Leaving Islam



The West Must Support the Iranian People



By Amber Pawlik

Most Westerners know very little about the psyche of the Iranian population.  Those who think they do are usually nothing more than elitist leftists who are projecting what they want to believe about Iranians unto the Iranians.


I’ve gotten into many debates with leftist elitists who insist that the Iranian population is Muslim.  I was on the phone with a man (who sympathizes largely with communist theory), and I brought up Iran.  The first thing he said to me was, “They are Muslim.”  Although he asserted that they are Muslim, he in fact revealed the opposite.  The fact that as I brought up the Iranian people, he immediately defended the notion that they are Muslim proves that the issue is debatable.


Those insisting the Iranians are Muslim are leftists who fundamentally need to believe that the entire rest of the world is Muslim.  They are of the naïve belief that people everywhere would just like a kinder, gentler version of Islam.  They are wrong.  Many people around the world, especially in Iran, are not Muslim and in fact hate it.


It’s time to shed light on the secular psyche of the Iranians.  Ever since my work on Shirin Ebadi, I’ve been in contact with several Iranians from around the world – including phone contact with an Iranian living in Tehran.  Let me tell you what they have told me.


I’ll tell you about my first phone conversation with my friend in Tehran.  I said to him at the end of the conversation, “I hope and pray that Iran is free someday so I can safely visit you.”  He said to me, “Don’t pray.  Praying gets us nowhere and got us into this mess.”


Just today (Thursday Dec 4, 2003), four popular fast food restaurants were shut down in Tehran, Iran because the Iranian youth at the restaurants were behaving in ways that were “un-Islamic.” 


Young women, in particular, have incurred the wrath of hardliner's authorities by wearing make-up, short coats and colorful scarves pushed back to expose as much hair as possible instead of the head-to-toe black chadors deemed necessary by the country's ruling clerics to protect a woman's modesty.”


The Iranian youth purposely violate Islamic law in favor of going to fast food places to mingle with the opposite sex and let their hair down.  Do they sound Muslim to you?


Most are shocked to learn that Iran, which is a theocracy, is made up of a population that is not Muslim.  Surely a government that is the most vigorous theocracy in the Middle East would be filled with Muslims.  But it is the exact opposite.  The more un-Islamic the people are, the more insistent those who want to create an all Islamic society are in forcing Islam upon them. 


It was the Iranians, not any other country in the Middle East, who did not only cheer on 9-11, but in fact have come to support the Americans.  The Iranians favor the West and Western ideals in more ways than one. 


For centuries, there has been a battle between reactionary mullahs and ancient Persian heritage.  The mullahs are doing every thing they can to force their culture down upon the Iranians.  As an example, the mullahs have banned parents from naming their children ancient Iranians names and instead force Arabic names on the children.   


It is difficult to tell how many Iranians actually support Islam because leaving Islam is punishable by death inside the Islamic Republic. But every indication tells us that a large portion of Iran's youth does not identify itself as Muslim.  If the emails pouring into me are any indication, they tell me the Iranian people see Islam and its laws as a source of oppression and sexual apartheid.  And even though as Iranian they may consider themselves Muslim, they still consider themselves Iranian first and Muslim second.   


If you want to see the secular psyche of Iranians, you really have to do little research on the internet to find it.  You will find many Iranians who are downright hostile to Islam itself, with its advocacy of decapitations and floggings; Iranians who openly say they see no compatibility between Islam and human rights; or even Muslim Iranians, like Ebadi, who call for an ending of such Shariah-based laws like public stoning.  Among the Iranian people, you would be hard pressed to find someone who wants to keep the government as it is.  They do not want a milder version of what exists (everyone except Ebadi that is).  They want a fundamental regime change.  And, I’d like to add – they would like a government minus religion.


The Iranian government poses the biggest threat to the United States and the Iranian people hold the biggest potential for setting up a stable democracy in the Middle East.  It is where we should turn our attention to next.  We should be focused on empowering the Iranian people.  They need our support in every possible way – including moral and military support. 


The Iranian population is incredibly young.  This means they are willing to fight but lack leadership.  The West needs to provide it.  The thugs working for the mullahs would turn their back on the government and support the people if only the people showed clearly that they will support them 100%.  However, many Iranians are still waiting for a Messiah.  This should stop.  They need to know fundamental regime change is, ultimately, in their hands and their hands alone.  The Iranian people need a whirlwind of support – a gusto – a fire under their wings to once and for all topple the Ayatollahs.  It should be quick, drastic and therefore – relatively painless. 


They are in dire need of our support.  If most Western people understood the situation in Iran, there is little doubt in my mind that Westerners would support the Iranian people – which means, toppling the Iranian government. 


The reason why America as a whole is hesitant to support others around the world is largely due to our corrupt intellectual leadership.  Our universities, media, etc. is filled with anti-capitalist, anti-American dirtbags.  I was in fact told by one leftist that we should be “cautious” about endorsing a free, capitalist society in the Middle East.  He said, "I think it would be fine if civil society controlled the middle east, but I'm afraid it would turn into another stifling petite bourgeoisie modeled after the West."


I would like to take his concern to the Iranian people.  Let them choose:  a theocracy which stones its women for committing adultery or – oh the horror – a system with a middle class. 


Leftists are reprehensible.  They are Khatami apologists, insisting Iranians would like to just work with the system.  A large part of the reason they won’t support Iranians is because it makes their complaints look petty.  Western intellectuals complain the capitalist system victimizes people – Americans simply can’t turn down Big Macs at McDonald’s or Hershey bars at the supermarket.  Meanwhile, in Iran, virginal women are raped before they are executed so they don’t die virgins – because according to an Islamic tradition, virgins will not go to hell. Regardless of what political-economic system is ultimately set up in Iran or elsewhere, one thing is for sure:  it will be far better than what exists now. 


I am addressing you – a Western person, especially those on college campuses.  Tell everyone you know about the Iranian peoples’ struggle.  Write letters.  Send this article to your friends.  Get the word out.  I believe it is in the heart of every American to see people around the world enjoy the freedoms we do. This will also ensure peace within our own borders. 







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