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MARCH 2006
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The game will go on

Iran 1 - International Community 0
Guive Mirfendereski

The jurisdiction of the Security Council is to address threats to international peace and security. Because the Iranian pursuit of nuclear energy is not a threat to international peace and security, the Council wisely sent the Iranian file back to the IAEA. The Presidential Statement has no basis in international law of the Charter. The Presidential Statement is not binding on Iran. It is a face-saving device concocted by the Council to get the likes of the United States and her lackeys (the other self-anointed members of the “international community”) off the back of the Council with their unreasonable and offside (hors jeu) requests to the Council. All along Iran had wanted the file to go back to the IAEA and have its situation treated in that agency. So for the next thirty days Iran has its wish. Exactly how long is 30 days? That depends on one’s definition of “days.” Are these 30 calendar days or business days – even then, are these Iranian business days or American business days. The game will go on.

Baa maa hamraah shavid!

Iranian youth once climbed the walls of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. Now they climb the steps of Congress
Mehdi Jalali

God wears boots

The Power Structure of the Islamic Republic of Iran: transition from populism to clientelism, and militarization of the government
Kazem Alamdari

Since the1979 revolution, Iran has experienced two non-class power structures -- populism and clientelism. Populism, a product of the revolution, helped Ayatollah Khomeini to rule Iran for a decade with absolute power. Clientelism in Iran is linked to Shiism, as well as to a rentier state, and to the revolution, which resulted in many autonomous groups formed in patron – client bonds... The reformist government elected in 1997 failed to deliver on its democratic promises and to end the destructive role of autonomous groups. Therefore, disenchanted with state-sponsored reforms, Iranian society seems to be moving towards pragmatism and utilitarianism, while the political power structure leans towards militarism.

Nuking Innocence

Iran is being set up for “an unprovoked nuclear attack”
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

Professing to be the greater civilization, the intellect is deliberately disassociated, sanity is interned so that greed may proceed and allow the savagery of the greater to prey upon the less.  While mankind strives for nobility, there are some among us who contemplate such base decisions that would threaten the existence of another nation.    Those same powers who would refute that man is born under one law, and so they bound him by another, targeting him with nuclear weapons. Alarmed at such baseness, Philip Giarldi, A former CIA officer, in an August 1, 2005 issue of The American Conservative warns that Dick Cheney has issued a request for using tactical nuclear weapons against Iran.  More troubling is that the use of nuclear weapons is not conditional on Iran being involved in the act of terrorism against the United States.  Otherwise stated, Iran is being set up for “an unprovoked nuclear attack”.

Writer’s life

“I’ve put my practice up for sale,” I said and poured him more coffee before adding, “As of next week, I shall follow my dream and do nothing else but write.”
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

What would you call it if one chose to work hard, absorb much abuse, grow old at a young age, be disconnected from the society and not gain a penny? No, not insanity, it is called a writer’s life, and I for one, chose that over a lucrative job that had gained me moderate respect in the community. I figured the best time to break the news to my husband would be at breakfast, long before the day’s events had robbed us of our patience and while we enjoyed the first cup of coffee together.

New Year begins with fear

Talk of a possible military attack by the U.S. merely maintains an atmosphere of fear and panic
Omid Habibinia

As Iran says it will resume its uranium enrichment program, nuclear talks in London between the Islamic Republic and three European countries -- Britain, Germany and France -- have ended unsuccessfully. Some weeks ago the same talks in Geneva were deemed "not discouraging." More talks are due to be held in the coming weeks in Geneva, but Iran's representative in nuclear negotiations informed participants that if the London talks do not produce results uranium enrichment will go on.

Solidarity concert

Mahdad Salimi

I'll make this short and sweet. Let's get off our collective behinds and face those who are running this country that we call our Motherland head on. Enough already with the selfishness, self-promotion and disjointed token opposition to benefit a certain group or organization and let's focus on taking aim at making wholesale changes in the Iranian society, and ensure the world knows that any military intervention under the guise of excluding Iran from the Nuclear Club is unacceptable. Let' form a union NOW, hold our hands together and for once, be one and attain what has long alluded us. Nobody can be excluded, as long as you have no blood on your hands. Can we come together for once? I know our people did during the Revolution (although it got hijacked later), and we can do it again.

Green challenges

Tehran’s environmental crises
Grant Munyon

While Iran’s environmental problems are quite diverse, ranging from deforestation and desertification to over fishing to water contamination to oil and chemical spills in the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea, two issues, air pollution and seismic activity, are most significant and deeply concern Tehran, Iran’s heavily populated capital city.  These two issues are certainly quite different in that air pollution can be solved to a large extent while the effects of seismic activity can only be mitigated, but both problems require immediate government attention.  Thus far, they have received little domestic or international attention despite causing or threatening to cause widespread suffering and even death. 

Love of war

Some thoughts about Jesus, the church, my country, and the war
Doug Soderstrom

One might wish that church doctrine was, in fact, a spiritual matter, but alas such may be nothing more than canonical attempts to appease the appetite of those who happen to pay the bills of the church. Add to this the rather mean spirited history of the church (the Spanish Inquisition, the rape of the Indian culture during the westward expansion, the brutalization of black slaves, the New England torture of witches, and the church’s longstanding support of America’s military-industrial complex) and you have a misguided church that apparently has very little to offer the world. As James Hillman wrote in his book, A Terrible Love of War: “Western Christianity’s god comes front and center when war is in the air. War brings its god to life.”

One or four Kurdish states

Achievable Kurdish ideal
Kamal H. Artin

The Kurdish dream of being free from the four colonial powers in the Middle East and peacefully create one or four Kurdish states in which religion and state are separated and people are allowed to make choices might rightfully be called wishful thinking at this stage. However, this dream is achievable, if the Kurds unite and the free world supports their plight of self determination to the point of federation, separation, or independence.

Two-pronged attack

Target both US aggressors and the Iranian regime
Mehdi Kia

The wolves are howling once again. An escalating crisis, ostensibly over Iran's nuclear programme, is reaching explosive potentials. For the left, and for all those who oppose the looming war, the issue superficially appears straight forward. An aggressive US and its lesser allies is bent on an imperial project of restructuring the Middle East. The aim is to totally subjugate this strategic region, with its rich oil and gas deposits, to US will. Any government not directly a US vassal, so called "rogue states", has to be swept away. And the pretext for this grand design is "terrorism", weapons of mass destruction, and now nuclear weapons. Act three is Iran. Clearly any sane person must oppose such a project.

A third option

US policy and the Iranian democracy movement
Mohammad Parvin

The blunt statements against Israel recently made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as well as his government's blatant resistance to international monitoring of its atomic program, have put the Western states in an awkward situation. They have been forced to take a position in order to save face in front of their own people and the world community. However, it remains to be seen whether the US will redefine its old policy that was tough in words and soft in action. The recent historical background of this policy may be summarized as follows:


Shock and... oops!

Iraq War: Three years on
Abtin Assadi

Three years on, thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's are dead or injured; the country is at low-level civil war. The elected representatives in parliament are unwilling to meet and the government is unable to form. Nobody is safe except perhaps for the people in the fortified green zone. Sectarian killings have already started, every sect has it's own militia despite the central government, and the new Iraqi army and police are still ineffective. The administration not only miscalculated in Iraq, it also misjudged the American people's appetite for imperial power.

Abraham, Rostam & Oedipus

The Rostams have failed and are no longer desired. It is time for Iranian men to hand over the ruling of the country to women experts and follow their leadership by cooperating in fulfilling common aspirations
Vida Kashizadeh

The Iranian woman has been suppressed for 2 millenniums, that is since the Aryans invaded the land, but with times changing, her genetic disposition and heritage connecting her to the amazons has been forcing itself to the surface. Parallel to this awakening of the ancient instincts and the genetically re-emerging strength of women in their endurance and their perseverance, in addition to the skills they have gained in order to survive as an entity, the Iranian man's ancient anxiety has also been stimulated. In today's Iran men are anxious and women are fed up. The women have nothing to loose except their veils. There is no lack of human resources to bring change; the only thing needed is a decentralised coordination.

Enemy du jour

Manouchehr Mehrparvar

I came to the U.S. in April 1973 at age 12. By age 17 or so, when I was a senior in high school, I already knew that Americans needed a common enemy in order to be united. Starting in the 1950s, the enemy was communism and its symbol was the old Soviet Union. A handful of neocons, in their search for the new enemy, re-discovered Islam. Slowly but surely, these neocons have accomplished their goals of vilifying Islam to a point that its now seen as the biggest threat by majority of Christians and Jews in U.S., Europe and Australia.

Women show the way

March of Iranian women in exile
Yassamine Mather

On a cold and rainy afternoon on March 8, nearly 1,000 people demonstrated through The Hague in a protest that was the culmination of a five-day march called by the Campaign for Abolition of all Misogynist Gender-Based Legislation and Islamic Punitive Laws in Iran. The call for the march, issued in November 2005, said: “If you are against death by stoning, if you are against forced veiling, if you are against the prosecution and imprisonment of women, if you are against lashing a woman’s body, if you are against any form of patriarchy, if you are against the medieval laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran imposing inequality on women - join the great march against anti-women laws in Iran’s Islamic Republic on March 8 2006!”

At your peril

U.S. or Israeli military response to the current crisis in relations with Iran is a particularly dangerous option
Paul Rogers

This briefing paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the likely nature of US or Israeli military action that would be intended to disable Iran’s nuclear capabilities. It outlines both the immediate consequences in terms of loss of human life, facilities and infrastructure, and also the likely Iranian responses, which would be extensive. An attack on Iranian nuclear infrastructure would signal the start of a protracted military confrontation that would probably grow to involve Iraq, Israel and Lebanon, as well as the USA and Iran. The report concludes that a military response to the current crisis in relations with Iran is a particularly dangerous option and should not be considered further. Alternative approaches must be sought, however difficult these may be.

Democratizing global governance

A letter from Athens
Majid Tehranian

The world needs a global governance regime that is more democratic. How can we solve this puzzle? Some reformers have proposed a global parliament. If internet could be made globally available, a case for a one person-one vote regime would be plausible. But that is not currently the case. Only about 6 percent of the world population have access to the internet. An alterative would to focus on the major global players. States, transnational corporations, and civil society organizations are the obvious candidates. Other players may include transnational media corporations, regional organizations, municipalities, and indigenous peoples. Each player can have an assembly of its own to coordinate its global interests and policies. But a Global Parliament is needed that is composed of the representative of each group in order to negotiate global policies for the consideration of national states and legislatures.

Sanctions on perpetrators, not people

The sanctions regime must be set up by such appropriate resolutions that it weakens the IRI and strengthens the position of its democratic opposition
Jahanshah Rashidian

The current nuclear status of the Islamic Republic of Iran cannot escape from the inevitable sanctions of the Untied Nations Security Council. One knew that the IRI would not comply with resolutions taken by the 35member board of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The five permanent members of the Security Council will consequently find a compromise to impose sanctions on the IRI. The sanctions measures will probably enter into force only after a while. In terms of longevity and nature of sanctions, the democratic opposition must try to influence any UN Security Council’s decision against the IRI. The sanctions can only bring fruits when the measures are merely aimed at the IRI’s leadership, but not those economic branches providing necessary needs for people.

Reinvesting in our communities

Interview with Azadeh Hariri, an Iranian American philanthropist
Hamid Karimi

Azadeh Hariri was born in Iran, went to boarding school in England and pursued her higher education in Lausanne, Switzerland and Indiana, USA. She spent her early years in Iran and belonged to a rather traditional family. Since 1979 Hariri has lived in California, creating and managing the state’s second largest food distributor, which was later sold. Her humble attitude and appearance is in contrast with her business acumen and sharp sense of presence. More importantly, Hariri is busy making a positive difference in the lives of academically gifted yet financially constrained Iranians who wish to further themselves in America. She has been an active philanthropist for years and now Hariri is taking on a new challenge by establishing the Iranian Scholarship Foundation to give away scholarships to young Iranian students. I recently spent an hour with her at a café in Menlo Park, California to talk about her vision and perspective on Iranian American philanthropy.

Honey and Vinegar

Attitudes toward Iran's Assyrian Christians
Eden Naby

Even as the number of Assyrians in Iran diminishes toward the point of extinction, the attitudes about them appear to harden into chauvinistic prejudice. The recent remarks of a high cleric in Urumiyah NOT to buy Assyrian property because they are all leaving and then the property will be free, symbolizes the latent prejudice against non-Muslims. To see similar sentiments expressed by Muslim Iranian émigrés is nothing short of disgusting. The review of Dr. Rami Yelda's book, A Persian Odyssey: Iran Revisited (New York, A. Pankovitch Publishers, 2005) is particularly replete with assertions based on a clear inability to read a well-written and sophisticated book. Indicative of this tendency is the misspelling of the author's name, "Yalda" for Yelda, and then a play on the Persian borrowing of an Aramaic/Syriac word referring to "birth."

Father knows best

It starts even in families where children are not educated to believe in one simple fact, the truth, but one simple convenience, that dad is right
Ben M

When we say idolatry (botparasti) what usually comes to our minds, the Iranians and most Islamic nations, is something like what the pre-Islam Arabs in Arabia used to worship in Kaaba and at their homes or many other places. They were objects made of various materials. People used to believe in some magical powers that could protect or heal them and in order to have some kind of representation of that power, tangible and admirable, the pre-Islam Arabs had found a simple way, build something and hope that the respective god will hear you through that object. This was pretty much close to the symbolism in pre-Christian Europe as well where various gods used to be represented by various man-made objects, statues etc...

Legal fund

Put me down for $50 to prosecute Iranian-American who tried to run over innocent students

I was talking to a friend of mine about Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar -- that Iranian guy who drove his car into a crowd of innocent students somewhere in the Carolinas [See: Crazy call]. My friend said, why don’t we set up a legal fund for him? I said, "A legal fund? Are you crazy? This guy is a disgrace. Why would you want to set up a legal defense fund for him?" My friend replied, "I’m not talking about a legal defense fund for this idiot. I’m talking about a legal prosecution fund! Just the opposite."

Tanhaa yek zabaan

Making English the primary language of education in Iran is a necessity for survival and progress in today's world
Hamid Zamani

Khaak bar sare maa mardhaa!

Ali Hakkak

In any normal society, in case something like this happens the government and the police will not get away with that, easily. Iran is a different story! This is not the first time such obvious civil rights violations happen and it will not be the last one from what we see. What about the backlash? Well there is none! There is no democratic infrastructure to prevent such acts. At this point it is completely up to people. We can either choose to sit at home watch satellite programs and drink our illegal booze and shut up when the police and basiji officers ask us to, or stop digressing from “the political opposition” and stick together to form a collective soul. That soul doesn’t exist right now. We are all still hanging on to our MASH GHASSEM stories.

Rafsanjani knows better

Meir Javedanfar

It is true that the sanctions will most probably not lead to regime change, but they will hurt the regime and the people, and Rafsanjani was there first hand when he had to clear up the economic mess after the Iraqi invasion of Iran. So he knows the costs, and the challenges. He also realizes that Ahmadinejad’s calls for return to simpler lifestyle don’t have as much an audience as they did in early 1980 and even 1990s. Iran of 2006 is much more of a consumer society. Also if sanctions are imposed, the economic weakness will lead to discontent, and with the US sitting on Iran’s borders, such weakness will be taken advantage of.

Denmark tanhaa

Denmark abandoned by the rest of Europe in cartoon outrage
Hassan Behgar

Leap forward toward dead end

From new book, "Iran's Nuclear Program: Debating Facts Versus Fiction"
Kaveh L. Afrasiabi

Lauded by the EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana as a "landmark," the Paris Agreement followed intense negotiations between the foreign ministers of the EU3 and Iranian officials beginning in October 2003 in Tehran. Iran agreed to adhere to the Additional Protocol as a clear sign of its more flexible approach. One year later, after several intrusive IAEA inspections and the continuing concerns of the Board of Governors of the IAEA over Iran's nuclear program, Iran agreed to a "verified" suspension of its uranium enrichment program. The EU3 in return agreed to "recognize Iran's rights under the NPT exercised in conformity with its obligations under the Treaty, without discrimination."

Today I feel different

How to keep quiet and not to think about seeking a way to prevent war in the world?
Nahid Husseini

I have been out of my country, Iran, for a long time, because of political reasons. I have lived and travelled in different countries. I am familiar with different languages and cultures and have friends from different backgrounds, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Indian and Chinese. I am working in a college where, among my students, one is African, another is English, a third is Latin American, a fourth is from Eastern Europe and another is from the Middle East. Furthermore I am living in a quiet street in London where the neighbour on my right is French, the one on my left is English and the one opposite is Polish. The world is not as big as I had previously thought.

Common interests

This time, Iranian men find themselves to have common interests with women against the system which does not hesitate to undermine anything pertaining to human values, in the name of religion
Sohrab Ferdows unedited

March 8th every year is marked by women groups all over the world as universal women's day in order to bring in focus the centuries old struggle of women for equal rights in the society. This struggle has taken different formats at different times according to culture of different societies. In our country where culture has been extremely influenced by Shiite religious values for past few centuries, this issue became a serious matter for clergies who considered it an important element in their domain. In a society where people considered all kinds of atrocities permissible to defend their own sectarian values against others, any attempt in direction of equalizing men and women rights would face serious resistance led by clergy.

The individual and the system

International finance and human rights
Bahram Ghazi

The place of international standards in this worldwide debate on the economic, financial and trade system is sometimes uncertain. This is especially evident when it comes to human rights norms without strong structures of implementation. “From an examination of the international scene today, it may be surmised that we are entering an era of a veritable 'clash of globalisations'”. This is a situation in which the quest for a more vigorous regime of trade and investment is being countered by calls for more rigorous standards of accountability, transparency and democratic methods of operation, from what has become an increasingly “'globalised' civil society”.

The question of women

Interview with Ayatollah Montazeri
Golbarg Bashi

Leaving Ayatollah Montazeri’s office, I remained convinced that despite all the hopes invested in the Reformist movement at the time, the persistent realities of women in Iran indicated that they still have fewer rights in family and citizenship laws than their male counterparts. I remained convinced once again that the fundamental problem we face in Iran is in fact in the letter and the spirit of the Shi’i law - medieval in its jurisprudence, feudal in its tenets, patriarchal and undemocratic in the very fabric of its lexicon and written into the skeletal vertebra of Iranian culture (Imperial, Leftist, Nationalist or Islamist).

Cold & dark

Writing journey to Iran with chip on shoulder
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

In A Persian Odyssey, Dr. Yalda, an Assyrian-Iranian-American, pays a visit to Iran, his place of birth and where he grew up. Had the author been less partial, A Persian Odyssey could have been the ideal guide for those who know little of Iran. Since the Islamic revolution, not too many writers with Dr. Yalda’s impressive background have attempted such a daring tour. He takes us from the shores of beautiful Caspian to the mountains and down to the arid desert while telling historical tales along the way and describing the ancient architecture in a most eloquent fashion. Unfortunately, he goes through his journey with a chip on his shoulder and a heart as cold and dark as his namesake, Yalda – the longest night.

Yek tir, 2 neshaan

Killing two birds with one stone: The nuclear crsis and the democracy movement
Daniel Azari

Challenging the mighty dollar

If major nations trade on Iran's oil bourse, it may start a 'dollar flight' effect
Ramin Davoodi

You see, control over global oil trading and pricing standards essentially underwrites the sanctity of the US dollar as a fiat (i.e. government mandated) currency for trade and investments. Were anything to threaten that delicate arrangement between control over oil pricing in particular, and our economic system in general, then there would be tectonic shifts in global finance to the detriment of the banks and energy companies that essentially dictate the means and mores of modern US-dominated geopolitics, trade and wealth creation around the world. What does all of this have to do with Iran? In 2004, Iran decided to do what Iraq did before it -- start the process of eventually selling its oil and natural gas in euros instead of the globally mandated US dollar. Yet, Iran is 'one-upping' Iraq by starting its own energy exchange, labeled the Iran Oil Bourse, which would rival the aforementioned exchanges in London and New York.

Nuclear set-up

U.S.-E.U. conspire against Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
Ardeshir Ommani

On February 4, 2006, the five powerful gentlemen of the United Nations’ Security Council, among other things, endowed with the legitimacy of the “world community”, decided to hang the Sword of Damocles over the head of the Iranian people and then sat back, playing ‘good cop – bad cop’, and waited to see if before the day of reckoning on March 6, a crack and schism occurs either within the governing body of the Islamic Republic itself or between it and the more affluent strata of the population with greater interests in commerce with the U.S. and the West.  It is worth mentioning that the U.N. monitoring agency has visited the Iranian nuclear facilities innumerable times in the last two and a half years and held meetings with the Iranian authorities in charge of the nuclear energy programs. 

The new totalitarianism

We plead for the universality of freedom of expression, so that a critical spirit may be exercised on all continents, against all abuses and all dogmas

After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism. We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all. The recent events, which occurred after the publication of drawings of Muhammed in European newspapers, have revealed the necessity of the struggle for these universal values. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field. It is not a clash of civilisations nor an antagonism of West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats.

Honest conflict resolution

It is time for President Bush to become an involved partner in solving the nuclear standoff with Iran
Goudarz Eghtedari

Last week German former foreign minister Joschka Fischer and Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor to President Carter, appeared together to discuss foreign policy problems at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and called on the US administration to get directly involved in the nuclear negotiations with Iran.   However, when Adam Ereli, deputy spokesman for U.S. Department of State, was asked about the Fischer-Brzezinski’s comments, he responded that the US is happy with the outcome of the EU-3 negotiations and does not think there is a need for direct talks with Iran. Considering that negotiations between the EU and Iran were halted a month ago without a positive result, one would ask what exactly the US administration is calling successful. And what is in the outcome that our State Department is happy about?

Free hate against Muslims?

Nema Milaninia

A Republican student organization at the University of California Irvine displayed the caricatures of Mohammad at an event concerning “Islamic terrorism.” [See] From the looks of it, the student organization made no efforts to incorporate Muslim students on campus or even gauge their opinion. When a large group of students protested against the depiction and its use in the event, they were branded as “fascists” and “traitors.” While we should all support freedom of speech, is there any doubt that use of such caricatures in this event and promoting it under the notion of “freedom of speech” simply a justified method of attacking, ridiculing, and displaying hate against Muslims? As a friend of mine most eloquently noted:


On International women’s Day
Jahanshah Rashidian

As a proposal of the Socialist International in 1910, International Women's Day (March 8) was celebrated for the first time in many industrial countries.  It demanded the right to vote and to hold public office, right to work, to vocational training and to an end to discrimination on the job. Since then, the International Women's Day is commemorated and also is a national holiday in communist countries. It symbolises a long struggle of all women on all continents, with different ethnics, religions, cultures and social classes, who have been deprived from the equal right with men. Today, we know that struggle for equality, justice, peace, democracy, secularism and development is not separated from the struggle against Islamomisogyny.

King of spade beats the Queen

Female foeticide: Selective elimination of female foetuses
Iqbal Latif

The unholy alliance between tradition (son-complex) and technology (ultrasound) is playing havoc within Eastern hemisphere. From Arab world, Iran, Pakistan, India and China 'Sons are rising, daughters setting.‚ In two major 'super powers of population demographic growth' amongst the newborn boys out born girls by margin beyond permitted by Mother Nature over centuries of known data. 105 boys should be born for every 100 girls (Mother Nature prefers boys by 5%) but the birth mix is totally lopsided in favor of boys. It is around 119 to 100 in India and China and even in Iran the tendency of selectivity of male gender is obvious from the unofficial census results.

Don't joke with god

Maybe humor and religion don't mix

The word laugh/laughter is mentioned only 9 times in the Holy Quran, 8 of them in the context of ridicule or mockery, as in: "Let them laugh a little: much will they weep" (009.082), or "Those in sin used to laugh at those who believed" (083.029). The Holy Bible is not that much different. The Old Testament, which consists of 24 Books, mentions laugh/laughter all of 32 times. In the New Testament, which consists of 27 Books, laugh/laughter is mentioned just 6 times. For example, in James 4:9 it says: Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. (By contrast, death/dead/slay/kill is mentioned 231 times in the Holy Quran, 1,017 times in the Old Testament, and 443 times in the New Testament.) Could this be the reason why fundamentalists violently protested cartoons of Prophet Muhammad? Maybe humor and religion don't mix.

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The Persian Garden
Echoes of Paradise
By Mehdi Khansari, M. Reza Moghtader, Minouch Yavari
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