Was The Late Shah A “Secular” Monarch?

According to a popular religious tradition in Iran, when somebody wants to go on a journey, he/she makes three passes under the Koran in order to be safe on the way and then have a safe return. This picture shows the last monarch of Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (1919-1980; reigned from 1941 to 1979), on his last day (January 16, 1979) in Iran, when he, amidst a seething revolution, is about to get on the plane to leave the country, never to return. Now, there is nothing wrong with being religious as long as you keep it to yourself. After all, it is your right to have your own belief. However, making religion an instrument of the state is an apparent encroachment upon the rights of the citizens.

For the past thirty-four years, the enthusiastic advocates of the late Shah, in order to promote their cause at the expense of the Islamic Republic, have made a career out of it to boast that the Shah was a “secular” monarch. The truth is, he was not, and this picture only shows the tip of the iceberg. The Islamization of Iran as a political expediency and the suppression of secular intellectuals in order, reportedly, to stymie the approaches of the former Soviet Union, with the apparent assistance of the capitalist world powers, was a well-rehearsed policy under the late Shah long before the revolution started; and that was mainly what created the seedbed for the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Iran during later decades. As we can see, things do not just appear with a crack out of nowhere; they all have a long and strenuous history….

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