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The importance of Iran

Reader comment on item: "You can't fight Islamism with ideas coming out of Europe"
in response to reader comment: yes; existential crisis

Submitted by Ron Thompson (United States), Dec 4, 2010 at 18:06

Thanks for your comment. I think you're right that of all the peoples in the Middle East, large numbers of Iranians are the least enamored of totalitarian Islam - "rules and hatred" - both because they are living under a full-fledged Islamic regime, and because they have a much older and more sophisticated history than any Arab country.

Perhaps the most tragic victory of early Islam was its defeat of Persia/Iran in the 640's, the most important State the Arabs ever conquered. If Islam hadn't come along in the cycle of Sassanid Persian history, when that State was in a late decadent phase and further weakened by recent intense fighting with the Byzantine Empire, the world calamity of Islam spreading throughout Central Asia and into northern India might never have happened.

Therefore our so-called leaders, both political and in the realm of opinion, should consider supporting the people of Iran by taking on the ideology that has them in its grip. Since this is what the US government and some opinion leaders did in supporting the mere handful of dissidents and refuseniks in the Soviet Union, which played an important part in the downfall of the whole communist system, how much more reason is there to consider a similar strategy with regard to hundreds of thousands or millions of opponents of a totalitarian Islamic state? How can we say we are supporting the struggle of all these people, if our leaders keep saying, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that Islam is a "great and peaceful" religion.

And this still leaves undiscussed the importance of taking on Islam qua Islam with regard to the colossal fact that Islam has at least a quarter billion women, just in the Middle East, in the iron embrace of its misogynistic dogmas. Although this huge, inert mass of humanity is hardly heard from, except to show itself at times in the grip of a kind of mass psychosis, known as the Stockholm Syndrome (when people cease to fight for themsleves and identify with their tormenters), who knows what might happen if we showed some of the indignation they don't show, so far, themsleves at the almost total denial of their most basic freedoms. It is no tribute to our Western values if we continue to ignore the overwhelming mistreatment of women in Islam, with the more Islamic the country, the more thorough the subjugation of its women, Iran and Saudi Arabia being in a macabre competition to see who can suppress its women, in dress and everything else,, the most.

In other words, I agree with you that Islam cannot face the "light of reason." Even if that light is being expressed in all kinds of ways that have nothing to with Islam, such as the wide-ranging irreverence of our comics, in our Art, or the relative and increasing sexual emancipation of Western life, Islam's most pious adherents will be affronted and outraged, and will feel, as you put it, that Islam "must conquer or die." Sooner or later, I think we have to recognize this and stop trying to accommodate the unaccommodatable.

Ron Thompson

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