A Critique of Dr. Mahmoud Sadri's Article on Religion and Terrorism


Masoud Kazemzadeh
by Masoud Kazemzadeh

If my analysis is correct, superficial and selective condemnation of terrorism and violence will not do. It is like the patient has brain cancer and we recommend aspirin. We need to discuss the root causes of terrorism and violence and especially by the fundamentalist terrorist regime.... This requires the scholar to be brave and courageous, to let the analysis go where it goes. The scholar should be willing to break taboos (religious or otherwise) and critique myths and icons.

I. Dr. Mahmoud Sadri’s article //iranian.com/main/2008-429 has many of the same flaws and shortcomings that exist in the article by his brother Dr. Ahmad Sadri. I will not repeat my earlier criticiques in this entry, and simply refer the readers to the earlier critique


II. In this entry, I present my critique of Dr. Mahmoud Sadri’s article. One MAIN problem is that there is nothing original in this essay. The attempt to condemn terrorism and violence against non-combatants who are nor armed is admirable, but unfortunately, Mahmoud Sadri FAILS to apply his own criteria. First, I explain this failure on the Lebanese Hezbollah and then on the fundamentalist regime.

III. Dr. Mahmoud Sadri attempts to save the Lebanese Hezbollah from the designation of terrorism by referring selectively to its bombing of U.S. Marine Barracks in Lebanon AND totally remaining SILENT on Hezbollah attacks on non-combatants who are un-armed. For example, the Lebanese Hezbollah’s military commander Imad Mughniyeh and other Hezbollah members have repeatedly used violence against non-combatants who are not armed.

For a listing of the Lebanese Hezbollah TERRORIST actions many with the help of IRI’s Ministry of Intelligence and IRGC see Professor Magnus Ranstorp, "The Hizballah Training Camps of Lebanon," :


some TERRORIST attacks include:

1. In 1984, the hijacking of Kuwait Airline 221.

2. In 1985 hijacking of a TWA airliner (TWA 847).

3. In 1988 hijacked an Kuwaiti Air liner (Kuwait Airline 422) and murdered 2 of its non-armed civilian passengers who were Kuwaitis.



To sum up, the Lebanese Hezbollah is a TERRORIST entity. Moreover, the Lebanese Hezbollah and the fundamentalist regime are organically linked. In addition, Leb Hezbollah is a puppet of the fundamentalist regime.

Lebanon’s Hezbollah is probably the only political party in the world that in its organizational chart, manifestos, and in actual practice, explicitly places the leader of another country as its own’s ultimate leader. The Lebanese Hezbollah puts The Supreme Leader in Iran officially as its highest leader. [1] The Lebanese Hezbollah regards the Supreme Leader, or Wali al-Faqih, to have been Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and after his death, Ayatollah Ali Khamanehi.[2] In other words, the leader of Iran can order the Lebanese Hezbollah to do as it commands. In its ideological "Levels of Obedience" chart, the Hezbollah ranks the following in descending order: Allah, the Prophet Mohammad, the Twelve Shia Imams, Wali al-Faqih, and Marja Taqlid (high ranking Shia clerics that can issue fatwa). For the Hezbollah, the Shia believers have to follow the above order.[3] According to one of the best studies of the Hezbollah:

"Hizbullah’s leaders have always pledged loyalty to Khomeini’s wilayat and to that of his successor, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.... It follows that the wali al-faqih has the absolute right to elaborate, mold, or alter the ideology and its application, including the decisions of war and peace, to fit changing circumstances.... Clearly wilayat al-faqih is binding not only on Hizbullah’s leaders and members; the party itself is an extension of wilayat al-faqih, presently under Khamenei’s leadership.... Accordingly, Hizbullah’s actions or practices are not bound by one rigid rule but by many rules according to the circumstances decided upon by the wali al-faqih, whose authority cannot be challenged."[4]

Hamzeh quotes Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary-general of the Hezbollah, as stating:

"Imam Khomeini was the hujjat of the Imam Mahdi in this ummah. Today I can say that hujjat al-Imam al-Mahdi is Imam al-Qa’id (leader) Ali Khamenei, and hujjat al-Imam al-Mahdi is a proof on us, which forces obedience to this imam [Khamenei] who was appointed by Khomeini. ...the decision of peace and war is in the hands of the jurisconsult [wali al-faqih]... Where is the force in us? What is Hizbullah’s secret? The power is in the obedience to Khamenei’s wilayat. The secret of our strength, growth, unity, struggle, and martyrdom is wilayat al-faqih, the spinal cord of Hizbullah."[5]

By the late 1980s, it became clear that the Hezbollah was not able to impose a Khomeini style regime in Lebanon despite concerted efforts. One of the main reasons being that the Shiites are only about a third of the population.

the above passage is from one of my articles.

IV. The fundamentalist regime ruling Iran is in essence a terrorist regime, using the definition of terrorism that Dr. Mahmoud Sadri wishes to use for the genesis of the usage of the term terror in referring to the reign of terror in the French Revolution. The fundamentalist regime under Khomeini and Khamanehi have used violence against non-combatants who were not armed for political purposes. Why the double standard?

V. In conclusion, it is praiseworthy to see one attempt to condemn terrorism and violence. Unfortunately, Dr. Mahmoud Sadri’s article falls short. It is silent on Lebanese Hezbollah or perhaps implicitly supports the Lebanese Hezbollah by referring to one of its actions while ignoring all its other actions. There is not a single word about the TERRORIST actions of the fundamentalist regime that has been terrorizing the Iranian people for about 3 decades. Why the double standard?

VI. Policy Ramifications

It appears to me that the attempts by Dr. Ahmad Sadri and Dr. Mahmoud Sadri are too superficial for the serious problem of terrorism and violence amomg Islamic groups. Nothing original is presented. The root causes of terrorism and violence in Islamic entities, including and especially in the fundamentalist regime ruling Iran and its proxies such as the Lebanese Hezbollah, is lacking.

If my analysis is correct, superficial and selective condemnation of terrorism and violence will not do. It is like the patient has brain cancer and we recommend aspirin. We need to discuss the root causes of terrorism and violence by and especially the fundamentalist terrorist regime. We need to ask would the incumbent fundamentalist regime be able to survive if it would stop violence against the Iranian people who demand freedom, democracy, and human rights? What would happen if the terrorist regime would to announce that it no longer would imprison (and thus torture, execute or assassinate) anyone who is against velayat faghih system? If a group of university students decided to translate and publish this article, would the regime leave them free? Could the students invite the public for a peaceful rally to demand referendum to change the vf constitution? Could they form a political party, publish a paper demanding such a referendum?

The fundamentalist terrorist regime NEEDS terrorism against the Iranian people to remain in power. This regime uses its terrorist proxies (e.g., Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Lebanese Hezbollah) as part of its export of the its fundamentalist revolution. Violence is an integral part of the fundamentalist regime as it is part of al Qaeda and the KKK and the Nazi party. These are extremist violent groups.

If my analysis is correct, then what we need is to replace the incumbent extremist terrorist regime with a secular democratic republic based on civil liberties, human rights, separation of religion and the state, majority rule (based on free and fair elections) and minority rights. There will always be violent terrorist groups and individuals in all societies. As long as they constitute a very small minority, the democratic policy can contain their harmful impacts. In a sick society, these extremist terrorist groups gain power and influence whether it is capturing power in Iran, or supporters in the cases of al Qaeda and Lebanese Hezbollah.

It is the role of responsible scholars to probe the problem of violence and terrorism, seek to find out its root causes and suggest solutions. This requires the scholar to be brave and courageous, to let the analysis go where it goes. The scholar should be willing to break taboos (religious or otherwise) and critique myths and icons.

We need to ask basic questions. Did violence against non-combatants unarmed begin among Muslim only after 1791? Or did Muslims use violence before then? Did the Prophet Mohammad use violence to advance his message, or was Islam spread my words of invitation? For example, why did the Prophet use the early followers in raids to merchant caravans? Was the use of violence against merchants to get their money and property a legitimate use of violence? Did Islam come to Iran by the Arab-Muslim invasion or by words of invitation? Did Islamic rule spread to North Africa and Iberian peninsula by violence or by words of invitation? Did Iranian people became Shia by kinds words of invitation or by the swords of the Safavid kings?

If my analysis is correct, blaming violence of Islamic groups on the French Revolution and modernity, is false. The problem goes much deeper. We need to ask are there any ideological or theological aspects of Islam that are responsible for the pervasive violence? Are these factors a contributing factor? Are the needs to remain power (in the case of IRI) or to gain power (Leb Hezbollah, al Qaeda) the primary drivers of violence?



1. See Hezbollah’s organizational chart at Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh, In the Path of Hizbullah (Syracuse, 2004), p. 46.

2. "Khamanehi" may be spelled "Khamenei."

3. Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh, In the Path of Hizbullah (Syracuse, 2004), p. 32.

4. Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh, In the Path of Hizbullah (Syracuse, 2004), pp. 33-34.

5. Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh, In the Path of Hizbullah (Syracuse, 2004), pp. 33-34.


more from Masoud Kazemzadeh


by samsam1111 on

""I was told that you use bad language for some of the posters. I would like to plead [khahesh] with you that you refrain from using insulting language""

How did I insult you ? who are these people who are reporting to you on me? Ommati is not about Islam but a mentality . How is it an insult to you if I call this regime an ommati regime? You yourself wrote earlier about occupation of Iran by Arabs . are you insulting Arabs then for a historical fact? . Or were you insulting me on another blog when you sarchasticaly made me an imaginary ambassador to Saudia Arabia ? . Your long comment was full of unfair & unjust accusations & passive innuando    on where I stand either on race . I am sorry I left you a comment . good luck on what ever you think you are doing for Iran & talking behind peoples back via 3rd parties with no proof is no sign of a so called humanist who tries to portary fairness . It,s called being judgmental with no proof .

no reply is needed . Adius




Beyond our Differences.........

by Nadias on

A very good friend of mine and I have been discussing the following program on PBS:

 Beyond our Differences 


I believe that it is time that we respect each others differences and at the same time focus instead on our similarities.

It is the only way to truly find peace.



Masoud Kazemzadeh

Samsam Jaan

by Masoud Kazemzadeh on

Dear Samsam,

1. I am able to read only a fraction of posts. I am confused on what you mean by "Ommati regime."

2. I was told that you use bad language for some of the posters. I would like to plead [khahesh] with you that you refrain from using insulting language.

3. My goal is basically to help in any way I can in the process of establishing freedom, democracy, and human rights in Iran. Our enemy is neither Islam, nor Arabs, not akhunds per se. Our enemy is the ruling fundamentalist regime.

4. In order to succeed we need to have the broadest possible alliance. If an akhund opposes this regime, he is then not our primary enemy. There have been decent clerics such as Ayatollah Mahmoud Taleghani, Grand Ayatollah Kazem Shariatmadari, Grand Ayatollah Abolfazl Zanjani. One may disagree with them on a host of issues, but we have to accept that they opposed Khomeini’s fascistic terroristic version of Islam, and instead they presented a version of Islam that was compatible with democracy and freedom. For that matter, Ayatollah Naini of the Constitutional period presented many good interpretation (or re-interpretation) of Islam.

5. One of the main problems with the fundamentalist regime is the apartheid system of khodi and gheir khodi it had created. The democratic opposition wishes to establish a system that ends all sorts of discrimination and oppression. We really believe that Iran belongs to ALL Iranians. By ALL, we mean ALL. No more discrimination against any Iranian because of their religion, or ethnicity, or sex, or any other attribute.

In the democratic system that we wish to establish in the post-fundamentalist Iran, ALL religions shall be free to have their places of worship, seminaries, and the like. The fundamentalist regime oppresses other Iranians including and especially Sunni Muslims. See how the fundamentalist regime oppresses these two Sunni clerics:


The fundamentalist regime has been systematically oppressing our Sunni Muslim compatriots, including assassinating their clerics and religious leaders.



In the democratic Iran, the Iranian people’s right to worship any religion (Shia, Sunni, Zartoshti, Bahai, Jewish, Christian, Sufi), or nothing at all (atheism), or agnosticism, will be fully 100% respected. The polar opposite of the fundamentalist dictatorship is not a secular dictatorship; rather it will be a truly pluralistic Iran where anyone will be 100% free to hold ANY view on the supernatural. One would have the same right to criticize Islam as one who wishes to worship it. No one will be allowed to use violence or threats of violence against any other. And the freedom of conscience has to be fully protected. If an Iranian wishes to worship a cow, he or she has that right. I think they are wrong, but we have to protect their RIGHT to worship anything they so desire.



6. Our beloved Iran is composed of many ethnic groups: Persian, Azeri, Gilak, Kurd, Baloch, Arab, Turkoman, etc. And of course many of us are mixed, a little this or a little that. And our children will be even more mixed. My son’s mother (my ex-wife) is part Swedish part Norwegian. My son knows more about Iran’s history than I do. He is both proud American and proud Iranian. And I am so proud of him.

We need to understand that all of us are first and foremost human beings. If science is right, we are all Africans. The common ancestor of all of us human beings moved out of Southern part of Africa to other places, so we are all relatives. Racism is a sick social disease; it comes out of ignorance. And no healthy society can live with it.

The post-fundamentalist Iran should be free from any discrimination against anyone. No more khodi and gheir khodi apartheid in Iran. No more discrimination. 


7. The seeds of democratic Iran has to be present in us. We need to nourish them. Part of this nourishment is the use of polite language. If are to create a tolerant, pluralistic society, we need to have respect for those with whom we disagree. In a healthy society, there exists many many varieties of thoughts, policies, tendencies.

We have seen in Iran how a brutal totalitarian system has so savagly brutalized our people. We have seen how Leninist-Stalinist system has brutalized human beings


 we have seen how Nazi regime committed horrendous brutalities.  No more brutal systems whether Khomeinist, Stalinist, or Hitlerite. 

We need to learn to appreciate diversity and plurality of humanity; and learn and enjoy the beauty of this wonderful diversity. Derogatory words for other ethnic groups is not a sign of maturity. The democratic Iran needs to begin with everyone of us NOW. The democratic ethos grow gradually. No doubt the very first step is to send the fundamentalist terrorist regime to the garbage can of history where it belongs. But, democracy and freedom need seeds and nourishment. Our people have been brutalized enough. It is time to help create a more peaceful, decent, tolerant, pluralistic, and democratic polity.





Masoud , I got news for you pal

by samsam1111 on

Next time before choosing your cabinet , ask the so called critics of the regime couple of important questions to differentiate between those who who only cosmeticaly oppose the Ommati regime(both side of their mouth) & those who actualy find the regime an illigitimate entity, because, appearances are deceiving :);

1- Do they consider IRV(IRI) the legitimate government of Iran & Seyed Ali Khamenei the legitimate leader of Iran ?

2-Do they consider the current Ommatist/Pan-Arabi status quo culture an extension of Iranic true heritage or a by-product of a brutal Bedoin conquest of 637AD ?

& my good man , I bet you be surprised at the type of answers you get from the folks you thought share your opposition to the Ommati regime . As for me , I don,t give a hoot wether mullahs stay or go since my problem is with the source & virus aka Ommatism(not Islam)  and mullahs are just a side effect of that virus .

So choose associates wisely next time pal & don,t be fooled by superficial rethoric . I wonder how many here will answer those questions directly . ask em & find out .. wink wink


God speed Prince Masoud & keep well !!!