I recently wrote a Persian piece, the main goal of which was to identify and expose a general unpleasant phenomenon that dominates and to a large extent governs Iranians’ social life and conduct. The Persian term I used (for the first time, I believe) to refer this phenomenon was “eeza ye dini”.
When I tried to give a brief account of the Persian piece in this blog, the closest English equivalent I found was “religious harassment”. Thanks to some of the readers’ comments, the inadequcy of this latter term became clear, especialy since “harassment” has some established meaning already.
In this note I am going to try to prevent further misunderstandings by elaborating further on what I mean by “religious harassment”, or RH in short, in that broader sense that “eeza ye dini” is intended to convey.
The abbreviation RH is henceforth used as an equivalent of the Persian term “eeza ye dini” as coined and described in a Persian piece thus titled, and is understood to name a collection of behaviors that encompass a whole range of methods for inflicting pains of varying intensity upon individuals who are perceived to be outside a particular religious persuasion BY the followers of that particular faith.
RH does inculde religious harassment in its classic sense, but is not limited to ordinary religious harassments. RH is meant to also include threatening the “infidels”, burning them at the stake, crucifying the heretics, excommunicating or executing the apostates, and the whole items on the long list of traditional methods that various religions have employed since the dawn of humanity to persecute the outsiders, as well as make it easier for their followers to bond among themselves. (After all, the threat of an external enemy seems to unite previously diverse people pretty well!)
So, my main point here being: practices of RH cover a wide range, and are not restricted to religious harassment in its ordinary sense in English. Examples of RH are given in the Persian version and occasionally in the comments that follow previous netries of this blog. It is important to have a large collection of specific instances of RH in order to illustrate the wide variety of the behaviors that can be traced back to one source.
In fact, the reason for lumping all those pain-inflicting, uneasy-making behaviors under one term, “eeza ye dini”, aka RH, is to emphasize the fact that despite their wildly different appearances, they are all incarnations of one single phenomenon. Such unification is believed to shed new light on a large array of, well, RH practices that are now so common in Iranian society, a great number of which have been given legal status and supported not only by the “Church”, as it were, but also by the Islamic State.
Such a realization can pave the way for an all-inclusive resolution of these social ills, not one at a time, but all at once and under the single banner of “No to all forms of RH”.
As always, comments are welcome…