Radio Four’s Analysis programme had a fascinating look at the religious debate occuring within Iran. The programme does not fit the views of those who think Iran is a monolithic Islamic threat. Nor does it concur with the the views of those who support the Iranian regime as the true expression of the Iranian people. The programme notes the effect the violence meted out on protestors has had:
There was one cleric said in a tape that turned up on Youtube actually and he was a hard-liner and he said I am saddened to tell you that one minister came and told me that his daughter no longer prays and he said, “this is a fiasco”. And the reason she no longer prays is because of the post election violence, you know they said they were doing this in the name of Islam and people couldn’t believe it. And I always say to people – the events over the summer should be seen as two distinct events: the election fraud (or not, whichever you want to look at it) and then the post electoral violence is less disputable – people have seen it. And I think for a lot of people it shocked them in a way that they never understood. You know, they always knew people would say this lot are quite vicious. But to actually see it in the streets was something else. And I think it turned a lot of people off. And they said this is not the Islam that we wanted.
The extent to which President Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei are out on a limb is made clear. Ahmadinejad’s minority cultist view of Shia Islam has led to massive levels of clerical rebellion (there are more clerics in jail than intellectuals).
The way in which Ahmadinejad and his cabal are moving ahead and some of the arguments are being put forward have been so shocking to a lot of mainstream clerics – many of whom are not liberals, by the way, I mean they’re just mainstream Shi’a clerics, is to just say this is an absurdity. I mean when the leading ideologue of the hard-line faction – Ayatollah Misbah Yazdi – makes the extraordinary statement that obedience to Ahmadinejad is the equivalence to obedience to God, you can see that it causes a certain amount of shock waves in the system. They say this is bordering on idolatry. In a sense the opposition has crossed over and taken the battle into the hard-line terrain. They’ve actually gone into there and said what you’re doing is blasphemous.
Read Potkin on the 7 Causes of Forgetfulness