By Majid Sadeghpour
This week, we witnessed in horror and sadness as innocent Parisians were killed in cold blood by Islamic fundamentalists. Our hearts and prayers are with the French people. The Iranian people understand the sense of confusion, betrayal, disgust, anger, and utter disbelief at these moments and share in the grief. Iranian people too have for 37 years been suffering similar violence and terror under the reign of religious zealots whose regime is the Godfather of ISIS and like.
There are many ways with which one can attempt to decipher such incredibly senseless expressions of inhumanity. Criminal, medieval, inhumane, and violent are just a few.
“Cloak” though, is perhaps the proverbial word that aptly describes the cowardly world of Islamic fundamentalism. The masks these criminals use to assassinate the innocent are sadly not their only form of cover.
Fundamentalism under the name of Islam has nothing to do with religion at all, whether it is disguised as Shiite extremism and religious tyranny of velayat-e faqih (clerical rule in Iran) or under the cause of Sunni extremism represented by Daesh (or ISIS).
These entities and their crimes have nothing to do with Islam. Indeed, such medieval frame of mind as well as the forms of terror it manifests (i.e. in public murder of protesters in Tehran, barrel bombing of civilians in Syria, or gunning down of innocent Parisians) is the enemy of peace and mankind everywhere. In fact, Syrian regime and its primary sponsor in the fundamentalist regime ruling Iran are the main source of social and political backing for groups like ISIS. As long as dictatorships continue to rule Damascus and Tehran, ISIS will not only survive but also thrive, and further export its bloodbath beyond the Middle East.
Addressing medieval interpretation of Islam requires a determined effort to unmask religious tyranny. Liberal democracies of the West would be served best to recognize and support an equally present renaissance underway in democratic/secular Islamic thought – in Iran, the broader Middle East and beyond.
Dr. Sadeghpour is Political Director for Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIACUS)