Encounter with a client


by divaneh

Few days ago, I went to see a new Pakistani client. My initial plan was to visit him last Friday, which I had to change once he informed me that he would be attending the Friday prayers and therefore would not be available. I should have guessed it, as most of my Asian and Arab Muslim clients seem to attend the Friday prayers with such fervour that I have only witnessed in Iran at the time of the last revolution.

I arrived in his office and as usual there were a few members of the family who seem to have nothing else but to hang around in relatives’ work places and drink tea all day. After some discussion about the work, the very familiar, never-failed-to-ask question came.

- Brother, which country are you from?

- I am Iranian.

To which the never-failing-answer came.

- Ha, Ha, Ha, I had guessed. Iran is a very strong country

- Thanks.

Then it’s time for the next common question.

- What do you think about Ahmadinejad?

- He is a dictator who has stolen the election.

And then comes the next common statement.

- No, he is a great man. That little man is standing up to the west and Israel. I wish we had few more people like him in power in Islamic countries.

- I just told you, he is a dictator.

- Believe me; we need dictators in our countries.

It is just unbelievable how many times I have heard that statement too from people of under developed countries. People who enjoy all benefits of their democratic, secular host countries, and prescribe dictatorship for other people. It makes me think that Ahmadinejad would have won a landslide for sure if all Muslims from poor countries could have participated in Iranian election. That is to recognise the fact that he has a reverse image in rich Sheikhdoms and less popularity in some other Muslim nations.

- Yes, but he is still not elected by our people, and we do not wish to stand up to the west. We would prefer to work with them.

- No these bastards only know one language. You have to stand up to the bastards.

That is why. He revives the lost pride of these people who blame their backwardness on west and foreign influence. He is nothing but hot air. He has done nothing for Palestinians but to divide them. He is doing the same to the whole Muslim world. But yet, that hot air warms up the hearts of those who feel ashamed of their inabilities to help their Muslim brothers in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and other places. They leave their dictator ridden countries for a prosperous life in a free society that even allows them to pray for the death of its own soldiers in its streets. They may be equal to everyone else in the society, but they feel victimised because Gaza is raided. It’s not because of the justice and human rights for the Gazans, no, it’s because they are Muslims. No other human suffering seems to worry them too much. Then one realizes that it is only because it is a battle, a race, a match between Muslims and non-Muslims, just like when your football team plays against another club. Ahmadinejad is the man who chants here we go, here we go, here we go.

- Yes, but even if we want to stand up to them we would like our elected president to do so.

He shows his disapproval in the shape of his lips and proclaims.

- The other bloke is a soft man

- That soft man was our prime minister for eight years during the Iran-Iraq war.

The shape of his lips change and he replies with his eyebrows raised to his hair line.

- I didn’t know that.

And then he shakes his head up and down to signal the settlement of this new knowledge. He is now happy. Another strong Muslim leader. He, and all those who go to his mosque don’t care about human rights, modern laws, world order or anything else but Islam and their shattered pride.  What they hear is not the cries of freedom of the Iranian nation, but the mosque’s preacher praising the Ahmadinejad. The man who is going to heal the pain of their embarrassment.


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more from divaneh

Divaneh, dodging once again?

by Q on

I don't understand, why you keep jumping off the topic and not continue a line of discussion. Is it because you think you would contradict yourelf? I asked you a simple question. How many Muslims do you know who tried to kill you for being atheist?

You call this "arguing for arguments sake". This is something I have heard frequently from people who are just unable to continue a rational discussion. If that's what you want, just say so.

It doesn't matter. None of your Muslim friends, including the ones you call "true believers" like your client want to kill you. You can now breathe easier!

This is important because it contrasts what you claim you know about Muslims (or "true believers") and reality.

My claim that the punishment for me as a non-believe in Allah is death and any real Muslim must wish it on me, stands true

No, not really. That is not a true statement. You seemed to have missed the entire discussion on time/place revelations. These are the same for many religions. It's funny because I thought you did acknowledge that part. But here, you pretend you haven't heard it.

Actually no one, not one person has ever been executed by the IRI for simply being a "non believer". The stoning laws existed for a long time and have been applied very rarely. I do not approve of them and neither do most Iranians. There is a moritorium on them now.

Just because some religiously inspired laws may be still active in some places (which they are in many), doesn't mean that objectively "that's your punishment" in Islam.

Uganda was recently in the news for a law saying homosexuality is punishable by death. Does that make it representative of "Christianity" ? Just that one fact alone means "Christians kill homos" ? And more importantly do you accuse them of this, like you so easily accuse muslims of it?

If you think I have hurled insult at the client, then please cut the empty words and bring up the insulting comment.

I think this, and I did say so in my first comment in your blog. Remember you just got done criticizing me for putting "labels" on you. Don't switch gears now and tell me that I'm not speaking clearly enough.

Your words are belitteling, stereotyping and insulting both your clients and Muslims with baseless generalizations that you hold. Among these are that:

- Muslims are violent people
- Muslims don't care about human rights
- Muslims want to kill atheists
- Muslims don't really care about Palestinians
- Muslims are psychologically screwed up people that gravitate toward autocrats to gain "pride".

The fact that I do not approve of any religion and speak against Islam in this blog, does not mean I do not speak against the rest.

Honestly, have you written something similar to this ever about any other religion? Have you wondered about the "fervour" of your Christian and Jewish clients? Have you ever just blanket said:

"He, and all those who go to his Church don’t care about human rights, modern laws, world order or anything else but Christianity"

If you have, I stand corrected and apologize to you on this point. If you have not, then you must agree that you are being biased against (that is leaning more toward criticizing) Islam. Just like you say that Muslism never critize crimes against non-muslims (when some obviously do).

This is consistent with what you yourself worte about why you "target" Islam:

It is however the Islam and its outdated rules that is destroying my country and that is why it is the target of my criticism.

You say:
I argued that the true believers put the Islam before human rights

Yes, that is what you said about your client. Moreover what you said to me was:

I do not believe in any religion and respect your right to believe in any faith that you choose. You would like me killed for not believing in God. Now who is the hater?

So, you think (me) and other people calling themselves "true believers" would like to kill you. I wanted to verify this with facts and logic. So I asked you how many Muslims do you know. I meant "true believers". You said you knew a lot of people.

So the question now is given that there are some Muslims that are clearly not putting these ancient rules above "human rights", then we logically can conclude one of 2 things:


A. You don't actually know any "true believers" and the ones you do are either "secular" or something else, including your client.

B. Your ideas about what true-believers follow and act like are grossly mistaken.

Note that if your answer is A, then you really don't knwo what you're talking about. Since you have never experienced "true believers".

If your answer is B, then you might want to re-examine the things you seemlessly attribute to Muslims when in reality it's not so.

For example:

It’s not because of the justice and human rights for the Gazans, no, it’s because they are Muslims. No other human suffering seems to worry them too much. Then one realizes that it is only because it is a battle, a race, a match between Muslims and non-Muslims, just like when your football team plays against another club.

I hope this is clear and logical enough for you.


Thanks for your comments.

by divaneh on

Dear MM: I hope you are right. I think after all it was a constructive debate and am grateful to everyone who contributed to the debate.

Maziar Jaan: You always have the last word. I still haven't had the chance to get high on oregano, but soon.

Hamsadeh Aziz: You are right about some of them, but some he answered. He obviously didn't judge me very highly, but I think part of it was his hit-the-messenger debating techniques.

Dear Arash: Thank you for your generous comment. Is it not amazing that all dictators have the same fate. I also remember that prior to attacking Iraq in 1990, the west had ranked the Iraq army the 4th largest army in the world and even Iraqis had believed it and one of them was arguing with me that they were indeed the 4th strongest (They could not even be the 4th largest, never mind strongest). Of course it was nothing but justification for unleashing the most brutal force on them. I don’t know if there is another lesson in that for us. 

Arash Monzavi-Kia

very nice and deep story

by Arash Monzavi-Kia on

20 years ago, I had a very similar dialogue with an Asian Muslim, except that the "beloved dictator" was Saddam!

hamsade ghadimi


by hamsade ghadimi on

q may not have answered any of your questions or questions that  other persons have asked him.  but i found out that he thinks you're arrogant and a hypocrite and on top of it you like to resort to name-calling! or were all those accusations freudian slips?

maziar 58

conclusion ?

by maziar 58 on

Islam is maybe the BEST

But muslims (close minded one) are the WORST.          Maziar


Q, and Divaneh

by MM on


Which one of the *s in my last comment don't you agree with? I need a clear yes or no to each one please.  Thanks.


He probably will not see it in his heart to do so, although his mind says yes.


You may be right MM

by divaneh on

But I have not come across a single condemnation of IRI in Q's comments. There may have been some but I have not come across any. This blog could have been a good place for condemning IRI for trying to force archaic rules on the society, but that has not happened either.


You argue for the sake of arguing Q

by divaneh on

I have to admit that I am getting a little frustrated with your no-logic and meaningless arguments. You conclude orange from apples just in the same way that you wish to introduce the black as white.

My claim that the punishment for me as a non-believe in Allah is death and any real Muslim must wish it on me, stands true. Now, that old rule can still get you killed in an IRI court. Do you deny that? Do you deny that you can get killed by stoning for having sex? Do you deny that Islam encourage discrimination? I have stressed again and again that the Muslims in discussion here are the conservative Islam Naab Mohammady Muslims. Nothing to do with the secular Muslims.

If you think I have hurled insult at the client, then please cut the empty words and bring up the insulting comment.

The fact that I do not approve of any religion and speak against Islam in this blog, does not mean I do not speak against the rest. 

I argued that the true believers put the Islam before human rights and have proved with your admission that inhumane old rules are not for new societies and those who wish to rigidly stick to those are forces of backwardness.

Most important Q, my opposition is not to the world Islam, but to a set of discriminatory and barbaric rules. Christianity made its damages and was forced to lose the power to secular forces and change its nature. The same thing will happen to Islam and then we end up with a religion whose only common point with the original religion is its name.


MM, OK, I give up! LOL

by Q on


Since I've been having these debates much longer than 10 weeks, I have to strongly suspect you are one of the fake people I previously encountered now under a new fake personality fishing for questions from public individuals.

If so, I'm disappointed. Apparently in all this time of watching and "waiting" for me, you missed the fact that I do not respond to accusatory and belitteling interrorgations and I have advised many other people to do the same.

If at some point in the future I respect you enough to want to discuss the finer points of philosophy with you, I'll let you know.

Until then, keep waiting.

Yes, just to be clear: you are free to go on making childish accusations and hold whatever assumptioins you feel like concocting about me and my life, which I sincerely doubt would have changed anyway had I wanted to have a discussion with you.


give it up, Q - come out of the closet

by MM on

I have been waiting to see what your core beliefs are, but you have not said so.  Nonetheless, based on your blogs that I have followed, let me tell you what I have gathered and tell me if I am wrong:

From what I see, you are what my dear relative calls "mosalmaan" versus the idiots running the country which my relative calls "eslaami".

You are sitting on the boundary suffering and regretting about what is going on in Iran and yet telling us Islam is good, Islam conquered with love, Islam was merciful or whatever, desperately trying to divert attention from the atrocities occurring in Iran in the name of God, as we speak. 

You dearly hang on to your Shia teachings, but at heart you know that the current Islamists have plundered the country and committed atrocities.   And, you are suffering because of it, but you just can not let go of the concept of VF.  And yet, deep inside, you vie for freedom.

If so, come out of the closet, and specifically say that:

* you believe in democracy

* the concept of velayate Faghih does not work, and in the next government, you would like to see separation of religion and politics (although, you still think that may be somehow they could mix).

* in the next government, you would like to see the implementation of the charter of human rights.


Think of it as analogous to a catholic confession when he goes to church on a sunday.


You frequently mistake things, I'm trying to make a point

by Q on

I do not believe in God and almost everyone that I know is Muslim.

OK. Now please indulge me: How many of the people you know have ever tried to kill you for being atheist?

I don't want to get off topic, by the way but you have hurled many insults to your client, just perhaps not to his face. I'm not sure why you find insults done behind someone's back more honorable.

I am not anti Islam, nor have any love for Christianity or Jewism or any other Abrahamic or non-Abrahamic religion. It is however the Islam and its outdated rules that is destroying my country and that is why it is the target of my criticism.

Thank you for validating one of my original points which was that you speak against Islam because of your personal bias (you may called it "what islam has done to MY country" , but of course that's only your opinion, hence the most accurate term for it is "personal").

Second, it seems just like the Muslism that you criticize (about not speaking on Burma), you too seem only concerned about one religion. As you yourself admit, you have no "love" for other religions, but you "target" Islam.

It seems you are unwilling to extend the same courtesy to your own "targets" that you are now using yourself: (like someone may be bothered by injustice everywhere in the world but because of cultural ties speaks mainly against Palestinian injustice). In the case of the Muslim you take the silence that you perceive as proof that Muslims must not care about injustices to non-muslim. But when it comes to yourself, it's just that you "target" one thing over another.

Do you see how someone might call that hypocrisy?


I take it as an admission

by divaneh on

Dear Q, I have not dodged your question? I do not believe in God and almost everyone that I know is Muslim. I still do not understand its relevance to the subject.

I understand from your comment that you agree with me that these old Islamic rules cannot form the rules of conduct for any new society. I am not anti Islam, nor have any love for Christianity or Jewism or any other Abrahamic or non-Abrahamic religion. It is however the Islam and its outdated rules that is destroying my country and that is why it is the target of my criticism. I think any doctrine that is based on unquestionable rules is dangerous and Islam is one of them.

Unlike the accusations that I have received from you, I have not hurled insult at my client, you or any other person. I have just tried to highlight the fallacy of a belief system which is discriminatory and at odds with the standards of our time. If religion was made a private matter for people, instead of a tool for suppression, there would never be a need for any of these discussions. 


Divaneh jan, I'm trying!!!

by Q on

I asked you a question first. How many Muslims do you really know? Is there a reason you are dodging this?

Koran has many passages of compassion and mercy. Stories about Mohammad being merciful to his enemies, including "infidels" have been repeated even by American founding fathers.

Many of your questions can apply to ANY religion. Where has Christiany "preached equality" between men and women? Where has Buddhism or Judaism?
As a matter of fact, given the standards of the TIME, Islam protected MORE right for women than had existed before Islam in the area. This is a classic fallacy of trying to apply 21st century notion of "equality" to ancient religions.

If you want to be literal about the Christian and Jewish bibles, you would have much more problematic passages, including killing infidels, slavery, rape and murder of non-believers. Are you outraged by any of that at all, or is it just Islam? And if so, you have to ask yourself why.

The hypocrisy comes in when you ONLY lay the thick patronizing arrogance with people like your client, not "church-going" Christians and Jews in your life. All these passages have been revealed for the people of a certain time and place, most Muslims value the lessons and the metaphors of Koran, not the literal word-for-word "law". EVEN the IRI doesn't take it literally.

I find it truly hillarious that someone who clearly rejects Islam appoints himself the juddge of what "true" Muslims "should" believe. Not only have you decided Islam is for "murderers" (and all the other insulting under-handed stereotypes you hurled at your client behind his back), but you also think you know better than Muslims what their own religion is all about.

Can you even fathom the arrogance in that line of thought?


Please teach me Q

by divaneh on

OK, you are right. I know nothing about Islam. So please teach me and help me to learn:

1. Where in Islam it has declared equal rights for Muslims and non-Muslims?

2. Where has it preached the equality between men and women?

3. What is the punishment for those who do not believe in Allah?

4. What is the punishment for a Muslim who changes his/her religion?

5. Please explain the concept of Ghanimat. Are women and children part of the bounty?

Please answer the questions Q, please answer the questions.


Thanks for your comments

by divaneh on

Maziar Jaan: Sorry for the confusion. I think I was getting paranoid because labels in IC are rampant. Mixing oregano with tobacco? Man you are a genius. I have to try that. I only used it for Bolognese. My hat off to you, you are definitely the crazier.

Dear COP: I ask myself the same question too, but then I think that exposure to modern culture will only help them. I strongly believe that their salvation comes through their women who seem to be oppressed by the males even in these societies and even lose their lives for the crime of not wanting to be slaves any more. That’s why I 100% support French attempts to enforce more freedom for these women and that must start with the clothes even if some women find it uncomfortable.

Dear Hovakh: It seems like you were wise since the beginning. It took me many years of madmaghness to work that out.

hamsade ghadimi


by hamsade ghadimi on

now you're going to get q bent out of shape with that comment.  "say foo' you talkin to me?"  :)


Dear Hovakh, thank you..

by Monda on

for your time.


Dear Monda, it is actually مدمغ


I did not catch the typo earlier. Roughly means:  Silly, self rightous, sniffy, foolishly proud, sour minded.



by Monda on

مدمق yani chi? I'm not with my dictionary here.


دیوونهٔ عاقل، قصهٔ تو منو یاد حرف خوبی‌ از زمان بچگی‌ میندازه


دین آدمو مدمق می‌کنه



Divaneh jan, you could use some sanity in your life

by Q on

It seems given the status of the person I'm dealing with, I'm really forced to ask some basic elementary questions.
Do you really know much about Islam?

Please, endulge me, how many Muslims do you actually know or interact with in your daily life?

Dear COP, just want to make sure you are mistaken. I'm the one who used the word Allah, now I ask you, are you calling me a cockroach and a pathetic goon? Please clarify.


Divaneh jon

by Cost-of-Progress on

Great blog and to the point. I have often asked why these cockroaches are even in the west enjoying the benefits of democratic societies while hating them....

Do not bother answering the regime thugs. The guy "...hopes to allah..." WTF? Could he have said "god" instead or even Khoda? Maskes you think whether any of these pathetic goons are even Iranian. 




maziar 58

divaneh jaan

by maziar 58 on

NO . I did not called you an Israeli .simply remembered an encounter with a men who asked me where I was from and the rest as I quoted earlier NO TARGET was there.

and my favorite pass time is once in a while I'll get zig-zag wrapper,tobacco and mix it with oregano to smoke. NOW who is divaneh ?  cheers Maziar


Dear Monda

by divaneh on

Thank you for your kind comments. The deal actually went ahead, and presented with the facts, the client started seeing a different picture than the one promoted by the IRI. IRI spends a huge deal on promoting such images and it's always a pleasure to undermine their efforts. I don't think he changed his mind but at least he now knows the other side's claims.


Good comparison Oktaby

by divaneh on

A very good comparison in support of secular and peaceful co-existence.


Good read Divaneh, thank you

by Monda on

I appreciate your openess and civility in the thread as well. 

Did you say your deal was off?!


A good comparative view may be with India

by oktaby on

That has about the same population of moslems as pakistan. India's progress, prestige and overall condition in contrast to pakistan, since both gained simulataneous independence from the British, is telling at many levels. India is accommodating that with a slew of religions, cultures & peoples. In Pakistan even 2 moslem groups can't but kill each other. Pakistan/i case and islamic mindset in general is harsher than your story conveys.




by yolanda on

Hi! divaneh,

 LOL! Don't worry! Both you & Maziar are fine....Thank you for the word "daft".....I just learned a new word, yeah!!! You are definitely not "daft".....

Thank you again for your blog...


Thanks Yolanda

by divaneh on

Thanks for clarifying this. You are right. Maziar's 2nd post is a continuation of the 1st one. I think I am getting paranoid with all the titles that I have kindly received from Q.



by yolanda on

del...double post by IC