Friday, August 04, 2006

Ganji's Talk at UC Berkeley

omid- Akbar Ganji, the most prominent dissident and Human Rights activist, who was released last March from 6 years of imprisonment, will deliver a lecture on "Gender Apartheid in Iran".

Since releasing from the jail, Ganji has left Iran for a tour around Europe and the United States. He has been in many cities and has had different talks. His talk, at UC Berkeley, has sponsored by the Peace & Conflict Studies Program,Institute of International Studies, and the Center for Middle Eastern.This trip has been an amazing opportunities for Ganji and talk to many prominent scholars around the Western countries.

Harry Kreisler, executive director of the "Institute of International Studies" is supposed to interview Ganji for his very famous and amazing series of interviews, "Conversation with History".

Dr. Abbas Milani, director of the Iranian Study at Stanford University has translated many articles of Ganji to English which provide a better understanding for people in US to listen to him.I talked to Ganji during the last days to organize this event in Berkeley. As we belong to the similiar atmosphere and the same social life, have common perception on different things. He is going to talk on "Gender Apartheid in Iran" for the first time.

He tries to associate himself to the universities and not any political groups or even people who love him; however he tries to go through the academics....The hall he is going to talk is exactlly the one that Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian Noble Peace Prize winner in 2003, talked a few months ago...

ganji is an agent of the regime who needs to be prosecuted in a fair court.
Ganji can kiss my arse
Ganji's recent struggle against IRI is acknowledged, however, I am bewildered as why to this date he does not want to openly talk about his anti democratic actions in past as first step to conciliate with democratic forces. It only appears he is against layer of IRI’s structure understanding IRI is a multi-level mafia structure. For Iran, I am also puzzled as why he is not without a doubt separating mosque from state. He still wishes to convince others that Islam is attuned with liberty and democracy!

Gender apartheid in Iran can be condemned by all freedom lovers. However, it seems Ganji blames it on IRI (read certain layers of existing regime) not Islam. Thus, I will not be surprised soon we will be promised by Ganji yet again another version of Islam in materializing a “democratic” system in Iran!

Ganji and his likes must realize that we have been embittered so many times in our history with Islam and we say enough is enough. Islam is the root of our dilemma. If you intend to remain a pious person, take this religion to your private quarter. Then, we respect you privacy.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ganji should tell us everything about this dictatorial/reactionary regime so we can decide with open eyes whether to accept him in our camp or not.

"But Ganji’s phenomenon should not be mistaken for democracy, particularly when he happens to be the last saviour. Ganji phenomenon is a reflection from Qom, the Shiite holy city, where paradoxically is an active centre of opposition to the Supreme Leader, Khamenei. He is a prototype of disappointed Islamist generation, a generation looking for a new saviour of Islam."

A zebra will never lose stripes
In response to Jahanshah Rashidian's "Imam Ganji":

Well presented Mr. Rashidian.

As you alluded to in your discussion, the baseless (maybe I should use the French term abasè -- ABC -- instead) Iranian "opposition" [to what, I don't know] does never learn from the past. This has been clearly demonstrated throughout the world's contemporary history that all Anti-Dictatorial fronts/coalitions have been, and will be, doomed to fail. This is not a coincidence, but a very natural progression due to the nature and inhomogeneity of the forces that unite under most desperate situations.

Add to that the Iranian-ness of the players, and guess what you get. You're right: an amorphous, unrpincipled mob gathered around ANYBODY and anything that says that IRI is akh, undemocratic! and... including a former paasdaar and a devote velaayat-a-faqeeh functionary who, while plagiarizing Foucault, Gramschi, Marx, Saeed, ... quotes Imam Khomeini and his resaalaat. It's also very interesting that he has also begun hints of portraying himself as Lech Walesa (whom I personally despise as a traitor) of Iran.

But bear in mind, that it's the Iranians themselves who create this new imaam/savior. It's Akbar Ganji's right to try to become (read act like) a savior while it's also our rights not to fall for him and what he stands for. This, however, is too much to ask from the Iranians: they have been like this from the beginning of time. Ferdowsi (who is very IN right now, both inside and outside Iran) says:

"Zaan sepas, naghsh-a deev mikardand,
Az naheebash, ghareev mikardand."

That's us. We call a bunch of no-good-for-nothings Kabeer, name a person the Light of the Aryans, see another dude's picture on the moon, make another interchangeable with our land,... and now have a former paasdaar and Ershaad functionary as a symbol of our resistance!

You are correct by pointing out that Akbar Ganji, by his nature and background, cannot, and will not, advocate a secular pluralistic society for the mere fact that a zebra will never lose stripes and that "aaghebat gorg-zaadeh gorg shavad".

The question is though, when are the Iranians going to learn and dig inside to better themselves before trying to effect change for others. Marx said: " be radical means to reach for the root. The mankind's root, however, is the mankind's self."

Seyed Moussavi
Being both aboard, I wonder if Shirin Ebadi and Akbar Ganji were also invited!

It seems this new wave of “Democrat Ayatollahs” in making in Iran is on rise. The “Degradation of house of Islam” or “display of true Islam” is naturally cloning “Democrat” Islamist as its product.

The question is not whether by or not design. The prospect of still imposing Mosque to state as integral tenet for Iran’s future is alarming.

When will these 21th century Islamic enthusiasts publicly announce the separation of Mosque and State is to the best interest of Iranians?

Do they notice the non-violent acceptance of this desire will prevent unwarranted future genocide attempt?

It appears for now that these Islam saviors still betting on Iranians being bamboozled with Islam yet again!
Ganji should face the truth
In response to Jahanshah Rashidian's "Imam Ganji":

Imam Gangi was one the best articles I have read in such a long time.

Untill Mr. Gangi publicly appologizes to the familiy of people that suffered from his actions(only god knows how many people Gangi tortured, executed, violated and so on...) and ask them for forgiveness not forgetness! and untill he publicly accepts that one day he should face a truth commision (Just like South Africa) no one except handfull of phony liberal idiots in places like San Fransico, Berkeley and London will belive in him and follow his hunger strike.

"Islam, by its very nature and according to its charter -- the Quran -- is a radical political movement. It is the Useful Idiot who sanitizes Islam and misguides the populace by saying that the "real Islam" constitutes the main body of the religion; and, that this main body is non-political and moderate.

Regrettably, a large segment of the population goes along with these nonsensical euphemisms depicting Islam because it prefers to believe them. It is less threatening to believe that only a hijacked small segment of Islam is radical or politically driven and that the main body of Islam is indeed moderate and non-political.

But Islam is political to the core. In Islam the mosque and state are one and the same -- the mosque is the state. This arrangement goes back to the days of Muhammad himself. Islam is also radical to the extreme. Even the "moderate" Islam is radical in its beliefs as well as its deeds. Muslims believe that all non-Muslims, bar none, are hellfire bound and well-deserve being maltreated to the utmost.

No radical barbaric act of depravity is out of bounds for Muslims in dealing with others. They destroy precious statues of Buddha, level sacred monuments of other religions, and bulldoze the cemeteries of non-Muslims -- a few examples of their utter extreme contempt toward others.

Muslims are radical even in their intrafaith dealings. Various sects and sub-sects pronounce other sects and sub-sects as heretics worthy of death; women are treated as chattel, deprived of many rights; hands are chopped for stealing even a loaf of bread; sexual violation is punished by stoning, and much much more. These are standard day-to-day ways of the mainstream "moderate" Muslims living under the stone-age laws of Shariah.

The "moderate" Islam has been outright genocidal from inception. Their own historians record that Ali, the first imam of the Shiite and the son-in-law of Muhammad, with the help of another man beheaded 700 Jewish men in the presence of the prophet himself. The prophet of Allah and his disciples took the murdered men's women and children in slavery. Muslims have been, and continue to be, the most vicious and shameless practitioner of slavery. Slave trade, even today, is a thriving business in Islamic lands where wealthy, perverted sheikhs purchase children of the poor from traffickers for their sadistic gratification.

It is a well-established fact that a Jew's word is his bond. The exact opposite is the case with Muslims. Muslims are taught deception and lying in the Quran itself -- something that Muhammad practiced during his life whenever he found it expedient. Successive Islamic rulers and leaders have done the same.

Khomeini, the founder of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, for instance, rallied the people under the banner of democracy. All along his support for democracy was not a commitment of an honest man, but a ruse of a true Muslim. As soon as he gathered the reign of power, Khomeini went after the Useful Idiots of his time with vengeance. These best children of Iran, having been thoroughly deceived and used by the crafty phony populist-religionist, had to flee the country to avoid the fate of tens of thousands who were imprisoned or executed by the double-crossing imam.

Almost three decades after the tragic Islamic Revolution of 1979, the suffocating rule of Islam casts its death-bearing pal over Iranians. A proud people with enviable heritage is being systematically purged of its sense of identity and forced to think and behave like the barbaric and intolerant Muslims.

Iranians who had always treated women with equality, for instance, have seen them reduced by the stone-age clergy to sub-human status of Islamic teaching. Any attempt by the women of Iran to counter the misogynist rule of Muhammad's mullahs is mercilessly suppressed. Women are beaten, imprisoned, raped and killed just as men are slaughtered without due process or mercy.

The lesson is clear. Beware of the Useful Idiots who live in liberal democracies. Knowingly or unknowingly, they serve as the greatest volunteer and effective soldiers of Islam. They pave the way for the advancement of Islam and they will assuredly be among the very first victims of Islam as soon as it assumes power.

Amil Imani is an Iranian-born American citizen and pro-democracy activist residing in the United States of America. Imani is a columnist, literary translator, novelist and an essayist who has been writing and speaking out for the struggling people of his native land, Iran. He maintains a website at
Now for some good news about Islam
By Irshad Manji

It is easy to believe that the Muslim world has only bad news to offer. But easy does not mean accurate. In fact, there is much good news to report.

Before all else, allow me to confess the obvious: We Muslims play the villain role quite well, thank you. Last month, a group of terrorists - evidently Islamist militants - blew commuter trains to shreds in India. The next day, Hezbollah crossed a UN-delineated boundary to kidnap and kill Israeli soldiers, touching off the latest litany of bombs and bullets to rock the Middle East.

Then again, I expect the worst from religious extremists. Moderate Muslims tend to disappoint me more. We call for a "proportionate response" from Israel. Yet we engage in a disproportionate response of our own when we diminish or outright ignore Hezbollah's crimes, too. They attacked Israel from southern Lebanon and Gaza, the very areas the Jewish state had unilaterally evacuated. If Islam is another word for peace, what is un-Islamic about opposing such bald aggression?

Moreover, Hezbollah deliberately throws Muslim and Christian civilians at death's door. Its fighters set up shop in the middle of busy residential districts, so that going after them must involve hitting innocents. What makes Muslims moderate when we wink at this cruel calculus?

Above all, given our hostility-turned-hypocrisy, what could I possibly be talking about when I say there is good news to share?

Brace yourselves: During the same week that India and Israel were reminded of Islamist brutality, liberal Muslims made progress in reclaiming our faith, both in the East and in the West.

Let us start in the East. For almost three decades, Pakistan has followed a controversial set of laws called "Hudood." Named for "hudd," or penalties prescribed by God, these laws determine punishment in cases of rape and adultery. Finally, the Hudood ordinances are being seriously challenged. And not a moment too soon: Under them, more than 4,600 Pakistani women have been thrown in prison for charges that include adultery. By contrast, virtually all men accused of rape have gotten off. Thanks to a vocal but religiously respectful campaign by civil society groups, Pakistan's Council for Islamic Ideology - an influential body - recently recommended changing the Hudood laws. That move laid the foundation for President Pervez Musharraf to begin releasing 1,300 jailed women who were awaiting trial. Even Muslim clerics in Pakistan now hint that the Hudood laws are not divinely created. The politics behind them tell us so.

In 1977, a U.S.-backed coup installed General Zia ul-Haq as Pakistan's president. To cement his tenuous grip, the strongman surrounded himself with sycophantic mullahs who referred to him as "Commander of the Faithful," a term reserved for the Prophet Muhammad's successors.

To curry favor among village leaders, Zia mixed a selective reading of the Koran with tribal customs. In this way, stoning arose as a legal punishment for adultery and it was required that a rape be witnessed by four men before any offender could be charged. But suppose a rape does not have the benefit of so many male eyes - and male voices willing to testify? Then it would be a case of adultery committed by the woman, who in turn could be condemned to jail, lashing, or stoning.

The injustices that followed have slandered not only women, but Islam itself. As more and more of Pakistan's Muslims recognize that these laws emanate from humans, they acknowledge that the duty to re-think them rests in their hands, not God's. Muslims believe that Allah is perfect. We are learning to appreciate that Allah's interpreters are not.

At the same time, the liberal reformation of Islam picked up speed - in Copenhagen, the city that served as Ground Zero for worldwide riots over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. A Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, first published the caricatures. I joined 99 other "Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow" in Copenhagen to debate how Islam and the West can enrich each other. We came from the United States, Canada, Australia and across Europe. Permit me to divulge among the more shocking statements:

Man from the Netherlands: "We, as Muslims, need to look in the mirror instead of blaming everybody else!"

Woman from Germany: "I don't have an identity crisis. I'm Western and Muslim and grateful to be both."

Imam from Britain: "The minute a woman becomes a mufti [Islamic judge], I will be the first to study at her feet."

One delegate tested the young clerics: "Is Islam the only way to salvation?" A Danish imam gripped the microphone. "The short answer," he said, "is no." A British imam disputed that response and an Italian took the middle road. Remarkably, they never accused each other of being evil or insincere. For the first time in my life, I heard the message that in Islam, unity is not uniformity.

Maybe the most compelling insight came from a surprise guest: Flemming Rose, publisher of the reviled Prophet Muhammad cartoons. After addressing us and answering our challenges, Rose confided that the reception we gave him was more civil than anything he has experienced at the hands of humanist groups.

A liberal reformation of Islam will be marked by at least two features: the empowerment of women in the Muslim world and the willingness of Muslims in the West to exercise our freedom of conscience.

In one week, both got a promising boost. We will need to remember that as God's soldiers continue grabbing the spotlight.

Irshad Manji, a Fellow at Yale University, is author of "The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith"
Irshad Manji says "In one week, both got a promising boost. We will need to remember that as God's soldiers continue grabbing the spotlight."

Claiming to be the God's soldiers is the root of problem. It ends up again blowing up others!

1)you have no proof that Islam is God's wish for human being, 2) Islam "holy" book was written by followers of Mohammad who all including Mohammad bore the mentality of that century and that region and now it is considered backward. 3) Why should God want soldiers to make all with the same mind set while our plant offers trillions of different species each individually unique?

And more.

Keep your religion in your corner of private place and your privacy is respected. Just live and let others live. Let human being to find solutions to its confronting issues.
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