Leaving Islam




Conservative Moral Cowardice:  The Standard’s Story on Ebadi



By Amber Pawlik

Ever since my work on Shirin Ebadi, I was hoping I could lay back and watch someone, somewhere do something regarding this situation.  My work has been meager, but many human rights organizations and Iranian Americans themselves have been saying the same things I have about Shirin Ebadi.  My hope was, with time to examine the issue, some conservatives would start to doubt socialist Europe tactics with the Peace Prize, question Ebadi’s endorsement of Islam, and start to push for a revolution, not reform in Iran.


Well, the conservative Weekly Standard did finally get around to giving the story attention.  They were, of course, completely wrong.


From their online interview, it appears they simply ran an interview with Shirin Ebadi herself, giving her the complete platform with little doubt cast upon her.  For my audience at mensnewsdaily.com, I believe the following quote will be most telling regarding Shirin Ebadi. 


Some feminist circles have hailed you as one of their own. What is your reaction?

The problem that women face in Muslim societies is not because of religion. It is a result of the patriarchal culture.


There you have it. Women aren't decapitated for warding off a rapist because of the text of the Koran. It's because of men!


I really just can’t understand how feminism managed to get exported to this country so effectively.  Ebadi has feminist language down pat and everything. 


Well, let me tell you something.  There is nothing the Iranian men would like better than to see their women freed from these inhumane laws directed at women (and are directed at men too).  And they all know:  the problem isn’t some male desire to oppress women, as feminists would have you believe (and somehow, Ebadi believes).  It is because of Islam. 


The rest of the interview is nothing but a cowardly move on the Standard’s part – allowing Shirin Ebadi to have a platform, and spread her propaganda.  No investigation was done on the issue.  The reader was given very little background on the issue.  No other Iranians were interviewed, and it ended with such hardball questions as “Do you cook for your family, and, if yes, do they like your cooking?”


The Weekly Standard prefaced their article with this,


With the exception of the hardline Khomeinists who have branded her ‘an enemy of Islam,’ Ebadi has won praise from virtually all Iranians--from left to right.”


Well, of course Iranians are in support of her.  First of all, most there have their life threatened just for criticizing Islam.  One Iranian describes:


“You do not have to be Einstein to see that in Iran under the mullahs. You have no freedom of personal views and if you publicly say something, then your body will rot in some unknown ditch.”


Thus, being able to see anyone criticize Islam is a breath of fresh air to them, hence many Iranians do in fact support her.  But, also, anyone who said what is really on their mind regarding Ebadi would likely be imprisoned or killed.


And, in fact, many Iranians do doubt Ebadi.  And not because she is an enemy of Islam, but because she endorses Islam.  A brief tour of Iranian.com paints a different picture of the Iranian people’s reaction.  From Ayatollah Ebadi: 

“Let me make it clear that as an Iranian I am very proud to see an Iranian woman become not only the first Iranian Nobel Laureate but also the first Muslim woman to receive this honor. But I have to admit that I am extremely disappointed by her views.

In a round table with BBC, she made several disturbing remarks. First was her emphasis on the possibility of reconciling human rights with Islamic fegh (jurisprudence).”

Another Iranian is explicit in his letter to the editor:

“This is the beginning of what I have been thinking and feared to come true since Ms. Shirin Ebadi received the Nobel Peace Prize - the new trump card for the reformist mullahs to keep their power and hold on the people of Iran.”

As I’ve said before, I’ve received many emails in support of my work on Ebadi from Iranians themselves.  In short, I believe she is in fact a tool for the Ayatollah government, meant to pacify the Iranians against complete rebellion.  This message has also made a major appearance on Iranian American media. 

It sincerely blows my mind the weak position conservatives have taken on Shirin Ebadi.  First of all, one would think that conservatives would know to doubt the Nobel Peace Prize, especially since just last year it was given to Jimmy Carter.  But, like dopes, they are willing to give the Prize moral authority.

Second, one would think conservatives would cast doubt on Europeans insistence on using “soft tactics” in advocating reform in Iran.  Europeans – all insanely scared of war – have every desire to pacify the rebels in Iran.  They believe only so-called democratic, non-violent methods will bring peace. 

Finally, one would think the Judeo-Christian right would take a stronger position against Islam.  Ebadi is insistent on preserving the image of Islam.  If the Weekly Standard were more professional and inquisitive in their story on Ebadi, they would know the overwhelming majority of Iranians are not even Muslim.  Most will say they are, but less than 15% even practice daily prayers.  And most are quite upset that she believes Islam and human rights are compatible.The Iranian people don’t even want Islam.  But the Judeo-Christian right, who should not support Islam, are supporting Ebadi, and thus affirming the evil religion of Islam.

I believe conservatives are simply moral cowards.  Lacking in intellectual morals and principles, they have to default to what others are doing.  As such, they string along like puppets to Europe’s lead.  They think Ebadi is someone the left would like.  She is advocating feminist ideals.  She is affirming Islam.  She is advocating reform, not rebellion.  Therefore, conservatives believe leftists will like her, and they just endorse her.  You know, to be popular.

Meanwhile, true liberals don’t even like her.  They don’t like her support of Islam in particular.  They know it has oppressed the Iranian people for centuries.  They want to see the Iranian people free, therefore question Ebadi. 

The Iranian people are truly different than any other culture in 3rd world countries.  That’s because they are a culture that wants to skyrocket themselves to a prosperous nation. Dariush Homayoun explains:

Anybody can see the thirst of the people for things Western. We are in the process of a spiritual exodus. I am sure of seeing the full fruition of this idea. As a nation, Iranians want progress. That desire for the best and most comfortable distinguishes Iranians from most Third World societies. There is a longing to get away from a failed world, which is drowning before our eyes.” 

This is exactly why the United States should have an interest in Iran.  If there is any hope for a prosperous, democratic nation, it is in Iran.  The people fundamentally support Western ideals. If Bush thinks a democratic nation can be accomplished in Iraq – where the people have been fed anti-West propaganda ever since they were born – he is insane. 

If you are looking for leadership, moral integrity, and ideals, don’t look to the conservatives.  They sold you out a long time ago. 






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