Islam, Iranian Style

By Melody Moezziauthor and attorney Not long ago, I got a call from a reporter asking for my thoughts on … Continued

By Melody Moezzi
author and attorney

Not long ago, I got a call from a reporter asking for my thoughts on the Islamic New Year. I immediately broke out laughing. “I’m Iranian,” I told her, “We don’t celebrate the Islamic New Year much. Our real new year is the first day of spring. So if you call back in March, I’ll have something much more intelligent to say.”

The Iranian New Year, Nowrooz, is just one of many old Zoroastrian traditions that Iranians have kept, often adding their own twist of Shi’a Islam. In most Iranian homes, the standard Nowrooz place setting (sofreh) includes a Qur’an. Our celebration of Nowrooz is just one of many examples of mixing Islamic, Zoroastrian and culturally Persian traditions.

Thus, while the Iranian brand of Islam is a very Shi’a one, it is also a very Zoroastrian and Persian one. This unique strain of Islam is perhaps one of the greatest assets that the current Iranian opposition holds in its battle against an increasingly brutal Iranian regime. Thus, this opposition is not purely an Islamic one. Iranians of other faiths are also invested in its success. This includes Zoroastrians, Jews, Christians, and Baha’is. All of us will benefit from the fall of the Islamic republic, but perhaps none more than Iranian Muslims.

The so-called Islamic Republic of Iran is a disgrace to the religion it claims to enforce. By persecuting minorities (religious or otherwise), the government has failed to follow the basic Islamic principles of diversity, justice and equality.

The “Islamic” Republic’s most un-Islamic policy by far has been its use of coercion with respect to religious practices. The greatest holy book of Islam, the Qur’an, clearly teaches that there should be no compulsion in religion, that forcing religion on anyone is a grave sin.

Not only has the government dishonored Islam in its practices, it has turned many Iranians, especially youth, away from Islam entirely by convincing them that the regime’s misrepresentations of the faith are accurate.

The growing drug and prostitution problems in Iran are no coincidence. Many have accepted that if the government’s twisted version of Islam is correct, then they want no part of it. And as a result distrust, disillusionment and dismay have followed.

There is a miracle behind the current uprising in Iran. The youth have finally recognized the biggest and most damaging lie that the allegedly Islamic Republic has been spreading over the past 30 years like a drug-resistant air-borne virus: that the mullahs and ayatollahs are necessarily speaking Islam, when they are often speaking nothing but power and politics.

The Iranian people are beginning to reclaim Islam for themselves. Not the kind of Islam that divides and discriminates, but the kind that unites and invites all of our brothers and sisters to join in the fight. Iranian-style Islam not only accepts other faiths, but it is also powerfully influenced by them. As an Iranian Shi’a Muslim, I cannot deny that my Islam is also a distinctly Zoroastrian, Jewish, Baha’i and Christian one by its very nature. These influences combine to create a unique flavor of Islam, full of saffron and honey, sprinkled with pistachios and drowning in rose water. Nothing tastes quite like it, and nothing smells quite as sweet.

This Islam belongs to the people, and the Iranian people have finally rescued it from the corrupt mullahs. We could be shouting anything off the rooftops to confirm that the movement is still alive and well. But, we have chosen the words “Allah-u Akbar,” God is Great. We are fighting a false idol here.

The only Supreme Leader for any Muslim is God.

Melody Moezzi is a writer, activist, author and attorney. Her first book, “War on Error: Real Stories of American Muslims,” earned a Georgia Author of the Year Award and a Gustavus Myers Center for Bigotry and Human Rights honorable mention. Moezzi is a commentator for National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and for Georgia Public Radio. She was a columnist for Muslim Girl magazine, and she writes regularly for the Huffington Post. She was born in Chicago and lives in the Atlanta area.

  • Paganplace

    There but for the grace of founders knowing we shouldn’t govern like that go we. Just in case anyone forgot. The bloody ‘Reformation’ was recent history to them.

  • abhab

    Moezzi claims:“The greatest holy book of Islam, the Qur’an, clearly teaches that there should be no compulsion in religion, that forcing religion on anyone is a grave sin.”Wrong! This verse “No compulsion in religion” was an early Mecca verse that was abrogated (cancelled) by many other so-called Medina verses. One such later verse that contradicts the above claim of non-compulsion is 9: 29 which starts with “Fight those who do not believe in Allah and His prophet (meaning Mohammad) etc. It is on the basis of this and similar verses that the Caliph Omar codified the treatment of Christians and Jews with his so-called Omar Pact cited below.

  • gholam11

    What a Deeply Misleading Piece !!!One need not be a seasoned intellectual to observe that Islam is a religion whose main principles are deeply founded upon violence, repression, lack of respect for others’ opinions, and utter contempt for women. And the fact that you are a woman makes it even more interesting. Ms. Moezzi, maybe you should familiarize yourself with a place that is known as birthplace of Islam, that is Saudi Arabia and find out how people, women in particular, are treated in that land. Describing what truly Islam is takes only a bit of courage and honesty, which are blatantly absent in your piece. I am amazed that Washington Post is open to printing nonsense like this…!Reza in Canada

  • st2468

    Islam surely teaches equality and diversity, but it does not teach the encompassing of Pagan traditions. We are to live in complete harmony and treat minorities with respect, not mix in their values with ours. Iran has Jewish representation in Parliament, how many western countries besides UK have Muslim representation? Why does the world not attack France for its inequality, why does it go after the Muslim nations?

  • zhengye

    While I am in sympathy with the authors convictions that the islamic leaders / ayatollahs / mullahs are bad apples, it saddens me that she, like millions of other sheeple, still accept such nonsense as prophets. Claiming to be a blessed intermediary between mankind and god, prophets over the millennia have been the consumate snake oil salesmen. Beginning with the wackiest witch doctor, these folks have conned billions of humans into accepting that god / gods speak to humans through middlemen, and they capitalize on that con job.

  • DupontJay

    The author sounds like a very fine person.But the Holy writings she claims as the word of God are works of the most brutal violence, advocating Islamic dominion over all ‘infidels.’ For example, I have a hard time resolving the author’s rose-water view of Islam with the Koran’s injunction to kill anyone who converts away from this “religion of peace.”As long as there are people who believe in the literal truth of the Koran (or the equally bloodthirsty Bible, for that matter), the world will not be safe from religiously inspired atrocities.

  • santafe2

    Look, all governments that seek to enforce a religion, including the “born-agains” like Gov. Sanders or Gov. Palin, ultimately pervert religion, and the Gospel of Christ. This is nothing new. Religion is not about power, but government is, and religions that try to get involved with government, ultimately, make a pact with the devil. So, I would say to the so-called political Christians who ultimately spit on Christ with their bad behavior, that they should hold their tongue when tut-tutting about Islam. Having said that, I must admit that I don’t get Islam, not a single bit. Maybe men like the four wives bit, but what the heck is in it for women?

  • Chops2

    The Koran, the Bible, they are all contradictory and open to interpretation as clearly evinced by the varying nature of religious belief and practice.To suggest that Islam or Christianity for that matter is a big tolerant love fest simply defies facts. There is little tolerance in either. They are human constructions and the violence and contradictions within them feed intolerance. The Palins and the Huckabee’s etc need to look at the Mullahs when they rave on about becoming a more Christain nation. History shows when government cedes to Mullahs, prophets and otherwise, the only result is people fighting back against rigid intolerance.

  • dvsikka

    How is it different from Taliban.

  • beamerao

    I’ve not seen such stupid posts for quite a while bravo. First is this author really talking for the vast majority of Iranians, she was born in Atlanta according to her bio (I normally consider that to be prima facia evidence of an American). I would call this just another American commenting on what they want to see not necessarily reality. As to the other posts from the I’m so righteous atheists’ to the Christianity is blessed. You all should go read some history, first very few religions were as violent in forcing there opinions as Christianity (Constantine, Justine, Council of Nicaea, Edict of Nantes, Crusades, Reformation in general, thirty years war, and Nazi to name a few). Second to say that somehow all problems in the world revolve around religion, well Communist don’t believe in religion so how is China and Vietnam not to mention Cuba or the late Soviet Union not mecca’s of enlightenment. The world is not black and white, and neither are governments or events.

  • justiceforall5

    Christianity might have had it’s violent moements in the past, but it has moved on and learnt from it. I was wondering why other religions could not follow and so, continue in futility what was already tried and experimented throughout history that this was not the way to forster good relationships with other religions. I also wonder, if God does need us to fight for Him!! For what? and why? when He can destroy this world with one breath from His nostrels if He wants. We humans are a funny lot actually and I do believe, that we always try to impose our doctrines on others only to reinforce our own beliefs that, my belief is better than yours and that we are right after all. If others don’t take heed, then something is wrong with our belief and we don’t want that as, religion gets weaker without belief and so does it’s clergy. So, force is justifiable and with force, comes indoctrination and Voila! you me in the loop.

  • gmak1011

    this article, although the writers tried to show it as a factual state-of-affairs of the mullahs in iran, in my judgment is another piece of the israelis using their propaganda machine to demonized the iranian government, with the intent of pressuring the iranians to do away with their nuclear program. israel plan to bring the middle and near east countries under its hegemony cannot be realised with these countries acquiring nuclear weapons. thus they bombed the iraqi and syrian reactors, unleashed a propaganda barrage against pakistan weapons(under the prtexes of falling in the hand of terrorists). and now it is iran turn.and for all these , the israelis mustered their paid propaganda in the western press in order to influence the public opinion without tipping their hands for their real motives.

  • flipper49

    You have to realize that when a Muslim refers to “God,” this is NOT The same God Christians worship. Islam lowers Jesus to solely human, trying to nullify His diety. Using His name doesn’t make you one of His. According to the Bible, the Muslims,in worshiping “strange gods,” are serving Satan…NOT our loving God.

  • ab3a

    As with any religion, take a fundamentalist interpretation, and the contradictions will eventually become obvious to everyone. Any major religion has significant baggage from history. Islam is no different. The text can easily be twisted and interpreted to mean just about anything. This is particularly the case among isolated, marginalized, and poorly educated populations. It is no accident that the Taliban took root in Afghanistan. Once you get a bunch of wide-eyed fanatics, they tend to spread out and recruit others from within the margins of societies. This is how cults propagate. Eventually, however, they tend to suffer from the very thing that power does to every group of people: Corruption.I wish the only the best for the Iranian people. I hope they do get rid of these thugs who wrap themselves in the cloth of religion. And after they do that, they need to be very careful not to replace them with a different set of thugs.

  • sperrico

    Of the five countries that executive homosexuals ALL five are either Islamic theocracies, or predominately Muslim.

  • ElianGonzalez

    Of course. The ayatollahs in Teheran are merely just another small group of Misunderstanders of Islam that includes Hizbullah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad (to name a few), who just “don’t get it.” And of course, we need to “rescue” Islam from them because at its core, it’s just a benign, pacifist philosophy ruined by a few bad apples.Such rubbish.

  • shahjahanbhatti1

    These Mullahs and Ayatollahs are sheer terrorists. They are true Alqaeda. They are providing weapons to Taliban against USA and Nato in Afghanistan. They are toxic for Islam. If Islam is not taken back from them now, they will destroy the whole Muslim world.

  • mascmen7

    Muhammad having no job in Medina would raid caravans and kill all the men, sell the children and women into slavery or keep some as wives as his favorite wife, Aisha was only 9 years old. Now the Islamic Republic of Iran is again copying Muhammad and killing its citizens on the streets with axes and batons. Iran supports Hezbollah and Hamas who kill innocent women and children in other nations. Their president has stolen an election. The Ayatollahs are calling for more blood. Islam is the worlds most intolerant and violent religion created by an illiterate pedophile who was suicidal as he thought he was possessed by Satan, the Devil. What do you think?

  • abby0802

    I’m sorry, Melody, Moezzi, but although I respect people to worship in their own ways, Islam is neither democratic nor humane. It is a religion that has condoned the killing of innocent people — men, women, and children. You don’t hear or read about people being up in arms in the Islamic countries about the suicide bombers, the crack down on the protestors in Iran, or jihad, or terrorists. Once in a great while someone will write an article to say how “true” Islam is not violent.Heifer dust. You are talking about a religion that treats women and children as second class citizens, that tolerates physical and sexual abuse of women and children. It’s okay in Islam to treat women and children as property to use as however men see fit to do. Men have carte blanche and can do whatever they please.I do feel sorry for the protestors in Iran and I pray for them as I applaud their courage, but you can see what the Mullahs preferred to do — crack heads, arrest people and their families, and kill — they are terrorists — just like the groups they sponsor.So, sorry, Melody Meozzi, I do not believe that Islam is “non-violent” or fair or accepting of of faiths — after all — it’s okay to kill “infidels” (those who don’t follow Islam. Iran is just an extension of a religion of intolerance.Isn’t it a pity that the 3 religions that originated out of the Middle East – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – have been responsible for so many, many wars?And each religion says it is the true religion and only it has a lock on what God, Allah, Jehovah, or whoever/whatever wants and thinks.

  • mascmen7

    Read the last book of the Bible, Apocalypse or the Book of Revelation which shows the FALSE PROPHET Muhammad being thrown into a lake of fire in hell.

  • swmuva

    Good article. Too bad we’ll probably never hear from Ms. Moezzi again, since the mullahs will issue a Rushdie-sytle fatwah against her.

  • jewishmother

    abby0802: “Muhammad…would raid caravans and kill all the men, sell the children and women into slavery or keep some as wives”You mean, like this?: “Now kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man. But keep the virgin girls for your pleasure.”

  • mostafasepahi

    She is not right at all,i don’t believe in this report which has come out by a person who doesn’t know Islam and most probably has been away from Iran for so long and somhow i m surprised in a democratic country like US are people thinking in democratic way as well? I see articles which shows that only their religion is correct, a ha,nice democracy, say and don’t hear,keep going,but prefer to talk about your own country and religion.

  • dajewell

    Why do Muslims hate and fear women as they do?David A. Jewell, Philadelphia

  • i_go_pogo

    How can a theocracy be anything other than totalitarian? In the recent election, the Supreme Leader immediately announced that the result had been ordained and blessed by Allah. What was the purpose of voting, if Allah wanted the midget to win? In the aftermath, anyone who questioned the outcome was identified by the religious authorities as a traitor to Islam. The only positive result is that the Iranian regime has no remaining credibility, anywhere in the world.

  • pb1123

    “The greatest holy book of Islam, the Qur’an, clearly teaches that there should be no compulsion in religion”, says Melody. Horsepucky, to put it mildly. The Qu’ran exhorts believers to kill unbelievers:4:101 “… For the Unbelievers are unto you open enemies.”4:89 “They but wish that ye should reject faith as they do, and thus be on the same footing as they. But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of God. But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them…”5:36 “The punishment of those who wage war against God and His apostle and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land. That is their disgrace in this world and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter.”9:5 “… fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war) …”47:4 “Therefore, when ye meet the unbelievers, smite at their necks, at length when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them) … “

  • danigo

    Beamerao is 100% correct in his/her post. There are too many stupid posts here by people who claim to have the truth on everything. The first thing to realize is that all religions are used by those in power to exert their will. So do not judge a religion, any religion, by what is done in its name. Religion should remain a private matter for those who need it as a way of explaining the mysteries of life. Period. Iranian politics has nothing to do with religion any more than does American politics.

  • qazwsx124456

    The author fabricates lies. Iranian supporters of Mosavi are not against the system of governance (Shia Islamic System) but are against the president-elect (‘Nejad). Mosavi was a major force in the revolution of 79′, so if he emerges victorious, the system will continue the way it is and will be for many years to come! Considering that the author unequivocally does not ‘celebrate’ Islamic New Year (Mawlid) but only Persian New Year, then how can she claim to be representing ‘Islam’? There are various interpretations, but castigating the so-called radical one in Iran is wrong and demeaning to millions who practice it!

  • crazy_kafir

    I know I won’t win any Post points for political correctness, but the truth of the mater is The Koran is full of hate and intolerance. It reflects the teachings of one of the most vile, hateful and evil humans that ever walked the face of the earth. It permits Muslims to lie and deceive non-Muslims. To “kill unbelievers wherever they are found”. And we see the tragic results of these teaching almost on a daily basis, carried out by true and pious believers of this sick and evil ideology.The ayatollahs, Osama, Hamas, etc. are not “hijacking” their faith. They are truly following it as intended by it’s founder. Forget about rescuing Islam. Its more like rescuing the infidel world from Islam.

  • zazizi

    greetings to all,without hesitation or reservation, as a muslim originally from south america, i fully endorse the beautiful, accurate and thoughtful comments of Melody Moezzi. her words have captured the correct sense and meaning of what islam is about–truth, justice, diversity, equality and tolerance for all.what is manifestly clear today is that the Grand Wizard, Ayatullah Ali Khameini, has now become the new Shah of Iran; the Shah was overthrown by the people and so will the tyrant mullahs and their henchmen. sincerely,

  • telesonic

    “The only Supreme Leader for any Muslim is God.”Thank you! Whenever I hear about the situation in Iran, not to mention the sectarian problems in Iraq and elsewhere, I always wonder why some Muslims seem to blindly follow these so-called holy men. It seems a kind of idolatry – something Muslims are not supposed to engage in. I hope the Iranian people will be able to overcome their superstitious awe of these self-proclaimed religious leaders and reclaim their relationship with God.

  • zebra4

    What most people don’t understand is that no religion is monolithic.When people of one culture or religion move to another land two forces of culture change come into play:(1) Invention: When people invent a new idea or artifact, it brings about change.(2) Diffusion–borowing of cultural traits or ideas from other people.When Muslims went to the Indian sub-continent they were subjected to forces of diffusion. Diffusion is never a one-way process. India had 4-fold caste system.Indian Hindus are Islamized in many respects and Indian Muslims are Hinduized in many respects.When Spaniards invaded Mexico and Latin America, they tried to convert the natives to Christianity. Today’s Mexicans and Latinos have retained many of their ancestral beliefs and practices at the same time they adopted their new faith.So, the Islam of Arabia is not identical with the Islam of Malaysia or Indonesia. There are innumerable cultural differences.Christianity of Nigeria is not identical with Christinaty of Europe or Latin America.When people treat any religion to be monolithic and express their hatred for that religion they are expressing their ignorance.One can google search the status of women in the Old Testament or any other subject, one can find numerous things that do not meet today’s standards of norms or morality.I am reading CCNL1 last sentence:”Freedom at last..”Are we really free “at last?” No, we are all prisoners of our cultures, no matter what culture.

  • TPdBLY2b

    Melody Moezzi, you haven’t read the Koran, have you?NOT MUCH TO BE PROUD OF FOR A SUPPOSEDLY RELIGIOUS TEXT

  • TPdBLY2b

    to: David A. Jewell, PhiladelphiaMUSLIMS DO NOT FEAR WOMENTHE REALITY IS THAT WOMEN ARE CHATTELS AND EXIST TO SERVE THEM AS SLAVESSIMPLE ! ALL MUSLIMS ARE “TALIBANS” OF DIFFERENT DEGREES

  • lmsharmakhurja

    Dear Sir,

  • r92531

    I have a brother now deceased that spent many years in Tehran growing to really like the Iranian people. Went hunting, dinners, outing of all kinds & felt they in

  • wbokhari

    I am amazed by the deep instinctive hatred a lot of the commentators here have about Islam. Seems like they are as crazy, fanatical and ignorant as they accuse muslims to be. I am no friend of zealots, fanatics or power-mongers of any religious persuasion, but the absurdity of their comments reaches new levels.If one were to follow their absurd reasoning, christianity is by far the most brutal and evil religion ever in human history. After all the bloodiest wars and exploitation of humanity were the result of christian powers, which resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of people in 20th century alone (World War 1 and 2). If one adds the effect of colonization and genocide of indigenous people by European powers throughout the world (including native Americans, Africans, Asians) then the number would reach hundreds of millions. And finally let us not forget that the Holocaust of WW2, Stalin’s purge and before that the Spanish Inquisition of Jews and Muslims were conducted by christians. If any religion is to be “banned” or “bashed”, let us start with christianity. By far the bloodiest ever, by a long shot.But since these commentators are ignorant of history, deeply biased and have never probably looked at the bible for its bloody passages and sick tales of all sorts, they can easily make a fool of themselves with their hate-filled comments. Why don’t we focus instead on the common good in all faiths, and on celebrating the positives, and recognizing that people of all sorts, good and bad, are born into all faiths. The world is the mess it is because of hate-filled thoughts and comments like the ones being expressed by various people here.

  • sitomer

    FATWA: The nomination concerns the letter from Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) to the people of Oman inviting them to to convert to Islam. The letter was written in 630 A.D and was conveyed to Oman’s Kings. “From Mohammed, the messenger of Allah, to Oman’s kings, Abd & Jaifer sons of Al-Julanda, I invite you to Islam, I am the Messenger of Allah to all mankind to warn whosoever lives, and that the word may be fulfilled against the disbelievers. If you submit to Islam and follow it, then you will be assigned the leader of your people, if you do not submit to Islam, then my horses will crush your Kingdom and destroy your followers, and my prophethood will spread over your kingdom. “There are no last prophets. And when it is realized that old texts have serviced the birth of new moralities, and taken us to the mountain tops once thought impossible, new texts, new visions, new progress, will need be written to venture on, to find new heights without recrimination.Then will ” These influences combine to create a unique flavor of Islam,[all religion] full of saffron and honey, sprinkled with pistachios and drowning in rose water. Nothing tastes quite like it, and nothing smells quite as sweet.”

  • AmmarYasir

    Meozzi,

  • apissedant

    There are way too many bigoted comments on this section. As several have pointed out, the Christian Bible is also filled with hatred, bigotry, and murder. No religion is free of their past, and all of us have savages in our lineage. “Jacob I loved, Esau I hated.” Quote from God. Sodom and Gamora, and of course, Noah’s Ark. The Christian God killed everyone and everything on earth except for Noah’s family. How is that not brutal, intolerant, or cruel? And never forget the Crusades! How was rape, murder, and theft a representation of Jesus?We’ve grown, and our religions have grown with us. Modern Christianity is much more tolerant and peaceful, as is modern Islam and Judaism.This was a great article about coexisting, acceptance, working together, and individual worship. The rest of you Christians intent on keeping your own brand of warship going, please remember you don’t speak for all Christians.To complain of the intolerance and bigotry of the Islamic faith while you are being intolerant and bigoted towards all Muslims is quite a disgrace to the rest of the Christians in America.

  • trenda

    TO TPdBLY2b:There is nothing inconsistent between fearing women and treating them like slaves. Both you AND David Jewell are correct.Personally, I do not understand how any MAN could allow his own daughters to be treated the way women are treated in the middle east. If I lived there and had a daughter, I would ship her overseas on the first plane out of there and wish her a good life. She would NEVER get it in THAT rat hole.

  • anon20012

    LOL…. “M E L O D Y”??? what a proud Iranian name this “expert” has. Note to Melody: Why don’t you get an Iranian name before you call yourself and expert. Kind of a hypocrite of sorts.

  • freundbd

    Does anybody ever notice that most religious leaders don’t smile? And the more they don’t smile, the harsher and more puritannical their version of God is. It is absolute insanity to follow “spiritual” leaders who have no sense of humor and no love for humanity. Yes, they attract like-minded and wounded souls to their banner, but the vast majority of people trying to find the goodness in life should throw off these jackals and let them learn from the likes of the Dalai Lama and Patch Adams. People like them should be leading the world….and us.

  • tomchapman

    Most, if not all, religions possess fundamentalist cohorts who are always intolerant of those who do not share their particular worldview. For these cohorts there is no middle ground. If you deny their views you are the enemy. Which is fine as far as it goes. People can believe what they want, however foolish it may appear to an outsider. The problems begin when adherents of this fundamentalist worldview seek and obtain political power. When this happens, the theological enemy referenced above becomes a political enemy. To the fundamentalist, these unbelievers deny not only the state, but the particular deity in question. It follows that the power of the state will, sooner or later, be used against the unbelievers because to oppose the state is to oppose the deity. The conflation of the political and the theological give us politicians who claim the blessing of the deity. When that happens, you know that someone is going to get hurt.

  • Brix

    This is however the inevitable consequence of theocracy.Power corrupts. And the power to enforce your interpretation of “the will” of God is too great to continue for any length of time without abuse. Iran is a system that is ultimately designed to fail.Hopefully it is something that civilized society will one day be able to separate from governance and politics. I’m not sure we’re headed in the right direction though. The US in particular needs to watch its own house.

  • David_FL

    It doesn’t matter the form of government, men will use any form of propaganda / force to stay in power and enrich those around themI have come to believe firmly that the top government posts that decide policy should only be allowed to have a women in that role for the next 50 yearsMen have had their turn for thousands of years. All we have for it are centers of power that challenge each other when weakness is suspectedWe need an army of men to protect the women who make policy from thugs and miscreantsIt’s our only way to a more a propersous and peaceful earth, one town, one city, one region, one country, one continent, one earth at a timeone person can make a difference

  • infantry11b4faus

    how do you save islam?

  • akhtarman

    Reading these commentators who talk about the intolerance and killing of ‘unbelievers’ is truly a pathetic experience. The Muslim world has a large Christian community- much of it backed by the West (e.g. French activities in Lebanon and British under the Colonial days). It has large Jewish communities that it accepted following the various anti-Jewish pogroms in Europe. Many Hindus live peacefully in Pakistan, unlike the Muslims, Sikhs and Untouchables of India. What has made the Muslim world tough on its minorities has been the colonial practices of the Judeo-Christian West (and back by immoral ‘Western Imperialist’ atheists like Chris Hitchens). The non-stop wars in the Middle East backed by Jewish Neocons and Right-Wing Evangelical Christians has turned the Muslim world against its Christian minorities. The fact that Christian minorities also tacitly support missionary activities and are used to spy on Muslim countries has also hurt their cause. I have never heard Muslims in Pakistan, Dubai or UAE complain or attack their Sikh minorities the way they do their Christian counterparts. Maybe the “War on Terror” that targets only Muslim peoples has something to do with it. No? Ironically enough, the sooner the West gets rid of Judeo-Christian belief system- as they have in Norway and the Scandinavian countries- the better Western-Islamic relations will be!

  • kirbir21

    I am a religious studies student and a huge human rights fighter. Islam in itself is not a violent religion. If anyone would care to learn more about the roots instead of making assumptions based on the leadership in Iran and other ‘hostile’ countries, they might see that. You can look up the history of Christianity or Judaism and see some violence as well. The Qur’an does not demand the death of anyone who does not believe. Rather, like Christianity in the middle ages, it requires that one is firm in their belief and protects themselves against others who would try to take them over. When Islam had begun, it was the best source of women’s rights in that area of the world. Compared to many countries today, those with Islamic prominence do have a heads up on rights. The burka, or head scarf, is a matter of choice not requirement. Muhammad’s wives wore head scarves in order to show respect for him and protect themselves from the other men around. Modern women who wear the burka do so out of respect for these women and Muhammad.It is my opinion that people need to analyze the history of their own religions and countries before they begin the utterly judgmental type of ‘conversation’ that I’ve seen in the comments.

  • hadi1

    ANON20012 advised Melody to change her name to an Iranian one. I think he or she does not understand the inclusive nature of “Iranian Style”. It is not a blind nationalism. Think about your language, the basic words of father, mother, brother and daughter all have origins in Persian. Being born in Chicago, claiming to be Iranian Moslem and Shia’ says a lot about Melody as a citizen of the world. However, when she says Islam Iranian Style, I read not the Islam that raised the Arab society 14 centuries ago and saved the lives of infant females, but the spirit of Quran with Shia’s Ijtehad that could suite Iranian culture which had Queens on the thrown.

  • testerling

    Do not fault the Islamic religion. Any government in history lead by religious leaders has been harsh on human rights, nondemocratic, and dismissive of nonbelievers. This includes most religions, all who have attempted this have failed in this manner.

  • res1137

    It’s amazing how many people can make erroneous statements about the Koran, who have never so much as picked up a Koran.They love to quote 9:5 in the Koran, and completely take it out of context.What the Koran is saying is to kill only in self-defense. It’s just as easy to take one or two verses Jesus said out of context, and make him sound like the devil himself.

  • Rev6

    Excuse me, what does Islam has to do with the Iranian elections?- The US polls run before the elections gave a huge lead to Ahmadinjad in the Iranian elections, it was no surprise that he won.To the Islam haters: seriously, it’s time to read the Quran in order to understand and stop being so ignorant and hateful. You either got it all wrong because you have been fed with propaganda and lies regarding this religion (Which is going on since more than 1447 years) or you are just trying to demonize this religion for some other reasons, pick up one and put yourself where you belong.

  • billy8

    At this point, its difficult to find people who are not a “disgrace” to Islam.

  • FedUpIndian

    Akhtarman says: “Many Hindus live peacefully in Pakistan, unlike the Muslims, Sikhs and Untouchables of India.”A few facts might be useful.Pakistan:India:Akhtarman: “What has made the Muslim world tough on its minorities has been the colonial practices of the Judeo-Christian West…I have never heard Muslims in Pakistan, Dubai or UAE complain or attack their Sikh minorities the way they do their Christian counterparts.” Perhaps you need to educate yourself a little: Akhtarman: “the sooner the West gets rid of Judeo-Christian belief system, the better Western-Islamic relations will be!”And the sooner Muslims get rid of their primitive 7th century Bedouin beliefs, the better their relations with the rest of the human race will be.

  • jimeglrd8

    Several of the comments have said that Islam is not a violent religion. Most religions are violent and intolerant and Islam is particularly violent and intolerant.

  • hyjanks

    Under the heading of religious disciples making their religion or holy book be, do or say anything they want it to be, say or do (something all mainline religions have in common), I would encourage those who have branded the Muslim faith as strictly or mainly a peaceful religion to check out pages 118 through 123 in Harris’ book, The End of Faith.”God’s curse be upon the infidel” (2:89). “But the infidels who die unbelievers shall incur the curse of God, the angels, and all men. Under it they shall remain forever; their punishment shall not be lightened, nor shall they be reprieved” (2:162). “Those who deny God’s revelations shall be sternly punished; God is mighty and capable of revenge” (3:5).Now, the author of this essay and some of the supporters of same can say all this is allegory or some sort of symbolism that alludes to different interpretations of what is written. But, I haves to tell you, THIS critic would answer by saying that such naysayers of those of us who understand the interpretation of the pages of the Koran into the King’s English of this vicious, hateful tripe would have to be convinced by the greatest Muslim bull bleeper in the history of mankind to accept any interpretation other than what has been obviously said and written.

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