Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ahmadinejad's Imam: Raping Prisoners OK

Meet Mesbah Yazdi, spiritual guide for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. If you have any illusions about his brand of Islam being a puritanical rejection of western decadence, you need to update your information. According to Arutz Sheva, all is permitted to jailers in punishing and interrogating opponents of the Iranian regime. Arutz Sheva reports as follows on the Islamic legal pronouncements of Imam Yazdi.

"Asked if a confession obtained "by applying psychological, emotional and physical pressure" was "valid and considered credible according to Islam," Mesbah-Yazdi replied: "Getting a confession from any person who is against the Velayat-e Faqih ("Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists", or the regime of Iran's mullahs) is permissible under any condition." The ayatollah gave the identical answer when asked about confessions obtained through drugging the prisoner with opiates or addictive substances.

"Can an interrogator rape the prisoner in order to obtain a confession?" was the follow-up question posed to the Islamic cleric.

Mesbah-Yazdi answered: "The necessary precaution is for the interrogator to perform a ritual washing first and say prayers while raping the prisoner."

The article, which is disturbingly explicit, specified which acts are permissable. The imam specifically permitted the rape of both male and female prisoners. Not only did he permit such methods. He additionally classified the rape of a prisoner as a meritorious act, comparing it in "holiness" to the haj. ( The pilgrimage to Mecca), stating as follows.

"If the judgment for the [female] prisoner is execution, then rape before execution brings the interrogator a spiritual reward equivalent to making the mandated Haj pilgrimage [to Mecca], but if there is no execution decreed, then the reward would be equivalent to making a pilgrimage to [the Shi'ite holy city of] Karbala."

Mesbah Yazdi has little use for any sort of democracy or even public accountability. "The National", an English language newspaper from Abu Dhabi reports as follows about Yazdi's views on electoral democracy and religious pluralism.

"He was quoted as saying in the daily Aftab-e-Yazd in 2002: “Who are the majority of people who vote: a bunch of hooligans who drink vodka and are paid to vote. Whatever they say cannot become the law of the country and Islam.” The cleric is known for his sensationalist sound bites. Championing his fundamentalist views, he once told Friday prayer worshippers: “If someone tells you he has a new interpretation of Islam, sock him in the mouth.”

Yazdi was not an early supporter of the Islamic revolution. He published and preached legally under the Shah. The National reports as follows of the chameleonic proclivities of the imam.

"The ayatollah’s critics point out that while many founders of the Islamic Revolution spent years in the Shah’s jails during the 1960s and 1970s for their political activism, he did not struggle against the US-backed monarch’s regime. Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi’s supporters counter that, rather than fighting the Shah’s rule, he chose to enlighten Iranian youths with books from his “In the Right Path” publishing house. It was only after the 1979 Islamic Revolution that he became prominent among hardliners as one of their most articulate and extreme ideologues."

Other Iranian clergy members are busy denying and downplaying human rights abuses in Iran. But when Ahmadinejad's personal spiritual advisor not only condones but advocates the rape of political prisoners and classifies it as a holy religious deed, it is clear that the reality on the ground is grim.

There is no doubt that Iranians continue to suffer brutal repression. There is no doubt that they continue to struggle. We should not deny the Iranian people the encouragement of knowing that the world is watching.

Slavoj Zizek, writing in the London Review of Books described as follows the psychological transformation that seems to be taking place in Iranian society

"When an authoritarian regime approaches its final crisis, but before its actual collapse, a mysterious rupture often takes place. All of a sudden, people know the game is up: they simply cease to be afraid. It isn’t just that the regime loses its legitimacy: its exercise of power is now perceived as a panic reaction, a gesture of impotence."

Iran is a nation of ethnic diversity, with only 51% of its people classified as ethnic Iranians. Considered in combination with widespread discontent following the theft of the June 12 election, it is not likely that public dissent can be brutalised out of existence.

The Iranian clergy will destroy any respect it enjoys in Iranian society by attempting to affix the name of Allah to rape, sodomy and other acts of brutality. The god that was created in Mesbah Yazdi's writings is an idol and a false god. There is little doubt that this idol in an imam's garb will be soon destroyed.

There is not much America can do other than to voice its outrage and concern. It would be helpful if President Obama, who has voiced an unprecedented sympathy for Islam would speak up about the grim situation in Iran. Silence in the face of injustice is disgraceful. We must not be silent.

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