Monday, December 27, 2004

Iran - Islam fails

The LA Times reports on Islam's failure in Iran.

As their government squares off against the West and vague rumors of outside intervention run in the streets, the youth of Tehran move through the months as if dreaming, passing moodily from pop culture to Persian traditions, groping for their place in the world. Conversations with dozens of young adults in Tehran painted an overwhelming picture of a generation lost, disaffected and stained by longing.

The west is blamed for rise in Islamic terrorism and the root cause identified as rising "unemployment, widespread drug addiction and gnawing religious disillusionment." It would seem Islam is not the answer to these same problems.

A quarter of a century ago, Iran's fiery youth drove a revolution in the name of Islam and anti-imperialism. But those students grew up, and their zeal faded as they softened into graying bureaucrats. The babies they birthed en masse at the feverish urging of the clergy have inherited a legacy of double-digit unemployment, widespread drug addiction and gnawing religious disillusionment.

What is Islam's answer to the problems in Iran? Blame Israel, the US and get a nuclear weapon as fast as they can. As if Israel and the US created their problems and the bomb will solve them.

Despite all the praises heaped on it, in Iran, and indeed in most countries, Islam continues to fail to live up to its' reputation as the "religion of peace".

We should not be surprised at what has happened in Iran, given what they were promised by Khomeini.

Khomeini led the 1979 Iranian revolution that overthrew the corrupt shah and replaced the government with a brutal Islamic theocracy that today is locked in battle with reformers seeking to end a quarter century of repression. Khomeini preached worldwide violent Islamic revolution, thundering that "those who study Islamic Holy War will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world."

"Why do you only read the Quranic verses of mercy and do not read the verses of killing?" Khomeini challenged fellow clerics in a 1981 speech. "Qu'ran says: kill, imprison! Why are you only clinging to the part that talks about mercy? Mercy is against God." The tyrant also exhorted his followers to "kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all."

This is what Khomeini delivered.

And this is the result.

This apathetic, youthful mass is a powerful, albeit untapped, force: Three-quarters of the population is younger than 35. They are enough to shape an election; in a truly representative system, they would decide their government.

If they had a free press and news media there might be another revolution and they could take heart from what is happening in the Ukraine.

Ukraine opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko has won the re-run of Sunday's presidential election, election officials have said.

Whatever the answer to their problems is, Islam, at least as practiced in Iran, doesn't seem to be it.

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