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A Threat To Humankind 
Political Islam VS. Secularism

 

By Azar Majedi  

'Islam against Islam' is an interesting topic. The irony of a believer criticising the beliefs is provocative. I am not a Moslem; I am an atheist. However, I have lived Islam; I have firsthand experience of Islam. I was born within a religious conflict: a religious mother and an atheist father. From childhood, I began to see the flaws, the restrictions, the misogyny, the backwardness, the dogma, the superstition, and uncritical nature of Islam vis--vis the enlightenment, the freethinking spirit of atheist thinking.

I became an atheist at the age of 12.

The establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran after a failed revolution laid bare many other appalling and cruel dimensions of Islam, which we later came to label political Islam. It was not only dogma or superstition anymore. It was torture, summary executions, stonings, amputations, and the rape of 9-year-olds in the name of marriage. Another face of Islam? Perhaps. But a real one. Millions in Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Nigeria, and Iraq are experiencing this true face of Islam daily.

With the coming to power of the Islamic Republic in Iran, we began to witness a revival of the Islamic movement as a political movement, i.e. the emergence of political Islam. I prefer not to talk about this movement as fundamentalism, but rather political Islam. We are talking here about a contemporary political movement which refers to Islam as its ideological framework and vision. It is not necessarily a doctrinaire and scholastic movement, but it embodies different and varied trends of Islamic tendencies. It is a political movement seeking hegemony and a share of power in the Middle East, North Africa and in Islamist communities.

This movement embodies Islamists who hypocritically defend freedom of clothing, so as to oppose the banning of veils in schools and for under-aged girls in their fight against the secularisation of society in the West, and those in Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and Algeria who throw acid at unveiled women, slash them with knives and razors, and who flog them for not observing veiling. They are part and parcel of one movement. This movement is a threat to humankind. It is a movement, against which all freedom loving, equality seeking human beings must take a firm and uncompromising position.

'Islam against Islam' may imply finding ways and means to reform Islam, to resort to so-called more moderate interpretations of Islam. As a personal, private belief this may be possible, but as a political movement it is not. The movement which has terrorised the world, we are experiencing today, and which we have become firsthand victims of, is incapable of reform.

We are dealing with a political movement which resorts to terror as the main means of achieving power. My experience in Iran explicitly shows that the only way to deal with this movement is to relegate it into the private spheres, eradicate it from the state, education and societal sphere. To do this, we need to build a strong movement both in the region and worldwide.

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