The overall shadow of the Cold War helped consolidate Political Islam over most Muslim societies as an ideological bastion against communism.
Today, American support for Political Islam has gone to grotesque stories. In the case of Afghanistan, the pretext was “fighting communism” and in the case of Iran, the US, caught by a sense of immediacy and crass pragmatism, had to help the Islamic movement, as an alternative to the Shah’s regime, to set up a new bastion against an eventual socialist revolution in Iran. The Islamists finally became the Western support to install their God’s state in Iran. The main goal of this grotesque alliance between the West and the Iranian Islamists was not of course to free Iranian people from the dictatorship–from the Western side, the alliance was a tactic to keep away the country from a socialist revolution which was supposedly en route. And from the Islamists’s side; the alliance was an easier choice to establish their IRI.
These stories are fraught with ironies: Today's Political Islam, which is reborn with the Islamic Republic of Iran, after all, is partly the result of America's miscalculation in creating a Muslim “green belt” against “red” communism in the Middle East and partly due to the absence of an Iranian democratic movement in the period of the Iranian revolution to foil this plot.
The alliance with Islamist has forced Western governments to close their eyes not only to this transient ally’s brutality against their own people but also to their acts of terror against all humanity. The Western governments have reacted to terrorist regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran with mild rebukes and critical “dialogue.”
Shortly after establishing their Islamists regimes, the IRI and late Taliban have used respectively Iran and Afghanistan to international bases of Islamist terrorism. Jihadist centers of recruitment and training have set up dreadful colons of killers. These are to consolidate the local dictatorship of Political Islam and to spread Islamist terrorism worldwide. The West still underestimated threats of political Islam. Today, the IRI remains as the main base of international terrorism.
Political Islam has resulted worldwide in violence and acts of terrorism. Although some Western countries, under their public pressure, consider Political Islam a threat to their status as secular society, the irony is that they have not yet taken adequate measures to even prevent its growth in the Western societies. More and more various Islamist persons and groups are active in many Western societies, creating more problems for the international community.
Although Islamism developed in societies with a Muslim majority, it is now an international phenomenon. Its message is to fight the “profane” world of non Muslims, its activities are subject to widespread acts of violence and intolerance and its goal is to globally impose Islamic states. There are no geographical limits to the spread of ideas and activities. Therefore, despite of appeasement of western governments, a solidarity is growing in the international community to push back the plague of Islamism worldwide.
Most Western people know that the financial resources of Islamists in the world are mainly from Saudi Arabi and the IRI but the terrorist actions and political goals of the Islamists are mostly orchestrated by the IRI. New jiahdists are always recruited from the Islamic schools, mosques, Tawheed institutes, all of which see their funding and number greatly increased in the Western societies.
After the Iranian revolution of 1979, Political Islam effectively reappeared in Iran and rapidly influenced the Islamic world. Political Islam in Iran set up itself with the combination of a traditional clergy and some Islamic groups. It claimed that Islam is both a faith and a political system with all socioeconomic models deprived from the Koran and Islamic traditions. Although these standard models have roots in the primitive clan society of pre-Islamic Arabia, the Islamists attempt to impose them on today’s society.
Different forms of Political Islam, like IRI, Wahabi in Saudi Arabia, Mojahedin in Afghanistan, Hamas in Palestine or Muslim generals in Pakistan believe in the same standard models which are supposed to be applied all over the world. They share the same ideological sources, namely the Koran and the Hadith and their only legitimate judicial laws are the Islamic laws, Sharia. Although Islamists have different positions in many perspectives, they typically criticise intellectualism and the values of secular and democratic world. Their ultimate goal is to install islamic state all over the world. None of Islamist thought ultimately refuses to accept that “God’s state” is the only legitimate form of state.
The most characteristic of an Islamic society is the gender segregation. It is very symbolised by Islamic hijab. The Islamic gender segregation has an influential repercussion of the economic, education, art, architecture and many aspects of psychosocial traits of collective life, It sets an Islamic way of life for the society.
The gravity of imposition of Islamic hijab on Iranian society is unfortunately ignored by the human rights organisation's and those who have condemned Apartheid in South Africa. Today, the gender segregation of the IRI systematically causes more acts of violence and humiliation than the past racial segregation in South Africa.
Intellectual calls must internationally be louder, demanding civil rights for the countries led by Islamic states. Civil rights which are historically the results of struggles against the Church in the West cannot be ignored in the countries led by the influence of mosques.
The question of civil rights can be also asked from some Iranian pseudo-Intellectuals who have still an eye on reforms within the IRI or lurk in wings for an Islamic alternative state. They seem either not to understand the depth of problems or cannot simply abandon their sympathy for a “better” model of Islamic state. People within IRI’s factions, like Soroush, Ebadi, Yazdi or people outside the IRI, like Banisadr, Mojahedin belong to these dubious categories.
The IRI at its early life was not to answer the question: how to reconcile the tenets of Islam with the modern notions of democracy, justice, and gender equality. In these terms, there were no important differences among the Iranian Islamists. The IRI was based on the rules and laws laid out in the Koran and Hadiths, which mandate their “legitimate” Got’s state.
Later, under the increasing problems, some of Iranian Islamists had to differently interpret the traditional and outdated meanings of the Koran. They came to the conclusion that an Islamic state properly serves that the problems of an Islamic society be consulted. For this “modern” group of Islamists, their “democracy” is however limited to the framework of an Islamic concept; it demands debate among both the Islamic authorities and the Islamic community on issues that concern the rule of Islamic state. Their democracy is solely a political extrapolation from Islam rather than a straightforward expression of people themselves. The “reformist” Islamists do not believe in democracy in its conventional meaning.
In the following years of the IRI, regarding the monopolisation of power by the fundamentalists, this „reformist” group was forced to develop factions within the IRI. A range of ideas and “modern” Muslims mushroomed in the periphery of the Islamic ruling class, running after “democratic” reforms to actually safeguard their “ideal” Islamic state.
Reformed or not, the interpretation of Sharia is a subject of conflict among Islalmists themselves and does not interest the rest of people at all. The majority of people in the Islamic world do not accept that religion plays in any form a dominant role in civil society and state affairs
An Islamist like Abdul Karim Soroush, who was actively involved in the early cultural crimes of the IRI, tries in vain to embody a “moderate” development of Islamism, he argued that “Islam and democracy are not only compatible, but their association is inevitable in a Muslim society, one without the other is not perfect.” Soroush implicitly believes that since the majority of Iranians are supposedly Muslims, there must be an Islamic state in Iran. In another word, a secular state is automatically undemocratic. To pretend that he is democrat, he repeats what has been repeated by any “reformist” Islamist.
None of the Iranian Islamists replies that what will happen if the majority of people reject this “ideal Islamic state”. People like Soroush or Banisadr or even a proud Muslim and ex-female judge, like Shirin Ebadi have no answer to this important dilemma. Their social background, personal ambitions and other factors, that surround these Muslims, will certainly be taken into account, therefore they seem to ignore that their IRI, reformed or not, can be rejected by the majority of Iranians.
Islam, which covers all aspect of both private and social life, does not leave itself open to effective reinterpretation. The “Holy” Koran does not change and the difference in the interpretation of one radical Islamist group to another “moderate” Islamist group has no fruit for democracy at all. The very precondition of democracy is the absence of Islam itself from any equation.
Although all Islamist groups ignore rights of non-Muslims and views of secular or other thinkers, traditionalists Islamists are, at least, more honest than their “reformist” brothers–they propose a complete divine power which stands above any people’s choice, namely the instance of Velayat Faghih and its surrounding institutions, as the main decision makers for the “Ummah”, Islamic community.
The debate among Islamists themselves and in Iran is not different elsewhere. It distinctly varies from the local experience, historical reasons and differences between Sunnite Islam and sectarian Shiite Islam. The most conspicuous debate is how to attempt to achieve their goals within the state system rather than outside it. All Islamists, by ignoring that the causes of inadequacies in socioeconomic performance are mainly the effects of religion itself, try to legitimise Political Islam.
Islamists do not recognise the latest phase of civilised world that began in its secular achievements of the Renaissance. By reducing the society to an Islamic community or Ummah, they consciously rob any chance of democracy and progress from the Islamic world.
Islamists have not failed to recognise that pluralism and democracy are the catchwords of the non-Muslim West. The Arab-Israeli animosity, the colonial background of the West and the hegemonic policies of the US provide them an excuse of legitimising Political Islam.
While the blind hostility toward the West by some nationalists of the third world is aimed not at secular values but at Western domination and interference in the domestic affairs of their countries, for the Islamists, like archaic Ale Ahmad in Iran, Abu Ala Maududi in Pakistan, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt or Wahhabists in Saudi Arabia, their hysterical hate for the West is particularly orientated to the Western secular values which stand against the tenets of their Islamic faith.
It is true that the West has been a dreadful colonial power, but it is equally true that they have secular and progressive models of institutions which are products of human progress and long struggles against the religious institutions. Islamists’ initial thoughts toward anti-West are not because of their patriotism or sympathy for their own people but merely for their own religious belief. Furthermore, the Islamists are not less dreadful than the effects of previous colonial powers. These Islamists do not traditionally mind if their people suffer from acute socioeconomic backwardness, weak development and an overall misdistributions of chances and resources.
And what concerns the oppressed people of the Islamic world about the nationalistic anti Western or any animosity towards other peoples, they should remain patriotic and royal to their countries and people while rejecting nationalism as an aberrant collective egocentrism which practically turns into despotism and corruption. Every country needs to be an independent and free part of the whole international community.
The Islamic Republic of Iran, Which is the main base of today’s international Political Islam, remains isolated in the international community and faces growing domestic problems. The plague of the IRI along with all its relics has led to irreversible popular discontent in Iran and a danger to all humanity.
Today, Iranian people need more than ever both a solid popular democratic movement with the aim of toppling the IRI and an effective international solidarity for a fair struggle against the anti human Political Islam.
The IRI cannot be reformed or replaced by another Islamic alternative. Political Islam cannot exist under any pretext in our modern time as a matter of state and law. Today, all freedom-loving people around the world agree that the plague of Political Islam should be swept away from Iran or wherever it jeopardizes humanity. And all democratic Iranians should independently use the occasion to internationalise Iranian people’s struggle against its main enemy, the IRI.