scourge of fundamentalism for the past 40 years.