by Abu Dharr (Opinion, Crescent International Vol. 42, No. 4, Rajab, 1434)
Imam Khomeini (ra) whose death anniversary falls this month (June 3) was an outstanding leader whose courage and convictions brought about meaningful change in Iran after the Islamic revolution. Other leaders, primarily in Egypt and Tunisia have failed to adopt bold policies.
Sometimes we are forced to say the truth even when it hurts. And this month, on the occasion of the 24th anniversary of Imam Khomeini’s heavenly departure, we are forced to set the record straight as to his extraordinary leadership qualities.
Today everyone is looking at the “Arab Spring” and the leaders that have stepped forward to take their countries in an Islamic direction. Currently there are three or four countries that occupy center stage in this regard: Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria. We will spare ourselves the particular details about Libya and Syria as they are too numerous and too viscous to come to terms with. They are obviously not within the jurisdiction of any type of Islamic leadership worthy of its name. So we are left with Tunisia and Egypt. Here we have decision makers who belong to Islamic consciousness and Islamic ambition. So we will place these two countries side by side with Islamic Iran when it was in its formative years; that is, when Imam Khomeini was leading the people into an Islamic future.
On the first count, consider how the country’s constitution was drawn up. That was done with all its requirements within the first year of the Imam’s return to Iran. And what do the detractors (Islamic ones, mind you) say about the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran? They say that one of its articles stipulates that the state religion shall be Shi‘i Islam of the Twelver persuasion (Ithna ‘Ashari). What’s wrong with that? This constitution was meant for the people in Iran who are predominantly Shi‘i Twelver Muslims. Knowing that these constitutions are meant for a particular population and not for the rest of the Muslim world, would anyone take issue with the Islamic movement in Tunisia working out its own constitution saying that the state religion shall be Islam with the Maliki fiqh as its choice? Or the Hanafi fiqh in Egypt?
The problem is we don’t even have what may pass as an Islamic constitution (peculiar to Tunisia or Egypt) yet. All that was done in Egypt was to rewrite a secular constitution that has been embellished with Islamic symbolism: alphabetic characters and arbitrary (Islamic) visible clues. We need an Imam Khomeini in Egypt and in Tunisia who can summon the will of the people to endorse a constitution that invokes independence and sovereignty.
Now we ask: why can’t the leadership in Egypt and Tunisia, with its top-heavy Islamic personalities, deal decisively with their opponents — some that are “Islamic” and others who are secular or averse to an Islamic state? Under the able leadership of Imam Khomeini, the mellow Muslims were weeded out. Case in point were personalities like Mahdi Bazargan, Ibrahim Yazdi, Sadeq Qutbzadeh, Abu al-Hasan Bani Sadr, etc. How come we have not heard of such a filtering process in Tunisia and Egypt? Or are the Bazargans, Yazdis, Qutbzadehs, and Bani Sadrs now the leaders themselves in Tunisia and Egypt? The Muslims in Tunisia and Egypt would be missing an Imam Khomeini if they really know what is being done to them.
Then we had, within the first couple of years after Imam Khomeini instituted an Islamic state, the terrorist acts of blowing up the headquarters of the Islamic participatory party (Jumhuri Islami) with the martyrdom of over 70 leading figures, among them Dr. Sayyid Muhammad Beheshti Shaheed; this was accompanied by the targeted terrorist assassination of Ayatullah Mutahhari and Dr. Mufatteh. And there were other criminal acts that were meant to cripple the leadership of the Imam and the Islamic resolve of the people, but that did not happen. In Tunisia and in Egypt there hasn’t been any equivalent development. Would the explanation be that the leaderships in these two countries are US compatible? As we know now, most of the early assassinations and terrorist activities in Islamic Iran are traced to the US government and its proxies.
On the other hand, we have violent groups and individuals in Syria, not so much in Libya, who are killing at a scale that dwarfs the killings in the early years of Imam Khomeini’s leadership. Those criminal and terrorist acts in Islamic Iran in the early days were mostly attributed to the violent and lawless organization, Muhajideen-e-Khalq (MEK). The Imam was fearless and decisive with this hooligan and condemnable bunch. They were forced to flee the emerging Islamic state and find refuge in every capital of the world that declared Islamic Iran and Imam Khomeini’s leadership enemy number one.
Not to be lost on the handlers and coaches of such troublemakers, the US regime and its flunkies have metamorphosed the MEK into its al-Qa’ida clone with “Sunni-Shi‘i” divergences. We are beginning to see evidence of this in the Tunisian Ansar al-Shari‘ah battlering with the ruling al-Nahdah party. The Muslims miss the decisive character of Imam Khomeini in North Africa.
One of Imam Khomeini’s first decisions was to close down the Israeli embassy in Tehran and expel the Zionist enemies from Iran. Compare that with the inability of the “Islamic” leadership in Egypt to break off diplomatic ties with the Israeli Zionist regime…
One of Imam Khomeini’s first decisions was to close down the Israeli embassy in Tehran and expel the Zionist enemies from Iran. Compare that with the inability of the “Islamic” leadership in Egypt to break off diplomatic ties with the Israeli Zionist regime, which nowadays is maneuvering to physically occupy al-Masjid al-Aqsa and thwart access to the first qiblah and third haram to all Muslims. It gets worse: the Egyptian Islamic decision makers cannot open the borders between Egypt and Ghazzah. Egypt needs an Imam Khomeini.
When Imam Khomeini began building an Islamic state in Iran he demanded justice be done to the fleeing Shah of Iran. The Shah had to beg for residency in different countries until he was finally appended to his American cooperator Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat in Egypt. The Islamic leadership in Iran with Imam Khomeini pursued the Shah until he finally went to his Maker where he will encounter ultimate justice. Correlate that with the official Egyptian inability to pass final judicial judgment on Hosni Mubarak the Pharaoh. Or correlate that with the disability of the Tunisian (Islamic) leadership to pursue and prosecute Zine al-Abidine bin ‘Ali who took refuge in the evil kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Why doesn’t the Tunisian government ask for the extradition of Bin ‘Ali to Tunisia to stand in a court of law where he will be answerable for his official presidential conduct and state policies, one of which forced Rachid al-Ghannoushi into exile at the behest of the security apparatus?
It turns out that not all exiles are the same. Imam Khomeini was forced into exile by the Shah, but when he came back he sought the Shah and expended all that was necessary to bring him to a court of law. Rachid al-Ghannoushi was forced into exile, but when he came back to his home country he would not or could not pursue Bin ‘Ali, who had forced al-Ghannoushi into fugitive status.
Then we have the eight-year war of aggression that was imposed upon the Imam and the Muslims in Islamic Iran. The leadership there did not buckle under those hard times. Imagine if such a war were imposed on any of the leaderships in the countries mentioned above; would they have the stamina to fight to the bitter end? Would they have the popular support to withstand all the trials and tribulations that come from a long and grinding war? The way things look, we seriously doubt it. The Egyptian (Islamic) leadership is not doing what is right and what is obligatory — cutting off diplomatic relations with Zionist Israel — precisely for the reason of avoiding such a war. Here we have it: the Islamic leadership of Imam Khomeini doing what is right and obligatory — come what may; and the “Islamic” leadership of the Ikhwan avoiding doing what is right and obligatory for fear of the consequences. The concept of tawakkul seems to be alien to our brothers in Cairo and Tunisia.
Imam Khomeini called a spade a spade, as it were. He did not mince words when he wedged the descriptive marker Shaytani buzurg (the Colossal Satan) on the Washington regime. Compare Imam Khomeini with Mohammad Mursi in their interviews with the Euro-American press. Correspondents from the Euro-American media were scrambling to secure an interview with the Imam. But in Egypt and Tunisia interviews are by the dozen.
Imam Khomeini had foreign correspondents stirred up and strained. But in interviews with al-akh Mohammad Mursi he talks to them about his years in the USA and his remarks about the film Planet of the Apes; and we have Shaykh Rachid al-Ghannoushi saying quite frankly that he is not a Khomeini. Thank you — you said it all. And, by the way, how many times have you come to Washington, DC since ascending the seat of power in Tunisia? We have lost count.
What a difference between an imam whose base of popularity is the hearts and aspirations of the Muslims — Imam Khomeini — and those who are going along with an American Israeli plan executed through the agencies of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, et al. to try to smother the Islamic awakening that took place between an Imam and an Ummah.
And We raised among them leaders who, so long as they bore themselves with perseverance and had faith in Our authority and power messages, guided [their people] in accordance with Our behest… (32:24).